Shared Assets is a think tank building a land system which serves the common good. Consultancy Coordinator Tom Carman argues that alleviating inequities in access to land is essential in building more just and sustainable food systems and unpacks different actions we can take to ensure the fairer distribution of land. 

A few years ago at the ORFC, during the land tax workshop, Molly Scott Cato, former Green Party MEP and current Professor of Economics was reflecting on the ‘Factors of Production’ from economics – the things you need to make or produce something – which are land, labour and capital.  She made an interesting link between the political party policies and the factors of production – that typically, Conservative policies are made to protect capital, Labour policies to support people and that the Green Party tries to protect and enhance land and the natural environment.

It is through this lens that our role as citizens in changing and improving our land and farming system is even more important – together we can bring all three dimensions together.

Localised food production and supply is essential to effective system change approaches to household, regional and national food security. Key to this transition is having effective access to nearby land for food production. Shared Assets is a community interest company which supports the development of land management models which better serve more people by enhancing the environment, engaging local communities in decision-making and fostering sustainable livelihoods. Guided by stewardship principles, we provide advice, support, and training, undertake research and advocate for policy changes relating to land management. Shared Assets empowers communities to help shape their local environment.

What tangible actions can we take to redress the inequities of access to land? There are various great organisations working in this space and diverse ways we can work with and alongside them to reframe land as a common good.

More examples of successful land-based citizen action by communities wanting better food security can be found overseas:

Being a passive recipient of the food system is an option, but there are plenty of ways for citizens, organisations, and authorities to transition to a land system which truly serves many so get stuck in!

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