ScotLAND - A History

The LAND Project in England

In 2009 the Permaculture Association launched the LAND network. This four year project was funded by the Local Food Scheme (a part of the Big Lottery Fund) and Esmee Fairbairn. The funders’ criteria restricted the LAND project to England-only. The LAND project in England now has 60+ LAND Centres and has attracted 14,685 visitors and 10,425 volunteers over 3 years. This approximates to 100 volunteers/visitors to each LAND Centre per year. The LAND coordinator found that many more projects than initially estimated would like to become LAND Centres, but that they didn’t always meet the criteria. In light of this, a new status was created. The ‘LAND Learner’ was an opportunity for projects to be supported towards becoming a LAND Centre. For more info visit

Permaculture Scotland and the ScotLAND project

In 2010 an event was held in Dunblane to find out what permaculture people in Scotland wanted. From this, a Task and Finish group was formed. The task - to design Permaculture Scotland - was completed within the year and in 2011 “Permaculture Scotland - A Design for a Working Group of the Permaculture Association (Britain)” was launched. In 2011-12 we wrote a questionnaire to research the level of interest in Scotland for a ScotLAND project. The survey results by March 2012 were:

  • 145 respondents;

  • 93 had a land-based project;

  • 14 felt ready to be a ScotLAND Centre;

  • 41 wanted to become a ScotLAND Learner.

We completed the Awards for All funding application in March 2012 based on these figures. By January 2013, we had a total of 211 respondents, 121 (59%) with land-based projects. 15 felt ready to be ScotLAND Centres and 59 wanted to be ScotLAND Learners.

In January 2013, as part of the Assessor Training, we held a session with the LAND Network Coordinator, the CEO of the Permaculture Association, the ScotLAND coordinators, the ScotLAND Assessors and the ScotLAND Apprentice Assessors, using consensus working to agree the major aspects of the ScotLAND project, including the application process, criteria, and training required for assessors.


Phase 1: 2012/13 - Establishing the Project

We received £10,000 from Awards for All for 2012-13. This went towards:

  • Communications and promotion of the ScotLAND network

  • Training for prospective ScotLAND Learners

  • Assessor visits to new ScotLAND Learners

  • Training for ScotLAND assessors/tutors

  • Networking events

Interim: 2014-16 - Autonomous progress

Growing the ScotLAND Network through:

  1. Enabling the progression from Membership to Learner sites, and from Learner sites to Centre sites;

  2. Strengthening the network with training, tutorials, guidance and peer support; and

  3. Funding permitting, a host of events, supported visits for new groups to LAND Centres, and more, depending on the needs of the ScotLAND network.


Phase 2: 2016-2019 - Engaging ‘hard to reach’ communities

We received funding from the Robertson Trust (£5,500 x 3 years - depending on match funding). The first two years were match funded with grants from Awards For All (£6,500) and The Seedbed Trust (£5,000); Year Three funding is still being looked for.

This meant we could employ an Outreach Worker for ~7hrs/wk to:

  • oversee and support our ScotLAND Tutors;

  • coordinate skill-sharing events, support the network of new and existing ScotLAND Learners/Centres;

  • coordinate The Group Visit Scheme by engaging “hard to reach communities;”

  • publicise the ScotLAND network in collaboration with the Association's website coordinator and communications officer;

  • support Learners to become Centres through face-to-face and phone tutorials



Phase 3: 2021 - Broadening the network to Projects and LAND...


Exciting News! - We are planning to re-energise and expand the LAND network by building a new broader reaching Projects and LAND Network that is looking to be self-supporting and lighter weight in terms of managing the process.  

Part of that process is to populate a new map of your projects and LAND learners and centres here (opens new window).

We'll also be making announcements soon about the new shape of Projects and LAND things to come, not least of which is our new co-ordinator Steve Marquis (email him via scotlandworker[at] who will be starting on this project during August.

We have established a new LAND working group to get this rolling and will make more announcements soon.


The ScotLAND Criteria - A History

The ScotLAND (and LAND) criteria were created to allow the Permaculture Association to proactively promote projects to the general public with the knowledge that these projects are well-run and demonstrate permaculture ethics and principles.

The initial LAND criteria were a series of statements that the LAND team in England and members of the Permaculture Association put forward to start a debate in the existing permaculture network. To reach the wide variety of projects, a web survey was emailed to all known permaculture projects and groups asking which of the statements they thought should be set as Essential or Desirable criteria.

The responses from the survey were looked at carefully and a new set of criteria were sent out to the projects that showed a desire to be involved in a further debate. After this debate, the criteria were tweaked again to give the final LAND criteria. The development of the criteria in this way means that they have been set by the network for the network. The Association set up the need for the criteria, but the criteria are essentially an agreement between all of the projects in the network.

At the meeting in January 2013, the ScotLAND team tweaked the LAND Centre criteria - changing LAND to ScotLAND and removing the need for the project to only be related to food growing. We also explicitly included the criteria for LAND Learners and added a new level to the project - Member. The need for this was identified by analyzing the survey responses. Many of the enthusiastic respondents did not have a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDCs)- an essential criteria if a they would like to follow the ScotLAND Learner pathway.

However, as of 2018 change is afoot. A proposal is currently in the making that would allow even applicants without PDCs to join the network. Using the Assessment of Prior Learning framework being adopted at some Higher Education institutions, we hope to make the network more inclusive by including those who have not been able to access a certified education in permaculture. Watch this space for developments, hopefully ready by Spring 2019...


So, hopefully this is where you are reasonably well up to date with ScotLAND developments and are now able to reflect on whether you wish to consider becoming a ScotLAND Centre!  


Not quite right for you?

If you've read this far and don't feel like this opportunity is quite right for you and your group, please look at this Community Learning Exchange opportunity offered by Scottish Communities Alliance. We'd love you to be able to visit permaculture in Scotland by any means necessary!