Sharing the Land – an idea whose time has come

Jun 29, 2011 Comments Off on Sharing the Land – an idea whose time has come by

Even with a Site Value Tax covering developed land and a Land Value Tax covering all the rest, access to land is important.  The taxes recognise land as a commons shared by all but resilience requires that its use is widely spread amongst the population.  Distributed landownership is needed to protect against large landowners lobbying to remove the LVT  and also to spread the knowledge of carbon building, biodiversity protecting, sustainable food growing methods amongst the widest groups of people.  Here is an interesting article in shareable.net about emerging land share systems in the US and UK.

By Kelly McCartney

When looking through the lens of collaborative consumption or the mesh, it’s easy to see how many of our needs can be met through sharing with others to some lesser or greater degree. Surveying this communally inclined world, we find that our homes, cars, jobs, time, and more can easily be shared. Land is another asset that can and should be shared, one that is in high demand as rising food prices and the desire for healthy food blooms alongside the ‘Grow Your Own’ movement’s current momentum.

In 2009, Landshare was launched in the UK to do just that — share land. As stated on the website, “The concept is simple: to connect people who wish to grow food with landowners willing to donate spare land for cultivation.” A mere two years later, more than 60,000 people have signed up to share some 3,000 acres of land across every region of the country. At the outset, creator Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall proclaimed it a “food revolution destined to be the next great thing.” The project, and others like it, can be credited with helping solve multiple problems with that one simple concept. Food security, carbon emissions associated with factory farming and food transport, crop diversity, community building, and more find a resolution in Landshare… and land sharing.

With the U.S. boasting its own version of Landshare with a capital L in SharedEarth, collaborative land users had some nice coverage. Then, back in March, the two organizations joined forces to become SharedEarth Globally and make it that much easier to match growers with land owners. (link to article)

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About the author

mer O’Siochru is a qualified architect and valuation surveyor. She was a founder of Feasta and served on its executive committee for many years. She is director of EOS Future Design which designs and develops sustainable systems and settlements. She also manages the Feasta-led Smart Tax Network which is funded by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to develop tax policies in areas related to the environment. She lives in Dublin.

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