Our Work to Date
In our first ten years (2008-2018), operating on an all-volunteer basis as the Clark Mountain Community Land Trust, we worked to protect our original parcel of land in Greene, ME, to build our skills and core organizational structures, and to explore possibilities for wider collaboration. Specifically, our work during this time included:
- Purchase of 30 acres of farmland in Greene and the development of a 99-year Ground Lease for this land to the Wild Mountain Cooperative (formerly JED Collective). At this time, we also secured the protection of an additional 60+ acres of wild forest land via deed-restricting Conservation Agreements with the original landowner.
- Developed an innovative Community Financing Program through which to make this purchase, involving 18 grassroots lenders ($30,000 in donations raised for a down payment, plus lenders providing the remaining $170,000 for the purchase).
- Acquired, by gift, an additional 172 acres of wild forest land in Greene, completing the protection of the entire watershed of the 30-acre undeveloped Berry Pond.
- Merged with Clark Mountain Sanctuary, another local 501(c)(3) conservation organization, acquiring an additional 49 acres of land adjacent to the original property, also leased to Wild Mountain Cooperative.
- Leveraged funds from our Community Financing Program to offer a land-saving loan to a low-income, long-time homesteading family in Appleton, Maine.
- Collaborated with a grassroots community effort in Blue Hill, ME, in an attempt to keep an elderly, low-income woman in her family home through purchase of the property. While this project did not lead to property acquisition, we were able to support this elder’s transition to a new home and build experience with on-the-ground organizing around land and housing in rural Maine, including the passing of a successful resolution through the Blue Hill town meeting.
- Explored a number of other possible land acquisitions, each of which taught us important things about the complexities of this work. These pursuits led us to develop a detailed “project intake” process through which to evaluate the feasibility of projects prior to their pursuit.
- Worked in broad coalition to help organize a Lewiston/Auburn Farmland Access Conference that brought together more than 100 landowners, farm seekers, and service providers in Androscoggin County.
In late 2018, after an extensive strategic visioning process, we changed our name to Land in Common and launched a new phase of work. Since then, we have:
- Created our first staff position (Organizational Development Coordinator) and hired Ethan Miller in April 2019 to begin building relationships with allies and collaborators across the state, to pursue strategic priority projects, and to anchor the process of program and capacity development as we launch into our next phase of work.
- Held one-on-one conversations with more than 35 organizers and organizations around the state, making strong connections and exploring possibilities for collaboration. This work continues.
- Tabled, for the first time, at the Common Ground Country Fair, where we connected with over 100 people interested in staying connected and involved with our work.
- Grown our active membership, within two months of launching the campaign, from 6 people to nearly 40 people, and held our first truly public Annual General Meeting.
- Added 3 fantastic people to our Board of Directors, growing it from 5 to 8 members.
- Engaged in ongoing outreach and community education in the form of talks and presentations around the state, including a workshop in Dover-Foxcroft called “Protecting Maine’s Homesteads for a Just and Sustainable Future,” co-organized with Friends of the Piscataquis Valley.
- Organized a plenary conversation and workshop on land justice at the 5th Annual Maine Farmland Access and Transfer Conference—a powerful and generative event bringing together four inspiring organizers from Native, Latinx, African American, and white working class communities to envision what land justice can and should look like in Maine.
We are proud of this work and excited to build on it in the coming years. See our current priorities here.