Historic Win For Vegan Land Movement

Historic win for the Vegan Land Movement

On the 30th September 2020, Global Vegan Crowd Funder, the funding platform for the Vegan Land Movement (VLM), entered an auction for 3.3 acres of dairy grazing land in Somerset and WON. This represents the first VLM vegan community buyout of animal agriculture dairy land.

Agent Description

A single enclosure of level pasture moorland located between the villages of Middlezoy, Othery and Burrowbridge and fronting Broad Drove. The land extends to 3.30 acres and is inherently fertile with good peaty/loam soils. For many years the land has been used for the grazing of livestock. 

The image coloured green is Earlake Moor. No wonder wildlife is becoming extinct.

Plans for the land?

Our mission is to sensitively and ecologically repurpose land and to bestow it back to whom we consider the rightful owner, our Earth. By this we mean we consider the land to have inherent value and that “all things growing and living’’ to quote the author JRR Tolkien, “belong to themselves” As such we consider ourselves tenants of the Earth, only permitted to care for the land in ways which benefit Nature. 

Consequently we are exploring a range of options for the land at Earlake Moor, Somerset. We will rewild, or in conjunction with local people consider in part establishing a community orchard.  We are not in a hurry, as we want to see what already grows and flourishes naturally, which will steer us to enable the land achieve its full potential with our assistance. In time, we hope this modest piece of our earth will become symbolic of a world-wide movement of what can be achieved if vegans join together to remove land from animal agriculture.

The UK at present does not recognise that the Earth itself has any rights. We are working on this and a Trust structure to now protect Earlake Moor and any further buyouts in perpetuity. Other countries have developed structures to do just this and the VLM are taking guidance from these pioneering examples. 

Land Buyout Press Release

THEY’VE ONLY GONE AND DONE IT!

THE VEGAN LAND MOVEMENT HAS MADE HISTORY 

BY PURCHASING A PARCEL OF FORMER 

DAIRY FARMLAND IN THE UK

On the 30th September 2020, Global Vegan Crowd Funder, the funding platform for the Vegan Land Movement (VLM), entered an auction for 3.3 acres of dairy grazing land in Somerset and WON. This represents the first VLM vegan community buyout of animal agriculture dairy land.

Introduction to the Vegan Land Movement

The Vegan Land Movement is a grass-roots movement that seeks to protect the land for all beings, now and for the future. Our mission is to acquire land – especially land currently used in animal agriculture – to give it back to nature and to the sentient life that depends on it, alongside repurposing into veganic food production systems. We have a vision of flourishing eco-systems that can sustain communities of all wildlife. The Vegan Land Movement is a pioneering movement, at the intersection of the fight against mass extinction and climate change. 

Why the Vegan Land Movement Matters

Land is finite, so every bit is precious. There is an opportunity cost for all uses of land and the costliest of all activities is animal agriculture. 

48 % of the entire UK is used for animal agriculture. Yet, animal products provide only 18% of calories globally. [1]  But we know that we do not need animal agriculture for optimal health – in fact, the healthiest diets are those which contain the lowest amounts of animal products. [2] 

There are enormous ethical implications in eating animals; if not necessary, how can we justify taking the lives of sentient beings? Beings who, like you and me, know happiness, fear, love.  When we help ourselves to the lives of others, we are simply enacting the attitude of entitlement that so underpins racial and gender oppression.  

When we dedicate land to animal agriculture, we often destroy wildlife habitats. What we tend to think of as bucolic hillsides full of grazing sheep and cows are in fact ecological wastelands. Humans and their chattels account for 96% of animal biomass; only 4% is wild mammals. And this is because we have annihilated natural habitats and replaced them with pasture.

We believe that repurposing land is perhaps the most meaningful way to respond to the challenges civilisation faces. The possibility of recreating ecologically rich landscapes is not only a sorely needed practical solution, but would also provide a horizon of hope that symbolises the power of compassionate individuals with a common aim, that of protecting the Earth and all her creatures.

The Land Buyout of Earlake Moor

After posting the idea of collectively buying out this land on social media, donations flooded into GVCF along with many inspiring messages saying this provided a way for individuals to feel like they were making a real difference. With a total donation fund of £16,800 at 3pm on 30th September, the auction for the Earlake Moor land commenced. The excitement of the VLM team, along with all those that had donated was palpable; this was, after all, history in the making!

After a slow start at the auction, down came the Gavel at £16,000. We had WON! We were now collectively the very proud owners of Earlake Moor, Somerset, which is a beautiful 3.3 acre parcel of land previously used to graze livestock and currently surrounded by dairy farming.

What Will Happen to the Land?

Our mission is to sensitively and ecologically repurpose the land and to bestow it back to whom we consider the rightful owner, our Earth. By this we mean we consider the land to have inherent value and that “all things growing and living’’ to quote the author JRR Tolkien, “belong to themselves.” As such we consider ourselves tenants of the Earth, only permitted to care for the land in ways which benefit Nature. We are currently exploring a range of options for the land at Earlake Moor, Somerset; most likely the land will be rewilded and perhaps, in conjunction with local groups/volunteers we could consider establishing a community orchard or allotment. We are not in hurry, as we want to see what already grows and flourishes naturally, which will steer us to enable the land achieve its full potential with our assistance. In time, we hope this modest piece of our Earth will become symbolic of a world-wide movement of what can be achieved if vegans join together to remove land from animal agriculture.

The UK at present does not recognise that the Earth itself has any rights. We are working on creating a trust structure to protect Earlake Moor and any further buyouts in perpetuity. Other countries have developed structures to do just this and the VLM are taking guidance from these pioneering examples.

The Dream

HRH Prince William and Sir David Attenborough recently launched the Earthshot Prize to ‘address the world’s gravest environmental problems’ by 2030. It is, however, obvious what the main problems are: a growing human population whose increasing unsustainable consumption patterns, particularly in relation to food, is driving habitat losses and extinctions. The solution is veganism, which by releasing land for rewilding and developing alterative food sources, would reverse habitat losses and return land in vast quantities back to Nature. [3]

Our vision is to unite people around this simple idea, which has begun with this small 3.3 acre plot of land. The VLM and this first land buyout is the start of what will hopefully be a powerful and transformative change to the way we live, eat, and view the world. To this end, we have started a subscription to VLM, where for just £5 per month anyone and everyone can become part of working towards this goal. Then we may begin to see more and bigger land buyouts by VLM, more rewilding of our Earth, more veganic produce for us all to benefit from and less species’ declines.

Both the globalvegancrowdfunder.org and VLM are founded on principles of inclusivity and community, where each individual carries the same value and influence, where all are welcome to put forward ideas and where each idea will be considered in the same way. We truly believe that the only way to create a fairer more equitable world is by building a community where everyone is, but more importantly feels, valued.

In closing, imagine for example, converting this intensive animal factory farm pictured below, into veganic mushroom production. This is where the power of the VLM lies, in building a community to effect real change.

Animal Factory Farm
https://www.uklandandfarms.co.uk/rural-property-for-sale/east-midlands/lincolnshire/11255_new200014/

Contact: vlm@globalvegancrowdfunder.org

Website: https://globalvegancrowdfunder.org/vegan-land-movement/

We’d like to express our sincere thanks to Nicholas Taylor and Lauren Fitzgerald of Healys LLP (www.healys.com) for their invaluable legal help and advice throughout this process and enabled this historic purchase. 

‘‘It was a real pleasure acting pro bono for the Global Vegan Crowd Funder on their first acquisition of former dairy land for the purpose of rewilding in Somerset. As an avid advocate of conservation and animal welfare I was delighted when approached by Gina to provide my advice and support on such an important project whose aim is for the restoration of ecosystems in Britain. This is hopefully the first of many more such acquisitions which are vital if we are to succeed in helping nature recover from the damage caused by mankind’’.

Nicholas Taylor, Partner, Healys LLP.

‘Food security is increasingly under threat from outdated, exploitative livestock farming systems that are driven more by profit than any genuine concern for animals or the environment. Repurposing land currently used for animal agriculture can restore eco-systems, offset climate change and help us become more self-sufficient with vegetables, fruit, grains, pulses and nuts. The Vegan Land Movement therefore, is a ray of hope and a shining example of how, collectively, we can repair our relationship with nature and bring about positive change for a more sustainable and compassionate future’’.

Cleve West, Author of ‘The Garden of Vegan’ and RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Show Gold Medal winner

Lastly, the Vegan Land Movement is about all of us and for all of us. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our donors, who are from all over the globe – from Europe, India, USA and Canada and also from all walks of life, all coming together to make a difference. Here are a few words from some of the global vegan community who donated to help purchase Earlake Moor.

‘’I felt such joy being able to take action and donate to this visionary project by the Vegan Land Movement & GVCF; it was so uplifting to be part of a global movement of people, many of us complete strangers, uniting online to make this happen. I look forward to watching this land heal herself and become a sanctuary for wildlife and all nature’.’

Carol, Monmouthshire, Wales

‘’We hear a lot about saving the rainforests or endangered animals in faraway countries but the UK is also suffering [from the] loss of biodiversity and wild spaces. This movement is a great way to take practical steps to reverse those losses in a way that will have an immediate effect.’’

Anne-Marie, Tyne & Wear

‘’I donated to the Vegan Land Movement because it is a donation to those who will use that money to keep land out of use for harming and exploitation of non-human animals and instead use it to promote biodiversity and natural systems and because there is nothing natural about using and breeding animals for agriculture’.’

Martha Brock, Georgia, USA

‘’A great victory for our grass roots land movement, removing land from an unsustainable cruel industry. Truly happy to be a part of a global animal-loving vegan family, who are putting words into action, giving back a little of what we have taken, with more to come!’’

I.H. Blythe, Stockholm, Sweden

‘’I am so happy to be a part of this incredible movement, taking land and transforming it back to how nature intended. As a vegan I am opposed to all farming practices which use and exploit animals. This land will never again be used for that purpose and that is wonderful’.’

Vicky from Stoke-On-Trent

‘’I was very happy to donate to this project that I hope will help create a future where people respect the Earth, nurture it, and don’t treat it as a resource to exploit. I look forward to seeing this land, and hopefully more, protected and given back to nature, ecosystems and wildlife. Thank you to the VLM team for your dedication in working toward being deserving custodians of the Earth for those who belong’’..

Julie McHenry, Italy

‘’I supported the Vegan Land Movement because it is an important, pioneering organisation that understands the critical need to end our environmentally devastating and cruel animal agriculture system, and instead create an opportunity to come together to replace this with the restoration of natural ecosystems. A truly inspiring initiative!’’

Anthony Simpson, Reading, England

‘’I felt driven to support because food forests are one of the solutions to biodiversity loss and supplying us with wholesome perennial foods, medicine and materials’’

Jonathan Barker, Essex

‘’I would like to say that I happily supported the Vegan Land Movement because I realise how important it is to give the land back to the Earth and away from Animal Ag. I totally support the Vegan Land Movement in taking away this land from the dairy industry’.’

Kay- Gosford, NSW Australia

References

[1] Poore and Nemecek (2018). “Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers”.  https://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6392/987

[2] E.g. Ha (2019). “The Power of Plants: Is a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet the Answer to Health, Health Care, and Physician Wellness?”. Permanente Journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6730944/

Medawar et al (2019). “The effects of plant-based diets on the body and the brain: a systematic review.” Translational Psychiatry. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-019-0552-0

Kim et al (2019). “Plant-Based Diets Are Associated With a Lower Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Disease Mortality, and All-Cause Mortality in a General Population of Middle-Aged Adults.” Journal of the American Heart Association. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/JAHA.119.012865

See also: PCRM recommendations https://www.pcrm.org/good-nutrition/plant-based-diets; and a selection of 2019’s studies of Plant based diets. https://plantbasedhealthprofessionals.com/the-top-10-studies-of-2019-supporting-plant-based-nutrition-for-health.

[3] Harwatt, H., and Hayek, M.N. (2019), ‘Eating away at climate change with negative emissions; repurposing UK agricultural land to meet climate goals,’ Animal Law & Policy Programme,’ Harvard Law School, 11 April 2019: https://animal.law.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/Eating-Away-at-Climate-Change-with-Negative-Emissions––Harwatt-Hayek.pdf