Vermont Land Trust Seeks to Expand Ownership of BIPOC Farmland in Vermont

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Of Vermont’s nearly 7,000 farms, only 17 are black-owned, according to the 2017 U.S. Agricultural Census. A $ 2 million fund seeks to expand access to agricultural land ownership in Vermont for those who live. are always refused land because of their race.

The design and governance of this “land sovereignty” fund will be determined by Blacks, Aboriginals and other people of color. It is part of a larger $ 6 million initiative by the High Meadows Fund, the Vermont Community Foundation and the Vermont Land Trust to promote the economic viability, sustainability and diversity of agriculture in Vermont.

“The historic Clemmons Farm is one of the few black-owned farms remaining in the state and the nation. We look forward to joining others in supporting the important work ahead,” said Lydia Clemmons , executive director of the Clemmons family farm in Charlotte. .

The Vermont Land Trust permanently restricts development of land using a legal tool called a conservation easement. Since 1977, they have retained 11% of the state’s land, over 590,000 acres, most of which is actively cultivated or managed for timber by private owners.

Nationally, black land ownership has shrunk by nearly 90% over the past century, resulting in a total loss of 36.7 million acres, according to Census of Agriculture data. Surveys by Mother Jones and The Atlantic attribute the decline to racist government policies, discriminatory lending practices, white vigilantism and police violence.

Mighty Food Farm participated in the Vermont Land Trust's Farmland Access Program, where retired farmers are connected with new land buyers.

Indigenous peoples have lost 1.5 billion acres of land since the founding of the United States, according to University of Georgia historian Claudio Saunt.

“Indigenous communities, once the sole stewards of Vermont’s land, have been diminished and marginalized by centuries of displacement and discrimination, including the eugenics movement in Vermont in the early 20th century,” the High Meadows Fund wrote in a press release about the new grant. .

Contact April Fisher at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @AMFisherMedia


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