Land use

Food and Farming

Community and social enterprise managed food and farming projects are often at the heart of a local food economy.

They supply individuals through market stalls and farm shops, restaurants and cafes, and even local schools and hospitals. They provide training, education and employment and contribute to health and wellbeing through volunteering and health activities such as providing good, fresh, healthy, locally grown food.

Whilst finding small sites for community gardens and neighbourhood growing schemes is relatively easy, land prices, competition from developers and the sale of local authority farms and growing land, all make it hard for food growing projects access to new land, and still keep their businesses viable and their produce affordable, when they scale up.

We are currently working with three leading food growing social enterprises as they seek to secure new land and planning permissions. We are working with them in order to understand the barriers they face and the role they play in delivering local economic resilience and the development of sustainable livelihoods.

We think social enterprise food and farming projects have great potential to support sustainable local economic development, especially in peri-urban areas, but these are the areas where pressures on land use and competition for land are often highest. We’d like to hear from local authorities and other landowners interested in exploring how food growing areas and contribute to the development of healthy, resilient local economies.

Scroll down to the posts below to read some of our latest work with food and farming projects across the country. 

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  • OrganicLea

    Members of OrganicLea workers’ co-op are running a thriving food growing project – with elements of recreation, education and campaigning – on ex-council land.

  • Saffron Acres

    Saffron Acres is the site of 68 new social eco-homes and a community food growing project delivering jam and preserves across the country. Their story highlights innovative ways to create successful enterprises in deprived areas.

  • Broadclyst Community Farm

    Leasing a site owned by the National Trust, the members of Broadclyst are growing crops, feeding local people and improving the land.

Related news and opinion

Blog articles, news and opinion pieces from the Shared Assets team

The Future of London’s Food System

Following the Just Space conference last week, our Consultancy and Research Assistant Isabella shares some thoughts on the future of community food growing in London.

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Better Land Based Economies

Community food enterprises are a success story of local collective action and have the potential to make significant contributions to local economic resilience. However despite its success, and the existence of some supportive policy drivers, the sector faces barriers to realising its full potential.

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Social Innovation: Case Study 2 – Community Food Enterprises

We are conducting a research project looking at social innovation, how it scales and how it retains or grows its social impact. Here we look in more detail at the history of community led food growing. We’re keen to get feedback on this work as it develops. Please take a look and leave a comment.

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