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The Countrymen (De Landgenoten)

 

The Countrymen (De Landgenoten) is a Belgian organization that purchases agricultural land for organic farmers with financial aid of consumers. Farmers can then use this purchased land for a small fee (leasehold) to carry on their business. The land itself is the property of ‘The Countrymen Foundation’ so the farmer does not have to carry the weight of the investment. In Belgium, as in many other countries, it is very difficult to start a farm or take over an existing one, because land costs are sky high.

Belgium loses about 145 football fields of farmland every week, due to older farmers retiring to farming without having a successor operator.

 

The Countrymen Foundation is founded to protect and encourage the growth of sustainable and organic agriculture. The organization works to provide a healthy alternative to industrial agriculture that uses environmentally harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides and that destroys the natural fertility of the soil. The main objective is to expand the amount of organic farmland in Belgium and to secure and protect existing organic farmland for future generations.

 

The financial resources needed to purchase farmland and farm buildings are obtained by the sale of shares and through donations and bequests. The land bought with this money is directly made available to certified organic farms or to farmers who wish to convert to organic farming methods.

 

The organization has a dual legal structure consisting of a cooperative society and a foundation. The cooperative is responsible for raising funds, purchasing land, the overall management and the communication with the farmers. The foundation guards the vision of the organization and receives donations of money and land and gives the possibility to buy the land free for good . The foundation makes the acquired land available to farmers through the cooperative.

 

The Countrymen Foundation was founded in 2014 and currently manages two projects. The organization will expand its activities in the coming years. At the moment of writing (March 2015) more than € 350,000 has been collected to buy agricultural land by selling shares.

 

 
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Properties

Type of initiative Action/campaign organization
Field of work Agriculture
Date of commencement 2014
Founder(s) Network of argricultural organisations
Legal form Foundation and cooperative
Continent Europe
Country Belgium
City Antwerp
One or several keywords that describe your initiative Organic farming, land management, purchasing agricultural land
Publications Facebook, newsletter, video
More information
 

Contact person(s)

Geert Iserbyt

 

Contact information

Name De Landgenoten
Address Quellinstraat 42
Zip/postal code 2018
Place Antwerp
State/province Antwerp
Country Belgium
Phone +32 (0)3 286 92 77
E-mail contact@delandgenoten.be
Website www.delandgenoten.be

 

 

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