What is a Community Farm Land Trust?

The Yorkley Court Community Farm Land Trust will ensure the future development of Yorkley Court Farm benefits the local community of Yorkley and the Forest of Dean. We are seeking to actively encourage all members of the local community to participate in developing this pioneering legal framework to  help set an example for other communities facing the same challenges.

What is a Community Farm Land Trust?

Community Farm Land Trusts are a type of Community Land Trust (CLT). These are established as a mechanism for the democratic ownership of land (and property) by a local community.

Community Land Trusts are powerful examples of communities taking control and transforming the future of their local community. They are non-profit, community-based organisations run by volunteers that develop housing, workspaces, community facilities or other assets that meet the needs of the community, are owned and controlled by the community and are made available at permanently affordable levels.

CLTs are defined in Statute as a corporate body that satisfies conditions laid out in Section 79 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008:

A community land trust:

a) is established for the express purpose of furthering the social, economic and environmental interests of a local community by acquiring and managing land and other assets in order:

  1.  to provide a benefit to the local community;
  2.  to ensure that the assets are not sold or developed except in a manner which the trust’s members think benefits the local community.

b) is established under arrangements which are expressly designed to ensure that:

  1. any profits from its activities will be used to benefit the local community (otherwise than by being paid directly to members);
  2. individuals who live or work in the specified area have the opportunity to become members of the trust (whether or not others can also become members);
  3. the members of a trust control it.

The need for Community Farm Land Trusts

Farms are special, each with a unique story and sense of place and the potential to animate the local rural community through community ownership.

There is a crisis in farming, as small and medium sized farms continue to go out of business. The average age of farmers is increasing and farm incomes are decreasing. Farmers are often isolated in fragmented communities and the costs of buying or leasing farms prevents entry to young farmers. Many have the skills and motivation but little capital.

At the same time, the demand for good locally grown food increases and people want to re-connect with local farms and build sustainable rural communities.

Community Farm Land Trusts are established primarily for the purpose of sustainable agriculture and horticulture, controlled by and for the benefit of local communities. They:

  • Provide a mechanism for the democratic ownership of land
  • Ensure permanently affordable access to farms for farmers
  • Retain farmland for farming, horticulture and related enterprise
  • Allow  community access, and range of benefits
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