Land cooperatives and partly also foundations make land available to farmers, who cultivate it according to predefined criteria. While cooperatives use money from the shares of their members to buy land, foundations receive land through donations or finance it using donations.
Prices for arable land have sharply increased in Germany in the last few years. One reason for this development is the increased use of land as an object for speculation by non-agricultural investors. Therefore, prices have increased on average by 113% in Germany between 2007 and 2015; in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern prices have even quadrupled in this period. As a consequence young farmers are faced with increasing difficulties when starting a new farm and also established farms have difficulties to buy additional land.
Land cooperatives and foundations withdraw land from the market and provide it to farmers on a long-term basis. Consequently, land speculation is prevented, small-scale structures in agriculture are sustained and promoted, young farmers are supported and land is secured for sustainable use. Two aspects are innovative – farmers get access to land apart from the market and the fulfillment of criteria for sustainable management (most frequently organic farming) stand above pursuing profit.
BioBoden Genossenschaft, Ökonauten, Regionalwert AGs, BioHöfe Stiftung, Kulturland eG, Terre de liens (Frankreich), Terre en vue (Belgien)
The GTS Landwirtschaftsfonds started in 1993 to secure land. Afterwards the concept developed to its present version during the 2000s. The organization ›Terre de Liens‹ which was founded in France in 2003 had a leading role in the development. Since 2006 there are Regionalwert AGs which are securing land and additionally finance operations from each sector of food production. But only for a few years one can speak of a niche thanks to further foundations (e.g. Ökonauten and BioBoden Genossenschaft 2015).
The niche is still very young in Germany, however the development is fostered through the sharply increasing price for land since 2015. Inhibiting factors are on the one hand the limited willingness of the population to become members of cooperatives or to provide donations to foundations. On the other hand, prices for land as well as the availability of land limit the cooperatives’ options for actions.
Promotion of regional, closed nutrient cycles
Partly the willingness of the population to become members of cooperatives or to provide donations to foundations is still lacking. The high and increasing prices for land as well as the availability of land are still challenges for land cooperatives and foundations.
Land cooperatives and partly also foundations make land available to farmers, who cultivate it according to predefined criteria. Therefore, land cooperatives and foundations withdraw land from the (capital) market and support and protect small-scale structures in agriculture, young farmers and sustainable farming systems. Thus, land cooperatives and foundations have a rather indirect, but strong sustainability potential. The addressed issue is - in the foreseeable future - becoming increasingly problematic which is why the promotion of the niche is gaining importance. Currently, there are constraints through high prices for land as well as availability of land which limit the expansion.
 BioBoden Genossenschaft (2018a): Mit Hilfe aller die Zukunft gestalten. Web, 23.06.2018. bioboden.de/aufgabe/unser-weg/
 Kipp, M., Heil, M. und Planer, J. (2016): Bodenpreise. Wie viel Steigerung ist noch zu ertragen? Bundeszentrum für Ernährung. Web, 23.06.2018. www.bzfe.de/inhalt/bodenpreise-2675.html
 Ökonauten EG (2018): Über uns. Web, 23.06.2018. www.oekonauten-eg.de/ueber-uns/
 Regionalwert AG (2018a): Bürgeraktiengesellschaft in der Region Freiburg. Wertpapierprospekt, S. 8. Web, 23.06.2018. www.regionalwert-ag.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Wertpapierprospekt-Regionalwert-AG-Freiburg-1.pdf
 BioBoden Genossenschaft (2020): Ackerland in Bürgerhand. Web, 10.04.2020. bioboden.de/startseite/
 BioBoden Genossenschaft (2018b): Die wichtigsten Fragen und Antworten zu BioBoden. Web, 23.6.2018. bioboden.de/genossenschaft/fragen-antworten/
 Terre de Liens (2018): Chiffres Clefs. Web, 23.06.2018. terredeliens.org/-les-chiffres-clefs-.html
 Regionalwert AG (2018b): Die Regionalwert Treuhand. Web, 23.06.2018. www.regionalwert-rheinland.de/regionalwert-ag/regionalwert-ag-treuhand/
 Ökonauten eG (2018): Werde Ökonaut. Flyer. Web, 23.06.2018. www.oekonauten-eg.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Flyer.pdf; BioBoden Genossenschaft: So wirkt BioBoden! Web, 23.06.2018. bioboden.de/partnerhoefe/
 BioBoden Genossenschaft (2018c): Die BioBoden Genossenschaft. Web, 23.06.2018. bioboden.de/genossenschaft/unternehmen/