The heart of our work is building a “land commons” of permanently protected, collectively owned land. We remove land from speculative markets, protect it from development, and gather it into a democratically-structured land base where its long-term use and care can be shared among residents.
The Commons in Greene
Land in Common currently holds and protect 250 acres of agricultural and wild land in Greene, Maine, 74 acres of which is leased to Wild Mountain Cooperative, a collectively-run community farm. Part of this land is also currently used by Presente! Maine, through the Maine Land Share Project, for cultivation of food for community distribution.
The Commons in Durham
In December 2020, we welcomed a new parcel of land into the commons! In collaboration with Celebration Tree Farm & Wellness Center (CTFWC), and with financing from the Cooperative Fund of New England, we purchased 110 acres of forest land in Durham, Maine. With CTFWC as the long-term land steward, this beautiful forest land will be activated into a space for community and cultural connections, ecological forestry, outdoor recreation and education, wellness, and social change.
Founded in 2015, Celebration Tree Farm & Wellness Center is a multi-stakeholder cooperative run by community-owners and worker-owners who benefit from the forest, the land, the barn, the garden, and the shared infrastructure. The farm provides MOFGA-certified celebration (Christmas) trees, grown with carbon-sequestering practices of ecological forestry, and offers yoga, reiki, farm stays and educational workshops to the community. We are excited to watch CTFWC grow its new “Community Supported Forest” program and to support this work in coming years!
The Bigger Picture: Land Gathering & Redistribution
Our land commoning work has two sides: the gathering of land, and the redistribution of its use and care.
Land Gathering. We see a number of key pathways to gathering land into the commons:
- Direct land gifts. A land-owner gifts land or wills land to Land in Common. This might include transfer of land during the lifetime of an elder, with a CLT ground lease to secure their long-term residency.
- Land purchases. We recognize that purchasing land will be especially necessary in cases where people rely on the value of this land for later-life security. We are particularly interested in scaling-up our existing Community Financing program to generate grassroots funding for the purchase of land.
- Land-seeking Collaborations. We are excited to partner with people or groups seeking land, and to leverage our skills and resources to support this process—bringing new land into the commons in alliance with those who will then become its long-term residents and stewards.
- Land Shifts. We also welcome land transfers from existing landowners who are rooted on their land and want to be direct participants in Land in Common—enacting alternatives to private land ownership in their own lives and places. Such collaborations can also serve to build new forms of community and collective support for individual land projects while growing the strength of Land in Common’s base.
Land Redistribution. Land in Common’s goal is to redistribute the long-term use of its common lands in ways that support sustainable land-based livelihood, care for more-than-human wild communities, wider movements for justice and liberation, and secure land access for people and communities that have been directly impacted by colonialism, white supremacy, and class inequality. Our success in this work depends, ultimately, on shifting from a predominately white organization to one that is led by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color) and other front-line community members. This is a current core focus of our internal organizational work.