Roots and Branches
Roots & Branches: A Gardener's Guide to the Origins and Evolution of the Community Land Trust is a digital archive of historical materials tracing the origins and evolution of the community land trust. Roots & Branches was developed by John Emmeus Davis, Greg Rosenberg, and artist Bonnie Acker to preserve essential pieces of the CLT movement’s history. Though it has now entered archival status as a project, it remains the most complete history of the beginnings of the CLT movement. We've included links to key sections of below to make it easy to access the website. As a companion to this website, John has written Origins and Evolution of the Community Land Trust in the U.S. (download PDF).
Seeding the First CLTs
When Bob Swann, Shimon Gottschalk, Erick Hansch, and Ted Webster published The Community Land Trust: A Guide to a New Model for Land Tenure in America, they described the CLT as “a somewhat hypothetical model which as of this writing exists only in the form of various prototypes.”
The community land trust draws heavily from concepts and experiments with ground leasing from outside the United States. These “imported seeds” directly influenced the thinking and tinkering of Americans who created precursors and prototypes that laid the foundation for the first CLTs.
Unconventional ideas and intentional communities native to the United States did as much to seed and to shape the modern CLT as ideas imported from abroad. Even before there was a United States, Native Americans believed that land was a resource that was given by God to all, not “property” to bought and sold.