Small Farm Profits

Ecological Land Cooperative
December 2018
Creative Commons Licence
Farmer experience
Key Farming Practices: 
Direct selling

Download the PDF

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