We are a tiny nonprofit pioneering a new model of land ownership that is as old as human
civilization — community ownership of land.
Community ownership of land was the norm a thousand years ago. Shared land was called the commons because everyone had access to the land and a responsibility to steward the land for the common good. We live in a very different world today, but our basic needs are still the same — life’s essentials: water, food, fuel and shelter. Life’s essentials come from the land.
In the Berkshires, access to land is critical to our food security and the sustainability of our economy, but often land is unaffordable to the people who live and work here. Community ownership of land empowers us to manage land prices and allocate land resources for farms, housing and business. When the community owns land in perpetuity, it can ensure permanent affordability from one generation to the next, and manage land assets for strategic purposes, such as community-supported industry and homes for young families. That kind of security encourages long-term investment, entrepreneurship and a more resilient economy.
A tool for economic development
Our Community Land Trust can help build our local economy by holding land for a specific purpose, like affordable home ownership for young families, or farmland for local agriculture, or commercial sites for small business.
Community ownership of land is a mechanism to ensure local residents have access to affordable homes, farms and business.
Real estate prices fluctuate with global market forces that can push the price of land beyond what local residents can afford on local wages. Community owned land can be leased at locally controlled prices, ensuring affordable access.
Community ownership of land enables communities to develop strategic land and ensure it serves their long-term interests.
Families with children, farmers and entrepreneurs are essential to a thriving local economy, but their success depends upon access to affordable homes near schools, affordable farmland near markets, and affordable business infrastructure. Community owned land can be dedicated to strategic long-term goals like increasing housing for fulltime residents.
Community ownership of land enables food security planners to allocate farmland to producing food for local consumption.
A sustainable community has a resilient food supply, one that adapts to local, regional and global market forces ensuring continuous access to affordable food. Community owned farmland can support a community-based food system by ensuring local farmland feeds local people.