Small Farm Profits

Resource explained

Small Farm Profits is a short booklet produced by the Ecological Land Cooperative demonstrating that small farms can, and do, make a profit. Profiling farms under five hectares (12.15 acres) the booklet is composed of a series of single-page overviews of farms across the UK giving a brief snapshot into the numbers behind such enterprises. The Ecological Land Cooperative is a Community Benefit Society whose mission is to create new opportunities for small ecological farms. ‘Small Farm Profits’ demonstrates that small is not only successful – but human. The efficiency of small plots often means more intensive i.e. more labour. Wedded to this approach however is a slew of additional benefits – social and ecological. High employment figures, environmental stewardship and promoting biodiversity and good soil care, small farms are exemplars of ecological agriculture in action.

Findings & recommendations

  • The key findings of the Small Farm Profits booklet are that food producers can make a living from a small acreage.
  • By employing agroecological methods of growing and managing the land, the sites displayed within the book show that small can be successful.
  • The emphasis of the farms is on horticulture. It must also be noted that these farms are making a profit after covering their costs and wages – and doing so without any subsidies.
  • Each of the farms listed are given one page in the booklet. The figures detailing produce, annual income, wages, costs and profits are from the last 2 -3 years.
  • The farms chosen to be included in the booklet displayed the following qualities:
    • profitability
    • efficiency
    • generating ‘multiplier effects’
    • creating fresh, local, healthy food
    • high employment figures per land area
    • promote, incorporate and inspire biodiversity
    • pesticide and chemical free
    • low carbon emissions
    • positive social impact – small farms focus on local economies and communities; provide open spaces to learn; provide employment and other opportunities

Header image: Alex hoeing away on the Steepholding Market Garden at Greennham Reach – one of the three smallholdings at the Ecological Land Cooperative’s first cluster farm in Mid Devon. Credit: Ecological Land Cooperative

Summary provided by:

Phil Moore, Ecological Land Cooperative

Edited by:

Janie Caldbeck

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