Access to land is key to the transformation of society, argues George Monbiot in his 2020 E. F. Schumacher Lecture.
Access to land means security for families in an ever more turbulent world. Access means continuity of traditional land use practices; it means communities can plan responses to climate change. Farmers and ranchers can invest in the regenerative practices that build the soil, small businesses can maintain their positions on Main Streets, and young entrepreneurs can build the new manufacturing firms that will provide jobs for their communities.
Yet we have a system of land tenure where individuals and corporations with money in their wallets can accumulate an excess of natural wealth and that hoarding raises the cost of land, preventing others from gaining even basic use.
Monbiot suggests a new narrative about land– that each person hold only as much land as is adequate for household needs, and that each corporation use only what is necessary to conduct its activities. Excess land would be held and maintained by self-governed neighborhood groups for parks, public gathering spaces, recreation sites, and community gardens – thereby creating a public luxury amidst the private sufficiency.
It is both a moral argument and a practical argument. However, how do we move from a system where land is routinely amassed as a hedge against a future scarcity to a system which recognizes that security is achieved only when all feel secure?
On Thursday, February 18th at 2 PM EST, the Schumacher Center for a New Economics will host a virtual Community Land Trust Roundtable to highlight three practitioners tackling this problem in a unique way. The roundtable will feature Tony Hernandez of Dudley Neighbors, Inc., Janelle Orsi of the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), and Çaca Yvaire of Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust (NEFOC).
This conversation will be moderated by Greg Watson, Director of Policy and Systems Design at the Schumacher Center. This free webinar will take place from 2:00 to 3:30 PM EST via Zoom. Register here.
For further discussion of this topic see newsletter regarding a Black Commons.