A project of the Detroit Food Policy Council

Community Land Trusts

In recent years, community land trusts (CLTs) have come to take on three main roles in support of urban agriculture. First, some CLTs formed to support affordable housing have come to hold land for community gardens and urban farms. Second, some of these housing-focused CLTs have provided programmatic support for urban agriculture, other than taking on ownership of land. And, third, a few organizations have been founded as community land trusts that are exclusively focused on urban agriculture, adapting some of the techniques for community-focused governance from the CLT model developed in housing.


The Land Alliance, as part of its new Center for CLT Innovation program, has developed this resource page to provide a variety of tools that will be helpful in implementing CLT-based approaches to urban farming — as well as to anyone interested in securing long-term land tenure for urban agriculture.


How CLTs Secure & Protect Land

Strengthening security of land tenure is a core focus of community land trusts. CLTs have utilized diverse tenure arrangements to carry out their role in procuring and securing land, including fee simple ownership, ground leases, deed restrictions, and easements. These arrangements are not mutually exclusive, and an organization can employ multiple techniques within and across projects. The Summary Table presents the tenure arrangements utilized by various CLTs and summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

These concepts were developed by Greg Rosenberg and Jeffrey Yuen as part of a Working Paper for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy entitled “Beyond Housing: Urban Agriculture and Commercial Development by Community Land Trusts“.  The following excerpts appear on the www.urbanagland.com website:

Amy Kuras