GPCLT is currently looking for a small piece of agricultural property that we can develop into a multi-unit, community farmstead for local farmworkers and their families.
While southern Maine includes a multitude of both conservation land trusts and affordable housing providers, GPCLT is the first group in our area working to organize a hybrid of the two – a “community land trust,” or CLT.
We would like to see Maine join the multitude of other American farming communities that are increasingly investing resources in developing CLTs as a means of providing low cost housing and infrastructure for agricultural endeavors, most notably in areas where the cost of farmland is extremely high such as New England, the Hudson River Valley, the San Fransisco Bay Area and Coastal Oregon and Washington.
Over the last couple years, as we have attended conferences, read countless articles and books and spoken with Maine farmers of all ages, we’ve come to believe that the biggest obstacle impeding small farming in Maine is the lack of energy efficient, low cost housing for farmworkers and their families.
Although the CLT model is frequently used in urban areas to stabilize and revive blighted neighborhoods, we believe that the CLT model offers a powerful solution to this dire housing shortage currently facing Maine’s small farmers and agricultural communities.
Our goal is to collaborate closely with a local community conservation trust that’s interested in working with us to facilitate a participatory design process that engages a wide variety of stakeholders in determining the project’s outcomes.
This work is important. If a farming venture is to be successful, the people working on it need decent places to call home where they can afford to live. Without somewhere good to live, making a good life as a farmer becomes exponentially harder.
As Maine’s economy becomes increasingly harsh and unstable, our dream is that GPCLT will play a key role in creating the kind of housing that can make it possible for people to choose a sustainable way of life as part of an active farming community.