De Landgenoten aims to provide access to agricultural land for professional and certified organic farmers in Flanders (Belgium). Access to land for organic farmers is heavily impeded by many interrelated factors and therefor is one of the biggest tresholds to start farming. De Landgenoten was created in 2014 in response to this problem by 17 organisations, amongst whom Terre de Liens who’s also one of the RURALIZATION-partners.
De Landgenoten is a cooperative that unites farmers and citizens. It acquires financial resources through the sales of shares, it acquires land (through buying or long term leasing) and rents it with career long contracts to organic farmers across many generations. Secure land tenure and access to land helps create opportunities for a farmer, allowing him or her to start, develop or transition towards a sustainable, agroecological farm.
By enabling citizens to become involved through direct investment, the cooperative promotes food sovereignty through democratic control over land as “commons”.
The cooperative is flanked by a foundation with the same name, which was established in October 2014. As a shareholder in the cooperative, the foundation preserves its core values. It receives donations of land or money. Another aim of the foundation is policy influencing and raising awareness among citizens about the underpinning difficulties that farmers are facing nowadays and about our food and agricultural system as a whole.
De Landgenoten are part of the European Access to Land Network, which gathers about 15 organisations working to secure land for agroecological farming across Europe. The daily management of De Landgenoten is done by 3 people. Two of which are involved in Ruralization. Within this project De Landgenoten constitutes a regional team with TU Delft and will mostly contribute to work packages 5 (on new entrants into farming), 6 (on access to land) and 7 (on policy design and assessment).
Annelies Beyens is part of De Landgenoten-team since 2017. She has a Master’s degree in Social Sciences. Annelies is the contact for land owners and local authorities. Since January 2020 Annelies is the lead within De Landgenoten for RURALIZATION. According to Petra, apart from being meticulous, Annelies is the team’s prankster and has a knack for funny puns.
Petra Tas is coordinator and the central point of contact for farmers since 2018. She has a Master’s degree in Philology. She worked for over 15 years for BioForum Vlaanderen, the umbrella organisation for the organic agriculture and food sector, on different positions. She has broad experience in managing, coaching and communication. According to Annelies, Petra is a whirlwind of positive energy that never stops looking for improvement and to up our game.