In this session, three writers, researchers and activists discuss ways to build thriving, regenerative local farm economies across Britain in the present environmental and social crisis.
Chris Smaje draws on lessons from agricultural history and contemporary political ecology to show how bottom-up political activism might deliver smallholder-based land reform in Britain, briefly illustrating his analysis in relation to Wales.
Guy Shrubsole examines how farmland in England is concentrated in the hands of a few, and how it can be opened up to more people looking to grow food – from the late-19th-century countermovement that produced County Farms and allotments, to the Community Right to Buy in 21st-century Scotland. Guy will discuss possible reforms to inheritance tax breaks for agricultural land, the pros and cons of Land Value Tax, and how councils might be persuaded to transfer land assets to communities rather than flog them off to private developers.
Elise Wach will discuss the relationships between land rights and the realisation of agroecological food systems. Specifically, she will discuss how the advent of capitalism led to a shift from diverse and sufficient food systems to monograzing in the Scottish uplands. She’ll also discuss the potentials and gaps of recent Scottish land reform in relation to breaking from capitalism and supporting agroecology, and what we can learn from it.