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Researcher - Jumping Fences Project

Ecological Land Cooperative

The Ecological Land Cooperative (ELC) is a social enterprise with an office in Bristol. We exist to create affordable access to land for new entrants to ecological agriculture and mixed farming. Following the successful delivery of our first two sites, clusters of three ecological small farms in Mid Devon and East Sussex, we have also purchased and are in the process of developing three further sites across the South of England and Wales. We have an ambitious plan to add five more smallholding sites to our portfolio over the next four years.

We currently employ eight part-time staff, and strategic direction is led by ELC’s Board, which currently has five members who are elected from the membership at the Cooperative’s AGM. There are 508 members of the Cooperative.

We believe that ecological land-based livelihoods can help solve some of the most pressing environmental and social problems of our time, and we seek to marry ecological principles with sound business practice to help more people live and work on the land. This type of small-scale ecological production delivers a number of benefits including protecting the environment, building vibrant rural communities, providing employment and training, and supporting healthy diets through affordable, local produce.

Beyond this, our vision is one where land is valued and used as a means to enhance our collective good. At present, land in the UK is the target of financial speculation; in contrast, our model champions a collective, ecological and cooperative vision of land ownership and land use.

Jumping Fences

Jumping Fences - understanding and addressing the barriers to access to land for agroecological farming for Black people and people of colour (BPOC) in Britain.

The Jumping Fences project is a collaboration between Land In Our Names, Land Workers’ Alliance and Ecological Land Cooperative that addresses issues of land and food justice as they relate to BPOC in Britain. 

It aims to carry out research into the experiences of BPOC who have been able to set up growing businesses and projects, as well as those who would like to pursue this life, to find out what motivated them to do this, what their challenges were, how they overcame them, and what more can be done to enable BPOC new entrants to farming to gain access to land in peri-urban and rural spaces.

The project aims to use the research findings to educate by opening up a conversation with the agroecological farming sector about the barriers that BPOC face when trying to access opportunities to grow food in Britain so that they can build their organisations’ capacity to ensure that they are serving all of the diverse communities of Britain. 

Finally the project partners will work together to build the capacity of Land In Our Names (LION) to develop as a community land trust with the ability to acquire and manage land for BPOC new entrants to agroecological farming.

The purpose of the Jumping Fences project is to identify the barriers that BPOC face when considering a land based livelihood in Britain, to map existing and prospective BPOC led land-based businesses and organisations and to discover what challenges they face and how they seek to overcome them. 

The reason for doing this is to try to discover the root causes of the underrepresentation of BPOC people in British agriculture, environmental and horticulture sectors, and in agroecological farming in particular, so that we can consider ways to break them down and increase BPOC’s access to land and other support to start land based enterprises for food growing, and also to rural spaces for enjoyment and wellbeing.

The second part of the project will be dissemination of the research outputs through a range of media and a series of four workshops (either face to face or online depending on what is recommended at the time) that will seek to engage the agroecology sector in Britain to consider the research findings and identify ways that BPOC can be supported to access land and support for land based livelihoods. We will also make an effort to get the report findings into the conventional farming media as a way of adding reach to the research.

The final intention of the collective effort is to strengthen the capacity of the relatively newly formed LION in order that they are able to carry out this work. The LWA’s BIPOC coordinating group will act as a project steering group to support the LION team; and the ELC, as an organisation focussed on supporting new entrant farmers, will bring a practitioner’s perspective to the process and will offer support to LION to develop their capacity to become a community land trust, providing practical solutions for BPOC land stewards.

 

Job Description and Person Specification

The Jumping Fences Researcher will be responsible for all aspects of delivering Phase 1: the research and Phase 2: dissemination of the findings for the Jumping Fences project, reporting to the ELC Coordinator on a day to day basis and supported by the collaborative of LION, LWA and ELC.

 

Recruitment Timeline

The closing date for applications is midnight on Friday 14th January

We are expecting to hold interviews in late January 2022 

 

Hours and Remuneration

The post is a part-time temporary contract for 130 days (7.5 hours per day) work up until January 2023. The work can be undertaken flexibly within the deadlines set for the research report and dissemination.   

£29,835 per annum* pro rata, per annum (£15.30 per hour) plus up to 4% matched pension contribution.

* the ELC has a flat payment structure, with all workers paid at the same rate. 

 

Job Description

The Jumping Fences Researcher will be responsible for

  • Developing the research methodology.

  • Carrying out a literature review.

  • Carrying out a mapping exercise for existing BPOC land based projects across mainland UK.

  • Finding and contacting potential research participants.

  • Carrying out interviews and surveys.

  • Writing and editing the research report.

  • Working with the collaborative team to design the final report.

  • Publicising the research across a wide range of media.

  • Creating marketing materials for research dissemination.

  • Setting up and running workshops to discuss research findings.

  • Convening the collaborative team meetings and involving the partners in all aspects of the project’s management.

  • Contributing to the work of the ELC as part of the staff team, including team meetings, strategic planning and away-days, and team-building or social events.

 

Person Specification 

Essential Skills and Experience

  • Experience and understanding of the issues facing BPOC in the UK and a demonstrated commitment to racial justice, anti-discriminatory practice.

  • A social research qualification and evidenced experience of delivering social research projects and reports.

  • Experience of delivering workshops to discuss research findings.

  • Ability to manage a project budget.

  • Ability to work on your own initiative.

  • Ability and willingness to travel, when appropriate and safe to do so.

  • Excellent ICT skills.

  • A commitment to working cooperatively.

Desirable Skills and Experience

  • Experience of working within the land sector, environmental movement, the cooperative movement or the third sector.

  • Interest and enthusiasm for more equitable distribution of land in Britain 

  • Experience of the low-impact movement or agro-ecological farming.

  • Familiarity with online tools such as Google G-Suite and Slack.

  • Experience of cooperative management and inclusive decision making.

  • Experience or an understanding of the benefits and challenges of working remotely.

  • Experience of working as part of a small and diverse team.

  • Experience of working in collaborative projects with partner organisations. 

Application Instructions

To apply please send an up-to-date CV along with a cover letter, which details how you fulfil the person specification and any relevant experience, to sonia@ecologicalland.coop by 12am on Friday 14th January 2022. Please make sure your letter is less than 2 pages long. We would be grateful if you could also fill in the applicant monitoring form as this helps us to understand our reach in the recruitment process.