How It All Began
The origins of the Ecological Land Co-operative lie in informal discussions in the spring of 2005 between members of the following organisations: Chapter 7, a planning consultancy with experience working with smallholders and ecological projects; Radical Routes, a secondary co-operative of co-operatives working for social change; UpStart Services, a co-operative development body; and Landmatters, a newly established community co-operative managing 42 acres near Totnes. As an informal group, we applied for the costs of a feasibility study from the Co-operative Group in the South West, and this led to UpStart Services carrying out research into feasibility, investment and legal structures. This led in turn to further meetings and consultations, and a further successful application to the Co-operative Fund in spring 2007. This, along with grants from Polden Puckham Charitable Foundation and Business Link SW funded the development of our business plan, our first fundraising drive and finally to the launch of the project.
In November 2007 we registered as a company and in September 2009, we converted to an Industrial and Provident Society: a co-operative.