New Communities Land Trust was created as a safe haven for African-American farmers during the civil rights movement in 1969, and the model has led to more than 225 community land trusts across the country today. New Communities introduced the idea of shared land stewardship, and borrowed money to buy land primed for growing food and raising animals. Around ten families had long-term renewable leases to live in houses on the land, in addition to several others employed through the land, and to control the farm, education, health and industry.

“You know when you’re talking about land for African-Americans, for anybody, land is power,” Bummi Anderson says. “Land is equity. Land is wealth.”

Shirley Sherrod is co-founder of the New Communities Land Trust. Photo courtesy of Debbie Elliott/NPR.
Shirley Sherrod is co-founder of the New Communities Land Trust. Photo courtesy of Debbie Elliott/NPR.

Today, New Communities works to support rural African American landowners to ensure they profit from farming. New Communities serves as a successful model for solving affordable housing shortages through permanent land ownership, and has inspired many community land trusts across the country including ULC;s CLT, which we have used more than ten years. Click here to learn more about New Communities Land Trust.