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

Agri-Cultura Network

A community driven model building New Mexico’s small farming economy, promoting nutrition and economic development through traditional and innovative agricultural practices.

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Agriculture and Land–Based Training Association

Creating opportunities for low-income field laborers through land-based training in organic farm management.

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Anishinaabe Agriculture Institute

Focused on the resurgence of Indigenous agriculture and the renaissance of hemp, centering Anishinaabe culture, farming, Horse Nation, and a Just Transition.

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Black Farmer Fund

Creating a thriving, resilient, and equitable food system by investing in black food systems entrepreneurs and communities in New York.

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Black Land and Power

A coalition aimed at developing Black leadership, supporting Black communities, organizing Black self-determination, and building institutions for Black food sovereignty & liberation.

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California Tribal Fund

Supporting California-Native-led nonprofits and tribal programs in controlling and protecting their food systems, water, languages, traditional ecological knowledge, and land.

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Dream of Wild Health

Restoring health and well–being in the Native community by recovering knowledge of and access to healthy Indigenous foods, medicines and lifeways.

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EARTHseed Farm

Operated and rooted in Afro Indigenous permaculture principles and built on the long legacy of earth wisdom traditions of people of African descent.

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Federation of Southern Coops

A non-profit cooperative association of Black farmers, landowners, and cooperatives, developing cooperatives and credit unions as a means for people to enhance the quality of their lives and improve their communities.

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Heron Shadow

A Native place of refuge and learning for community engagement, connection to the land, growing Indigenous foods, and nourishing Indigenous and intercultural relations.

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Hui Mālama i ke Ala ʻŪlili

Re-establishing systems that sustain community through educational initiatives and land-based practices that cultivate abundance and promote collective health and well-being.

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ʻĀina Momona

A native Hawaiian nonprofit dedicated to achieving environmental health and sustainability through restoring social justice and de-occupying Hawaiian lands.

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Jubilee Justice / Potlikker Capital

Supporting Black farming communities through new models of regenerative farming, cooperative ownership and access to new markets.

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Land Loss Prevention Project

Curtailing epidemic losses of Black owned land in North Carolina, by providing legal support and assistance to all financially distressed and limited resource farmers and landowners.

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Minnow

Focusing on agricultural and racial justice through collective land stewardship to help build a more cohesive and complete coalition for justice, nationally and globally.

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The Fields at RootSprings

Providing 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.

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Urban Tilth

Creating a space in the heart of the most impacted neighborhood in Richmond, California, where children, youth, and adults can deeply engage with nature.

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Wolakota

A project of the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation, reconnecting bison to the land and people of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate.

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Resources

Learning and Reflection

  • Losing Ground: Farmland Consolidation and Threats to New and Black Farmers and the Future of Farming
  • Native Land Digital: which strives to map Indigenous lands in a way that changes, challenges, and improves the way people see the history of their countries and peoples.

Taking Action

Stories from the Field

Ka Maha ʻUlu o Koholālele – The Breadfruit Grove of Koholālele

A community-led food system project transforming approximately 80 acres of former sugar plantation and current eucalyptus plantation lands in Koholālele, Hāmākua, Hawaiʻi, into Hawaiʻi’s largest regenerative ʻulu (breadfruit) agroforestry system.

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Black Farmer Fund’s Pilot Phase

What does it look like for 12 Black food actors to come together at the table (or in this case, zoom!) and make decisions around funding that would significantly impact the future of 8 food businesses in NY? What does it mean for an institution to invest, with the criteria for being funded centered on environmental impact, community well-being, and economic justice? How can honoring the realities that entrepreneurs face by involving them in the underwriting process mean for the impact of investment? Black Farmer Fund, an emerging community-governed investment fund, explored these questions through their recent pilot phase.

2021 was a year filled with growth, learning, deepened relationships, and most notably, our first experience redistributing capital into the hands of black agricultural businesses. We successfully raised a $1M pilot fund from individuals and institutions, and have so far deployed various combinations of integrated capital to eight transformative businesses. We are excited to share with you our 2021 Annual Report!

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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.