Field: Land use & agriculture
Global Technical function: Resource sharing
Technical Function Unit: Land sharing, Networking, Promoting information sharing, Public grant funding for demonstration, Skills sharing
Geographic Area: Australia, Canada, United Kingdom

Online information sharing platform for sharing land, skills and tools to grow food.

www.landshare.net is an online networking tool for citizens interested in land sharingskills sharing and resource sharing to grow food. The platform aims at promoting information sharing of resources and the skills needed to produce food in schools, businesses, hospitals and churches in the United KingdomAustralia and Canada.

The challenge

A large area of productive land both in public and private ownership often remains vacant and unused. This land can be used for cultivation.
 

The innovation

The Landshare online tool (www.landshare.net) helps potential growers to find vacant land which is available for growing food, to share their skills and advise with others, and to swap surplus seeds and crops. Producing your own food helps to promote living a sustainable and healthy lifestyle as self-produced food is typically healthier and more sustainable compared to that which is purchased in a supermarket. 
 

The Landshare tool allows the user to create a personal profile and share details about his/her location. The same website also offers other innovative matchmaking tools to facilitate contact between growers searching for land and landowners offering places to grow food. A group of six growers is needed to request a piece of land from a local council. Once growers find a suitable plot of land for prospective farming interests (e.g. growing vegetables, fruits, bees, chicken and other animals etc.) they can contact the owner of the spare land and request to use it.  Once the owner accepts the growers’ request, both parties can fill in the Landshare’s proposed “pro forma agreements”.

 

Why did it work?

The online land-sharing tool works as consumer interest in self-sufficient food production and living a more sustainable lifestyle continues to grow around the world. Collaborative land use and agriculture have become attractive to consumers as they can extend their food security by reducing dependency on complex food supply chains.
 
Self-grown food can reduce food waste which occurs as a result of the traditionally long value chains of packaged food products which are typically available in larger supermarkets. The logistical and transportation costs, as well as the environmental impacts, can be reduced due to the increased consumption of locally grown food.
 

Further deployment

Landshare’s sharing economy business model has great potential for replication worldwide. The success of the online tool can be seen by its success in its country of origin, i.e. the United Kingdom. There are now independent Landshare websites for Australia and CanadaPublic grant funding for demonstration in respective countries supports these websites. The maturity of this eco-innovation is estimated to be beyond 9 on the GML scale.
 
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