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Growing Opportunities: Artful Acres Community Land Trust

June 28, 2010

Artful Acres: self-sufficient energy and potato production.

Riding south-east in New Brunswick, from Grand Falls towards Wooodstock, we stopped in the rural town of Knowlsville, where we stayed with Tegan and Leland of Artful AcresLocated right next door to The Falls Brook Centre, a sustainable community demonstration and training centre, Artful Acres is an inspiring homestead with a bold vision.

In the last few years Tegan and Leland have built a three-story load bearing timberframe-strawbale house powered with renewable energy, have started an educational Nature Centre, are raising three kids, operate a store for local goods, and as if that wasnt enough, are working towards creating a community land trust.

According to the E. F. Schumacher Society, ”A Community Land Trust (CLT) is a form of common land ownership with a charter based on the principles of sustainable and ecologically-sound stewardship and use. The land in a CLT is held in trust by a democratically-governed non-profit corporation. Through an inheritable and renewable long-term lease, the trust removes land from the speculative market and facilitates multiple uses such as affordable housing, village improvement, commercial space, agriculture, recreation, and open space preservation.  Individual leaseholders own the buildings and other improvements on the land created by their labor and investment, but do not own the land itself.  Resale agreements on the buildings ensure that the land value of a site is not included in future sales, but rather held in perpetuity on behalf of the regional community.

Clearing land for gardening: using a tractor attached via a long cable to an old-school cultivator (to avoid soil compaction), Jordan and Alex tear up couch-grass roots (right), Vanessa and Tegan remove loosened weeds by hand. In the background is a yurt used as part of the educational center.

Tegan and Leland envision as many as 40 dwellings situated on 1-2 acres each. They have already purchased 49 acres which they intend to turn over to the future land trust.  They are interested in finding others who share their values and vision to come build and settle with them.

The Community Land Trust is an interesting model for new or landless farmers.  It has the potential to make land more affordable, both by enabling people to pool resources in order to purchase land as well as by removing land from the speculative real estate market.   The model is one we definitely will look into further. According to Tegan and Leland the Schumacher Society is a great starting point to learn more and includes an online CLT handbook.

by Alex

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Trisha Estabrooks permalink
    July 14, 2010 7:37 pm

    Inspiring indeed. Great post, thanks.
    Really like the photo of the glare off the solar panel…well captured.


  1. Growing Opportunities: Tatamagouche Community Land Trust « Seeking Farmland

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