When did you set up the Vegan Land Movement, and what prompted you to do so?
The Vegan Land Movement CIC (VLM) is a sister initiative of the not-for-profit Global Vegan Crowd Funder (GVCF). GVCF was created first in 2019 because of the realisation that there were no purely vegan crowd funding platforms. All other crowd funding platforms host a lot of non-vegan and non-ethical/ecological projects. The volunteers who helped get GVCF up and running are also environmentalists. Gina in particular is creating the first Veganic croft (farm) in the Scottish Highlands and is very aware that the land is at the very root of animal agriculture. Right at the start of creating GVCF we had the idea of a linked sister initiative to remove land from animal farming. It was obvious that the vegan community was missing a vegan land movement. GVCF became the funding platform for the VLM, and they share a website to keep the web host costs low. We are also creating a resource area on this site so that people can access important information regarding climate, land use and other related subjects.
How much land have you been able to purchase so far? Was this land previously used in animal farming?
We have now removed 25 acres over four parcels of land from dairy farming and one of them had planning permission to build a chicken unit to house 20,000 birds a year. This was the biggest win for us because of the suffering that has been stopped, along with the subsequent pollution. As with many of these units, many start small and then expand so we have prevented something far bigger long-term.
What are you currently using the land for and how are you maintaining the land?
We are rewilding three of the plots and are giving them a little bit of a helping hand because there are very few tree species nearby to spread their seeds. So, we are planting some native saplings to help kick-start a future native woodland. The plot that we removed from becoming a chicken unit is near a town and we are planning for part of this to become a veganic community orchard. We are visiting all of the plots at the beginning of August to start yearly species counts. An important part of the VLM is to build a body of research regarding the recovery of land removed from intensive grazing. So each year we will record and log species as they return and make these parcels of saved land their home.
Do you think that if more people knew about the Vegan Land Movement you would be able to purchase more land?
Yes, definitely. Approximately 500 people have donated to the four buyouts already and we have saved a total of 25 acres. If 5000 people joined the VLM, that would equate to approximately 250 acres and so on. This amount of land could realistically be removed and saved every single month. The original concept for this centred on an idea of 1 million vegans donating just £1 a month. This is literally the biggest thing we could do to help change land use, end the suffering of animals on that land, save wild species facing extinction and help prevent catastrophic climate breakdown.
Are you only buying land that is currently up for sale, or do you target specific (animal) farmers and make them an offer?
At the moment we only buy animal agriculture land that is up for sale. These plots usually change hands between farmers but as the VLM grows we hope that the farmers will not be able to compete with us at the auctions.
Do you think that farmers are willing to sell their land? Do they want to get out of the farming business?
The dairy farmers are facing structural changes on a scale previously unseen. Veganism, the known health benefits of consuming less meat and dairy, the rise of plant-based foods along with the current high inflation levels have squeezed the profit margins on smaller farms. This, along with the rise of land prices is making it an ideal time for farmers to divest some of their assets and ensure their short-term survival.
What is your ultimate goal, and do you think it could be achieved?
Our ultimate goal is to save as many species as we can on VLM rewilding land and change land use, alongside creating a sustainable, ecological, ethical, alternative means of food production under the vegan principles of least harm. It could definitely be achieved if all of the vegans on social media joined in. Twitter for example is approximately 96% an echo chamber. What if we used that echo chamber to create the alternatives to stop species extinction? The only thing that can actually stop species extinction is the recreation of habitat and that has to be done immediately. We cannot wait any longer for others to do this.
VLM is a Community Interest Company
The Vegan Land Movement was created as a Community Interest Company (CIC). We were legally advised to do this because of the Asset Lock within this entity. The Asset Lock literally locks all assets away from humans financially gaining. So, this is not about us humans although it will benefit us all in the end. It is paramount to all of us that we must protect the earth and the species who reside there, in perpetuity. As we know the Earth and animals have no rights. A CIC is about community, and we were able to weave the non-human community into the CIC as part of our Constitution. The Vegan Land Movement is a movement to help save all life. It is for all of us who care and want to try and make the changes that nobody else is and to create a vegan world, acre by acre.
As well as hosting the fundraising for the Vegan Land Movement, GVCF also created a Global Feed Club for 91 pigs saved from horrific cruelty, alongside an ongoing term-time fundraise for Vegan Books for Schools and the Animal Justice Project.
Website: Vegan Land Movement.
Latest Fundraiser: please donate here.