Announcing: North American Community Land Trust Directory

Both climate change and wealth inequality have roots in an unjust system of land tenure wherein land is sold to the highest bidder. Faced by these rising global crises, it is not a question of whether land redistribution will occur, but how.

Time-tested and democratic, the Community Land Trust model was designed for this moment.

The Schumacher Center for a New Economics  houses a group of researchers, organizers, and advocates committed to the community land trust model. In order to increase the capacity of CLTs, we are undertaking an initiative to promote gifting of working lands into community land trusts. We see land gifting as a voluntary, grassroots movement to redistribute resources, as well as a partial response to establishing a system for reparations.

Our first step towards building an alliance for land gifting has been to identify active CLTs that can accept such donations.

Southside CLT’s garden network, a total of 86 agricultural sites, produces food for roughly 1,200 families every year.

The online directory now showcases over two hundred CLTs in the U.S., the majority of which were contacted individually to confirm organizational status and governance details. The page includes a searchable map, which also lists Canadian CLTs. Our plan is to link to the National Community Land Trust Network in the UK, which has a map of CLTs in England and Wales and is extending mapping to France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

The directory illustrates a movement characterized by innovation and hope, as CLTs combat timely issues, such as natural/climate disaster recovery, urban displacement, rural community revitalization, and democratic commercial development.

This project is intended to increase media and foundation attention to the field, as well as raise awareness amongst potential benefactors of the why and how of gifting land to CLTs.
Bolinas CLT governs both residential and mixed-use commercial sites.

Best wishes,
Schumacher Staff

P.S. The directory does not include Community Development Corporations, Habitats for Humanity, city housing agencies and other types of organizations that, while doing good work, are focused more on development of affordable housing rather than new modes of land tenure.

Our list includes citizen-led, regional nonprofits with open membership and democratic structure.  Groups that separate ownership of land from ownership of buildings through the tool of a lease and which have a goal of keeping land out of the market, i.e. the classic CLT.  We made this distinction because we hoped to identify CLTs that can expand their work beyond affordable housing to include all working lands needed by a thriving community.

Hasta Muerte Coffee was purchased by the neighborhood after organizing efforts with Oakland CLT.
Photo: Yalonda M. James / The Chronicle 2018