Land Access and Retention

“When we all love the land, we are all family.” Uncle Walter Ritte

Ceres Trust believes that right relationship between people and the land are tantamount to our ability to survive and flourish. Centuries of colonization, extraction, violence, and injustice have led to this moment of consolidated private ownership and corporate control of land. The relationship with land is systemically broken. Ceres Trust makes general support grants and investments to support land access and retention, as well as collective and cooperative stewardship, ancestral restoration and governance, and redistribution of ownership.

Keawanui Fishpond photo by M Pauole
Keawanui Fishpond in the Ka‘amola Ahupua‘a. Photo by M. Pauole

The movement toward right relationship with the land, ensuring access and retention of land under the stewardship of Indigenous People, Black farmers, small farmers, and local communities is rising, and this healing offers incredible promise toward addressing the very root causes of ecological destruction and harm to human health, grounded solutions in the knowledge, practice, and culture of people who have long called the land home.

GRANTEE PARTNERS

Agricultura Cooperative Network, doing business as Agri‑Cultura Network, provides access to local produce to promote nutrition and economic development through traditional and innovative agricultural practices, therefore furthering environmental and community stewardship to strengthen the agrarian and cultural heritage of our land and its residents. Agri‑Cultura Network is a cooperative with five South Valley member farms and many allied farms throughout New Mexico.

Agriculture and Land–Based Training Association (ALBA) creates opportunities for low-income field laborers through land-based training in organic farm management, helping them advance their careers or pursue the dream of farm ownership. ALBA’s Farmer Education and Enterprise Development (FEED) project develops the organic farming skills of immigrant farmworkers to support a more equitable and environmentally sustainable agriculture sector on the 100-acre organic farm training facility in the Salinas Valley of California. Each year, some 75 limited-resource farmers gain affordable access to education, land, farming equipment and technical assistance.

ʻĀina Momona is a native Hawaiian nonprofit dedicated to achieving environmental health and sustainability through restoring social justice and de-occupying Hawaiian lands. ʻĀina Momona stewards Keawanui Fishpond and Cultural Learning Center. Located in the Ka‘amola ahupua‘a, ʻĀina Momona manages a 55-acre ancestral Hawaiian fishpond and 8 acres of agricultural land, and is engaged in several community-led planning and restoration efforts for the entire Ka‘amola ahupua‘a on Molokai.

Anishinaabe Agriculture Institute is focused on the resurgence of Indigenous agriculture and the renaissance of hemp, centering Anishinaabe culture, farming, Horse Nation, and a Just Transition. The focus of the New Green Revolution work is the expansion of Hemp growth, as well as the byproducts of this hemp across the region.The Anishinaabe Agriculture Institute collaborates with partner, Akiing, collaborating with hemp to reinvigorate the local agriculture and economy and build a more environmentally friendly future. Anishinaabe Agriculture Institute builds value-added economic opportunities for tribal farmers engaged in hemp farming, through technical, financial and marketing support while creating intertribal hemp collaborative initiatives.

Black Farmer Fund (BFF) is a community investment fund that invests in Black food systems entrepreneurs in New York State. As part of the investment process, BFF emphasizes financial education, collective governance and decision-making, and supporting the whole individual and whole community towards community wealth-building and a sustainable future. BFF defines wealth beyond financial and intellectual capital to include social capital and ancestral wisdom, to mitigate against climate change, exercise governance, strengthen solidarity, and preserve cultural and ancestral ways of being.

The Black Land and Power coalition, coordinated by the National Black Food and Justice Alliance, is a strategic alignment of Black land institutions and organizations around the U.S. working to deepen collective strategy towards regional and national Black land retention, protection and recovery.

The California Tribal Fund was created to support California-based, California-Native-led nonprofits and tribal programs in controlling and protecting their food systems, water, languages, traditional ecological knowledge, and land.

In partnership, Dream of Wild Health restores health and well–being in the Native community by recovering knowledge of and access to healthy Indigenous foods, medicines and lifeways. Dream of Wild Health stewards a 30–acre farm in Hugo, Minnesota as a sacred space, and is currently expanding to steward an additional 20 acres. The vision is a modern system of food sovereignty and security that allows Native people to re-connect to lifeways through food and the activities, ceremonies, and rhythms that surround the food seasons. Ancestral seeds form the foundation of this vision.

Established in March 2021, EARTHseed Farm is a 14-acre solar-powered organic farm and orchard located in scenic Sonoma County, California. The farm is operated and rooted in Afro Indigenous permaculture principles and built on the long legacy of earth wisdom traditions of people of African descent.  EARTHSeed’s mission is to employ restorative practices that support all humans to live in the right relationship with our Earth, while healing generations of historic harms.

Federation of Southern Coops is a non-profit cooperative association of Black farmers, landowners, and cooperatives. The Federation develops cooperatives and credit unions as a means for people to enhance the quality of their lives and improve their communities; saves, protects and expands the landholdings of Black family farmers in the South; runs a Rural Training and Research Center to provide information, skills, and awareness, in a cultural context, to help members and constituents build strong rural communities; Develops, advocates and supports public policies to benefit their membership of Black and other family farmers; and the low-income rural communities where they live.

Heron Shadow is a Native place of refuge and learning for community engagement, connection to the land, growing Indigenous foods, and nourishing Indigenous and intercultural relations. After 35 years of growing our organization and implementing our mission to protect and revitalize the sacred relationship Native peoples have with ancestral lands, we now have purchased 7.6 acres of land in Sonoma County, on the ancestral lands of the Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo Peoples of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

Hui Mālama i ke Ala ʻŪlili is a community-based nonprofit organization with a mission to re-establish the systems that sustain community through educational initiatives and land-based practices that cultivate abundance, regenerate responsibilities, and promote collective health and well-being. The founding of Hui Mālama i ke Ala ‘Ūlili (huiMAU)’s programs are direct results of explicit intentions to cultivate healing and social transformation in Hāmākua by re-birthing interdependent relationships with ‘āina and with each other—relationships that were disfigured by the rise and fall of the plantation economy in the past four generations. huiMAU approaches these challenges and opportunities by drawing upon models of regeneration and abundance in the natural world around us. Kīpuka, or forest oases, in the vast landscape of Pele’s domain, provide us with a glimpse into the landscape’s past. These kīpuka hold the seeds of potential for the regeneration and regrowth of the surrounding landscape. Just as there are kīpuka on the volcanic landscape, natural and cultural kīpuka—called kīpuka aloha ʻāina—have persisted in Hāmākua Hikina as well. Two kipuka aloha ʻāina that huiMAU is currently caring for and actively cultivates are in the ahupua‘a of Koholālele and Paʻauilo, Hāmākua.

Jubilee Justice supports Black farming communities through new models of regenerative farming, cooperative ownership and access to new markets. In conjunction with our supporting organization, Potlikker Capital, Jubilee Justice supplies reparative capital and legal services.

Land Loss Prevention Project was founded to curtail epidemic losses of Black owned land in North Carolina. Land Loss Prevention Project provides legal support and assistance to all financially distressed and limited resource farmers and landowners in North Carolina, Their advocacy for financially distressed and limited resource farmers involves action in three separate arenas: litigation, public policy, and promoting sustainable agriculture and environment.

Minnow is part of a social justice movement that will create a world in which everyone experiences belonging. Belonging involves feeling valued, having power, and being care for by others and the earth, and the reciprocal actions. The outcome can only be achieved through collective effort and societal transformation. In the context of the United States, social justice organizing and agriculture have been disconnected from each other. But with secure attachment to healthy land and the food it offers, no one will be free and no social movement will succeed. With a focus on agricultural and racial justice through collective land stewardship, Minnow helps build a more cohesive and complete coalition for justice, nationally, and globally.

Wolakota is a project of the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), which is the wholly owned economic development arm of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.  As Lakota, those at Wolakota believe we are all related and it is our duty to create a better world for future generations. At Wolakota, they do this by reconnecting bison to the land and people of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate.

The Fields at RootSprings provides land-based programs for the healing, development and community well-building of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists, activists, healers and communities in Minnesota. Formed in 2020, Rootsprings Cooperative is a Black-led cooperative that consists of six BIPOC lesbian worker-owners (67% Black) with more than 100 years of experience in organizing in economic, food, environmental, cultural and healing justice spaces. A hybrid between a worker cooperative and a limited-equity housing cooperative, Rootsprings Coop signed the purchase agreement for the 36-acre farmland in February 2021, officially taking the land off the speculative market; transitioning ownership from a white couple to collective BIPOC stewardship; and renaming it from Wellspring to Rootsprings. Rootsprings upholds the cooperative values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, solidarity, accountability,and transparency. Fields Learning and Retreat Center (known as the Fields) is the Black-led 501(c)(3) partner organization that designs and facilitates programming and access to the land for the local BIPOC organizing community.

Urban Tilth inspires, hires, and trains local residents to cultivate agriculture, feed our community, and restore relationships to land to build a more sustainable food system, within a just and healthier community.  The North Richmond Farm will be an Agricultural Park and Riparian Restoration Learning Center with the mission of creating a space in the heart of the most impacted neighborhood in Richmond where children, youth, and adults can deeply engage with nature.

Central Valley Agroecology: Local environmental justice organizers, community-based agroecology advocates and Indigenous land stewards have come together to imagine and co-create spaces for environmental and cultural healing as well as agroecological experimentation and production in the Central Valley. A collaboration of the Wukchumni Tribe, Central California Environmental Justice Network, Foodlink for Tulare County, Community Alliance for Agroecology, El Quinto Sol de America, Quaker Oaks Farm, Central Valley Partnership & Jeannette Acosta, Indigenous Permaculture specialist & certified permaculture instructor.

Watsonville Land Project connects diversified, organic, Latino immigrant owned farms stewarding the land, investing in soil health, gaining economic opportunity and thriving livelihoods

Resources

Give Shuumi:

  • Ceres Trust staff office and live on the unceded land of the Lisjan Ohlone people, who we recognize as the past, present and future stewards of this land. 
  • For non-Indigenous people who live, work and play on this land, we invite you to pay the Shuumi Land Tax, a voluntary annual contribution to support the critical work of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust to return Indigenous land to Indigenous people. 

Learn more about the Lisjan Ohlone here, and/or learn more about the Indigenous land you occupy at native-land.ca.