Rules of the Coop

Ecological Land Ltd known as the Ecological Land Cooperative

Registered under the Co-operative & Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 as a Community Benefit Society with Somerset Rules 2014, ref 30770R.

1.    Open and voluntary membership of the society:

1.1.        The name of the society is the Ecological Land Limited.

1.2.        The registered office of the society is at Unit B04, The Brighton Eco Centre, 39-41 Surrey Street, Brighton, BN1 3PB, UK.

1.3.        Objects
The objects of the society are to benefit the community by pursuing this mission: to widen access to land for sustainable land based uses, including but not limited to:

  • local food, grown with minimal inputs

  • renewable energy and fossil fuel independence

  • reconnecting people and place though social and cultural activities

  • forestry, fibres and other rural produce

  • homemaking and community, and

  • the general co-operative aims described in 1.4., 2.1., 3.1., 4.1., 5.1., 6.1. and 7.1. of the rules.

1.4.        The society has the aim of building membership within its stakeholder groups, and ensuring that its membership fully reflects the diversity of those groups and of the wider community.

1.5.        Classes of membership
a)    The membership of the society will be made up of persons drawn from one or more categories of stakeholder, corresponding to the different type of involvement those stakeholders have with the society.

b)    Community members, who are those with the greatest stake in the society’s services, play the principal role in the direction of the society. Non-community members do not have such direct involvement, though they may be investors, supporters, or otherwise interested parties. They are subject to limits on their powers, as specified in 2.7., 2.8., 4.2. and 4.5. of the rules.

c)    Each class of share will be available to the specified stakeholders and may have distinct rights and powers.

d)    A person or organisation that has membership under more than one class will be requested to withdraw, cancel or transfer shares such that they have membership in one class only. If after three months this has not been done, the secretary may cancel the minimum number of shares necessary in order to ensure compliance.

e)    Each class has a unique number, and where a person would be eligible to join in more than one class, membership will be allocated to the lowest numbered class that they are eligible for, unless the board of directors rules otherwise.

f)    The community membership classes are as follows:                Class number:
      Workers: paid and unpaid, part time and full time:                               1
      Stewards: those engaged in managing land ecologically:                     2

g)   The non-community membership classes are as follows:
      Supporter:                                                                                          3, 4

1.6.        Applications for membership
a)    The society is open to applications for membership in the appropriate class without discrimination, subject to a membership policy agreed by the board. This policy will be made available to current and prospective members, and will specify:
i.    the responsibilities of membership that members are expected to comply with,
ii.    the application procedure, which may include a reasonable probationary period,
iii.    the minimum shareholding for membership in each class, which for community members must be set at between 1 and 50 shares (the application procedure may allow deferred or staged purchase of the minimum shareholding, provided at least one share is fully paid up).
iv.    the transactions with the society, or other criteria, that qualify an applicant for membership in each class.

b)    All community members must be aged sixteen or over. The board has the right to refuse membership where it believes there is good reason to do so.

(c) a person under 16 cannot be a member. But a member can hold shares on behalf of somebody who is under 16. The society has to treat those shares as belonging to that member (and not the child), for the purposes of rule 5.1 (which sets the greatest total value of shares a member can have in their name). Following that person’s 16th birthday, they may become a member of the society and those shares can pass on to them.

You can read the full rules of The Ecological Land Cooperative here