Make no mistake, there is a real land movement in England. Separately, these organisations, large and small, have been growing in influence and scope over the last decade, and only recently are they beginning to interact with each other and support each other’s work. This is more than solidarity, it is momentum.
Check out these websites and see for yourself the network of people and organisations working to make nature and humans more deeply entwined, and to make that connection more sustainable and reciprocal. A much more detailed map of the interconnected land movement can be found at landjustice.uk.
The mothership: sign up to become part of the movement, watch videos, download resources and learn more about the argument for greater public access.
Who owns our country matters. It matters because land is a scarce resource – as Mark Twain put it, ‘They aren’t making it any more’ – and because ownership of it often confers wealth, power and influence. It matters because who owns land gets to choose how it’s used, and that has big implications for almost everything. Where we build our homes, how we grow our food, how we protect ourselves from flooding, how much space we set aside for wildlife – all this is hugely affected by who owns land.
If you happen to be an educator, there is a superb teaching course set up by award-winning teacher Paul Turner. Being a radical geographer, Paul’s course incorporates the sociology, history, politics, economics, religion and biology of land rights, and is a primer course like no other. Like another radical, Henry George, he holds up a prism to society that demonstrates how fundamental access to land is to every element of our society.
The Land Is Ours
The Land Is Ours campaigns peacefully for access to the land, its resources and the decision-making processes affecting them, for everyone, irrespective of age, race or gender. Their website is a huge and phenomenal resource of historic and current land rights issues.
House of Annetta
House of Annetta is a new centre for land reform and spatial justice, systemic concerns that are both produced by and in turn reproduce our economic order. Created by Assemble, the Turner Prize–winning architecture and design collective, House of Annetta is a new home for criticality of the current land system and an environment in which to nurture alternatives. Located at 25 Princelet Street in London, just off Brick Lane, everyone is welcome to pop in and explore.
Three Acres and a Cow
Three Acres and a Cow is a show that connects the Norman Conquest and Peasants’ Revolt with climate change and the housing crisis via the Enclosures, the English Civil War and the Industrial Revolution, drawing a compelling narrative through the people’s history of England in folk song, story and poem. Check out their wiki page, a Creative Commons performers’ kit for the English show. Each module has an overview of key points and themes to be communicated, some sample text and a list of songs, poems and stories which could be used to illustrate them.
Land In Our Names (LION)
LION is a grassroots black-led collective committed to reparations in Britain by connecting land and climate justice with racial justice. LION aims to disrupt oppressive land dynamics relating to BPOC communities in Britain. They address land justice as a centre point for issues around food insecurity, health inequalities, environmental injustice and widespread disconnect from nature.
Black2Nature’s objectives are to work towards the increase in engagement of visible minority ethnic (VME) people with nature and the environment, through education, to understand the benefits to physical and mental health and well-being and how that can relate back to their rural heritage abroad.
Black Girls Hike
Founded in 2019, Black Girls Hike provides a safe space for black women to explore the outdoors. Challenging the status quo, and encouraging black women to reconnect with nature, they host nationwide group hikes, outdoor activity days and training events.
Black Land and Spatial Justice Fund
This fund has been developed to redistribute resources, including finance and knowledge, engaging in decolonial frameworks and collective organising to redefine our relationships to land and space.
Nature Is a Human Right
An organisation on a mission to make contact with nature a recognised human right. To build towards this goal, they are raising awareness of the issues at hand through campaigning, partnerships and publications, as well as petitioning for legislation and policy change at a local level, and supporting grassroots action.
Lawyers for Nature
Lawyers for Nature were set up to give legal assistance to all those who campaign to defend nature from destruction. From the Sheffield tree campaign to Stop HS2 and Extinction Rebellion, they offer pro bono legal advice to keep our nature defenders out of prison. In their own words: ‘Currently, the lawyers working for large companies and developers, seeking to develop and build on green space, vastly outnumber the lawyers advising those groups seeking to defend their local environments. We seek to redress this legal and power imbalance, through the use of our volunteer network, knowledge database and in-development legal advice clinic.’
But they are also going one step further. They are at the forefront of the campaign to give nature the legal rights of personhood (in other words, its own rights), so that individuals or companies that poison and destroy our rivers and trees can be brought to justice.
Shared Assets CIC is a ‘think-and-do tank’ that believes that by changing our relationship with land, and by working together, we can build a future that is fair, equitable and just. They undertake consultancy, research and movement building work to support, mobilise and advocate for the development of models of managing land that create shared social, economic and environmental benefits.
Land Workers’ Alliance
LWA are a union of farmers, growers, foresters and other land-based workers with a mission to improve the livelihoods of their members and create a better food and land use system for everyone. They work for a future where producers can work with dignity to earn a decent living and everyone can access local, healthy and affordable food, fuel and fibre – a food and land use system based on agroecology and food sovereignty that furthers social and environmental justice.
RA-T are a decentralised network of squatters and vagabonds resisting the enforcement of the new anti-trespass measures included in the upcoming police powers: the unauthorised encampment bill, first announced in the 2019 Tory manifesto. To fight this bill, which endangers our very ways of life, they are calling for autonomous actions. They support a diversity of tactics.
People’s Land Policy
The People’s Land Policy is a project to develop discussion and debate about what kind of land reform we need. By bringing together a range of people to discuss land and the issues that affect them they are contributing to the building of a broad-based, radical movement for land reform.
The Land Magazine
The Land Magazine is the mother tree of the land movement. It is written by and for people who believe that the roots of justice, freedom, social security and democracy lie not so much in access to money, or to the ballot box, as in access to land and its resources.