History of the Community Land Trust Movement

The International Center for Community Land Trusts has constructed a Timeline tracing the intellectual and political pedigree of the international community land trust movement. The modern CLT is derived from New Communities Inc., a prototype pioneered in the 1970s by African-American civil rights activists in the United States, but that “first CLT” was itself a product of seminal ideas, social experiments, and political struggles that preceded it by many years. This Timeline denotes major milestones in the CLT’s development, honoring thinkers, activists, publications, and precedents from around the world that contributed to the creation of New Communities – while highlighting key events that came after, seeding the growth of a global CLT movement.  Additions will regularly be made to the Timeline as new historical information comes to light and as practitioners write new chapters in the unfolding story of the CLT.

Land Tenure in the Ancient World

In ancient India, as in much of the world, land was seen and used as a common heritage, a gift from nature to all inhabitants of the earth. References to land tenure in the Vedic texts, the foundation of Hindu spirituality, prohibit the deeding of land. In the early Judeo-Christian tradition, land is similarly viewed as a shared inheritance of humankind, not as a private commodity. In Leviticus 25:23, God is reported is to say: “The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me.”

Roman Empire

As the Roman empire spreads through much of the world (509 BC - 395 AD), thousands of captured hectares are awarded by the Emperor to favored individuals, laying the legal foundation for the private titling of land across Europe and England. Beyond the empire’s political and cultural reach, however, collective landholding remains widespread. Individuals continue to occupy and to use land-based resources not as personal property, but as usufructs.

Pre-Columbian Americas

Prior to the arrival of European conquistadores and immigrants, possession of land for personal use can be found among some Indigenous Peoples of North America, South America, and the Caribbean, especially where farming is prevalent. Even here, however, most of the lands, forests, and waters surrounding tribal settlements are treated as commons. Among nomadic tribes, including those ranging across the Great Plains of North America, private ownership of land is a foreign concept.  Native American lands are not owned by individuals. They cannot be sold by a tribal chief. They belong to the whole community.


Fifty acres in Boston are reserved for the common use of the townspeople. Boston Common, the oldest city park in North America, is adopted as a model by other colonial settlements that also set aside lands for collective use by all residents. 


John Locke publishes the Second Treatise on Government. The chapter “On Property” provides an influential, moral justification for enclosing and converting the commons into separate parcels of land that are owned and used exclusively as private property. Often overlooked, however, is the caveat that private ownership of land is justified only if other people are not harmed (“Lockean proviso”). 


Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Writes in his Discourse on Inequality: "You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one.”


The US and Spain sign the Treaty of San Lorenzo, carving up much of the continent between them. What follows is a century of serial catastrophes for Native Americans as their land is taken piece by piece.


Thomas PainePublication of Agrarian Justice by Thomas Paine arguing that only structural improvements should be treated as individual property, not land.


The Indian Removal Act of 1830 is enacted by the U.S. Congress, giving Presidents Jackson and Van Buren authority to forcibly relocate Native American tribes in the east – including the Seminole, Choctaw, Cherokee, and Chickasaw – to reservations west of the Mississippi.


Birth of Henry George in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers is founded in Rochdale, England. The seven principles adopted by the Rochdale Pioneers form the basis of the modern cooperative movement.


John Stuart Mills publishes Principles of Political Economy. He coins the phrase “unearned increment” to describe the appreciated value in land that occurs as a result of development of society. Fifty years later, this concept becomes the foundation and justification for Henry George’s “single tax,” a mechanism for reclaiming gains in land value that were created by the community in order to benefit the community.


Ebenezer Howard is born in London.


The Morrill Act is passed by the U.S. government, granting millions of acres of federally-owned land to states for the creation and expansion of educational institutions. The acreage bestowed upon these “land-grant colleges” is taken by the federal government from approximately 250 Native American tribes, bands, and communities.


Karl Marx publishes an essay calling for the nationalization of the land, while opposing the leasing of small plots to cooperatives and individuals. This contradictory position later proves problematic for left-leaning advocates of Garden Cities, ground leasing, and housing cooperatives. 


Birth of Mohandas K. Gandhi.


Ebenezer Howard emigrates with two friends to America at the age of 21, trying his hand at farming in Nebraska.


Arthur E. Morgan is born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Family soon moves to St. Cloud, Minnesota.



1879: Progress & PovertyPublication of Progress and Poverty by Henry George.


Henry George delivers a series of public lectures in Ireland and England.


Publication of Henry George’s Social Problems.


  • Chief CrowfootChief Crowfoot (1830 - 1890), leader of the Blackfeet First Nation during European settlement of the Canadian West, gives a famous speech in 1885 contrasting his people’s attitude toward land tenure with that of the White settlers: “We cannot sell the lives of men and animals; therefore, we cannot sell this land.  It was put here for us by the Great Spirit and we cannot sell it because it does not belong to us.  . . .  As a present to you, we will give you anything we have that you can take with you, but the land, never.”
  • Russian author, Leo Tolstoy, publishes “How Much Land Does a Man Need,” arguing against the private ownership of land.”


  • Henry George campaigns for mayor of New York City as the candidate of the United Labor Party.
  • 1886: Henry George and the DragonPublication of George’s Protection or Free Trade.
  • Birth of Ralph Borsodi.


Passage of the Dawes Act, authorizing U.S. Presidents to take land away from Indian tribes by granting members of the tribe individual allotments. It has the effect of reducing Native American landholdings from 147 million acres in 1887 to 55 million acres by 1934.


  • 1890 : Henry George in AustraliaHenry George brings his single tax message to Australia and New Zealand.
  • Theodor Hertzka, an Austrian economist, publishes Freeland: A Social Anticipation, presenting the framework for an economic association established on ownerless land. It is one of the theoretical foundations for the kibbutzim, later established in Israel.


Fairhope LogoFairhope Single Tax Colony is founded in Alabama.


Birth of Vinoba Bhave.


Leon Walras, a French economist, publishes Studies of Applied Political Economy: Theory of Social Wealth Production. He advocates for the nationalization and leasing of land, with proceeds from the latter used to finance public services.


Henry George is persuaded to run a second time for mayor of New York City, opposing Tammany Hall as a candidate of the city’s labor organizations. Four days before the election he dies from a stroke on October 29th.


Garden Cities of To-morrowPublication of To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform by Ebenezer Howard later reissued as Garden Cities of Tomorrow.


Ebenezer Howard founds the Garden Cities Association, today known as the Town and Country Planning Association.


  • Single tax colony is founded in Arden, Delaware.
  • Birth of Mildred Jensen Loomis (January 5, 1900) on a farm near Blair, Nebraska. In the 1930s, she worked with Ralph Borsodi in establishing the School of Living. From 1943 – 1985, she served as the School’s director and the editor of its magazine, Green Revolution.


Zionists influenced by Henry George establish the Jewish National Fund in Palestine.


Ebenezer Howard’s 1898 book is revised and reissued under a new title, Garden Cities of To-Morrow.


Founding of the first Garden City in England, Letchworth.


  • In March, Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin are appointed consulting architects to oversee the design and development of Letchworth.
  • 1904: MonopolyLizzie Maggie receives a U.S. patent for a new board game, designed to teach the anti-landlord, anti-speculation ideas of Henry George. After it is sold to Parker Bros., Maggie’s game is transformed into the land-grab game of Monopoly.


  • Rudolph Eberstadt, German economist and urban planner, publishes Speculation in Modern Urban Development, pointing to land speculation as the cause of rising rents.
  • Karl von Mangoldt, German housing reformer, publishes The Urban Land Question examining the role of land speculation in the expansion of German cities and calling for socialization of the land.


Winston Churchill, speaking in Edinburgh on July 17, declares: “Land monopoly is not the only monopoly which exists, but it is by far the greatest of monopolies – it is a perpetual monopoly, and it is the mother of all other forms of monopoly.”


Emiliano Zapata and Francisco “Pancho” Villa lead the Mexican Revolution. Under the slogan of “Land and Freedom,” the Zapatistas propose indigenous collective ownership and libertarian socialism.


Ebenezer Howard moves into a limited equity housing cooperative in Letchworth, known as Homesgarth.


Founding of Canberra, capital city of Australia. Located on land owned by and leased from the Australian Capital Territory, Canberra’s tenure and design were influenced by the ideas of Henry George and Ebenezer Howard.


Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution legalizes communal property, stating that: “co-owners, rancherías, settlements, congregations, tribes and other settlement organizations that in fact or by law were maintained in a communal state shall have ability to enjoy in common the lands, forests and waters that belong to them.”


  • Map of Welyn, EnglandFounding of the second Garden City in England, Welwyn.
  • R.H. Tawney publishes The Acquisitive Society, drawing a practical and moral distinction between “passive property” and “active property.”
  • Arthur E. Morgan is appointed president of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, a position he retains until 1936.
  • The Reich Homestead Act is passed in Germany, making it possible for disadvantaged families to buy communal land on which to build homes. It also provides protection against foreclosure and certain sales restrictions. 


Nahalal, the first cooperative agricultural settlement organized along lines of a moshav, is established in the Jezreel Valley in Palestine.


Thorstein VeblenPublication of Absentee Ownership and Business Enterprise in Recent Times: The Case of America in which Thorstein Veblen declares that land speculation, not baseball, is the “Great American Game.”


Sunnyside Gardens is developed as a planned community on Garden City principles in Queens, New York.


  • National Biscuit CompanyNational Biscuit Company (Nabisco) starts production of shredded wheat at its new factory on leased land in Welwyn Garden City, employing 100 workers.
  • Establishment of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation to promote public awareness of the social philosophy and economic reforms advocated by Henry George.


Ebenezer Howard dies at the age of 78.


  • Publication of This Ugly Civilization by Ralph Borsodi, decrying land speculation and suggesting that land should be treated as a “trust.”
  • The new town of Radburn, New Jersey is founded. Its planners – Clarence Stein, Henry Wright, and Marjorie Sewell Cautley – incorporate Garden City principles into Radburn’s design.


Tennessee Valley AuthorityNorris, Tennessee is developed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to house workers building Norris Dam on the Clinch River. The city’s design – and its leasehold form of landownership – is based on Howard’s Garden Cities.


Ejido system is introduced as an important component of land reform in Mexico. (An ejido is an area of communal land in which community members have a durable right to use and to occupy land – a usufruct that may be bequeathed to their heirs.)


Development begins on three new towns under the direction of Rexford Guy Tugwell, head of the U.S. Resettlement Administration. Designed along lines of the Garden Cities in England, three “greenbelt towns” are eventually built: Greendale, Wisconsin; Greenbelt, Maryland; and Greenhills, Ohio.


Ralph BorsodiRalph Borsodi establishes a leased-land community and folk school in Suffern, New York which he names the School of Living.


The National Sharecroppers Fund is created by the National Tenant Farmers Union to publicize the plight of sharecroppers and to push for legislation aiding agricultural workers.


Arthur Morgan sends his son, Griscom, to western North Carolina to look for land. Using money from a Chicago philanthropist, he is able to purchase 1200 acres in a mountain valley 40 miles north of Ashville.


Celo is established by Arthur E. Morgan in western North Carolina, a leased-land community that eventually grows to 40 homesteads.


  • Bryn GweledBryn Gweled, an intentional, leased-land residential community modeled on Ralph Borsodi’s School of Living, is established outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Community Service Inc. is established in Yellow Springs, Ohio by Arthur E. Morgan.
  • Mildred and John Loomis establish Lane’s End Homestead at Brookville, Ohio modeled on the School of Living, where Mildred had worked for the previous two years.
  • Vinoba Bhave is chosen by Gandhi to be the first individual Satyagrahi.
  • Arthur Morgan founds two new nonprofits in Yellow Springs, Ohio: Community Service Inc. and the Fellowship for Intentional Community.


Bayard RustinBob Swann meets Bayard Rustin, Youth Secretary for the Fellowship of Reconciliation.


  • The Small CommunityPublication of The Small Community by Arthur Morgan.
  • Six members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation organize the Committee on Racial Equality in Chicago which becomes the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).
  • Bob Swann and other Conscientious Objectors, including Bayard Rustin, are imprisoned in Ashland, Kentucky for refusing to register for the draft.
  • Clarence and Florence JordanClarence Jordan, Florence Jordan, Martin England and Mabel England purchase 440 acres of rural land in southwest Georgia, laying the foundation for Koinonia Farm.
  • Gandhi calls on the British to “quit India.”


Bob Swann takes a correspondence course offered by Community Service Inc. The course’s main text is Arthur Morgan’s The Small Community. While still in prison, Swann begins corresponding with Morgan, seeking future employment at Community Service Inc.


Bob Swann is released from prison on three years’ parole. Moving to Washington DC, he meets Marjorie Shafer who is working for the Committee for Conscientious Objectors. They marry a year later.


  • Ralph Borsodi moves the School of Living’s programs and library to the Loomis farm outside of Dayton, Ohio, when he is forced to sell the land in Suffern, New York.
  • Mildred LoomisBorsodi and Mildred Loomis begin publishing a School of Living newsletter, later named Green Revolution, which helps to spread Borsodi’s and Loomis’s ideas about decentralism.
  • Coretta Scott enrolls at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. During her two years at Antioch, before transferring to the New England Conservatory of Music, she joins the NAACP and the College’s Race Relations and Civil Rights Committee.


  • Slater KingSlater King graduates from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee with a B.A. in economics.
  • Bob Swann accepts a job at Community Service Inc. and moves his family to Yellow Springs, Ohio.
  • John C. Lincoln, a Cleveland industrialist, establishes the Lincoln Foundation in Phoenix, Arizona to support research, publication, and teaching about the work of Henry George.  Thirty years later, his son establishes the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Coretta ScottMarjorie Swann becomes friends with Coretta Scott, an undergraduate at Antioch College, through a CORE-affiliated organization in Yellow Springs.


  • Freedom RidersBayard Rustin, Wally Nelson, and Ernest Bromley join a group of 8 white men and 8 black men bussing through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky to challenge segregation in interstate travel. This “Journey of Reconciliation” was to become the model for the Freedom Rides sponsored by CORE and SNCC in 1961.
  • British rule comes to an end in India. The country is immediately partitioned into India and Pakistan.



  • Clarence Jordan’s family and other Koinonians are excommunicated from the Rehobeth Southern Baptist Church because of their publicly declared views on racial equality.
  • Peacemakers hold their first national conference at the church of Rev. Maurice McCrackin in the West End neighborhood of Cincinnati.


Vinoba Bhave leading Gramdan March in Sirsa 1960

Vinoba Bhave, the “Walking Saint of India,” persuades rich landowners to donate parcels of land to the rural poor, launching the “Land Gift” (Boodan) movement.


  • Fay Bennett joins the staff of the National Sharecroppers Fund and soon becomes its chief executive, a position she holds for the next 18 years.
  • The first Gramdan Village is created in India.


  • Vinoba Bhave in Time Magazine 1953

    Vinoba Bhave appears on the cover of May 11th issue of TIME Magazine.
  • Martin Luther King weds Coretta Scott on June 18th.


  • Vinoba Bhave converts the “Land Gift” Movement into the “Village Gift” (Gramdan) Movement, conveying donated land to village trusts that are managed for the benefit of impoverished farmers. Eventually 160,000 Gramdan villages are established throughout India.
  • U.S. Supreme Court outlaws segregation in public schools in Brown v Board of Education, overturning the doctrine of “separate but equal.”


Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama after refusing to move to the back of a city bus, sparking a year-long campaign against segregation in the city’s public transportation.


  • Koinonia Farm SignA boycott begins of Koinonia Farm by white-owned businesses, continuing until the middle of the 1960s.
  • Wally Nelson and Rev. Maurice McCrackin, two members of the Peacemakers group in Cincinnati, visit the beleaguered Koinonia Farm to offer support.
  • Koinonia’s 1956 interracial summer camp at Koinonia is blocked by a Georgia judge. Miles Horton’s son invites the camp to the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee.
  • Slater King marries Marion Townsend, after his ten-year marriage to Valencia Laverne ends in divorce.
  • Morris Milgram persuades Bob Swann to move to Philadelphia to supervise construction of Concord Park, an interracial housing development. The Swanns visit frequently at Bryn Gweled, located nearby.


  • The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is founded by Martin Luther King, Charles K. Steele, and Fred L. Shuttlesworth. King is appointed SCLC’s first president.
  • Dorothy DayDorothy Day visits Koinonia Farm for two weeks in May, followed by Wally and Juanita Nelson, who stay at Koinonia for four months. Gunfire mars both visits.
  • C.B. King, Slater King, and their wives, Carol and Marion, begin visiting Koinonia Farm for weekend dinners.
  • The Committee for Non-Violent Action (CNVA) is formed. When Clarence Jordan attends one of CNVA’s early organizational meetings, he and Bob Swann meet for the first time.
  • Friends of Koinonia is established to provide national support in the face of the continuing boycott of Koinonia’s products by local businesses.
  • At the Highlander Folk School’s 25th Anniversary, Martin Luther King is the guest speaker.  Rev. Maurice McCrackin and Conrad Brown from Koinonia are in attendance.


Rev. Maurice McCrackin invites Clarence Jordon to Cincinnati to tell the story of Koinonia Farm to his congregation in the West End. Dorothy Swisshelm, a member of McCrackin’s  church, moves to Georgia and joins Koinonia later that year.


  • Maurice McCrackinOn January 31st, Maurice McCrackin begins serving a sentence in Allenwood Federal Prison Farm for tax resistance. He receives a letter of support from Clarence Jordan.
  • Marjorie Swann is sentenced to six months in federal prison for civil disobedience at a nuclear weapons site near Omaha, Nebraska. She and her family take a six-week trip through the South after her release, visiting Celo Community and Koinonia Farm.


  • Charles Sherrod and Carl-Braden 1963While still a student at Virginia Union Seminary, Charles Sherrod is jailed in Rock Hill, South Carolina for protesting segregation.
  • Four African American students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College stage a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro. The event triggers similar nonviolent protests throughout the South.
  • 1960: SNCC logoThe Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is founded during a conference at Shaw University in North Carolina, organized by Ella Baker. Marian Berry becomes SNCC’s first chairman.
  • Bob and Marjorie Swann move to Voluntown, Connecticut, working full time as leaders and organizers for the Committee for Non-Violent Action (CNVA).
  • The Vale, an intentional community started in Yellow Springs by Griscom and Jane Morgan, is incorporated. In 1980, the land underlying the homes at The Vale is donated to the Community Service Inc. Land Trust.
  • In December, Bayard Rustin and George Willougby, national director for the Committee on Non-Violent Action, travel together to Calcutta to meet Vinoba Bhave. They spend several days with him, trekking from village to village.


  • Freedom Riders Bus Burning“Freedom Riders,” recruited by CORE and SNCC, begin bussing throughout the South to test new laws that prohibit segregation in interstate travel, including bus and railway stations.  Over 400 individuals participate in 63 separate Freedom Rides from May to December.
  • Operation Freedom is formed by members of Peacemakers and leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Included on its board are Maurice McCrackin, Ella Baker, Anne and Carl Braden, Ernest Bromley, Wally Nelson, Myles Horton, Clarence Jordan, and Conrad Brown.
  • Charles Sherrod and Cordell ReagonCharles Sherrod becomes SNCC’s first field secretary, moving to Albany, Georgia at the age of 23. He is joined by another SNCC organizer, 18-year-old Cordell Reagon.
  • Recruited and trained by Sherrod and Reagon, college students from Albany State launch a sit-in at the Albany bus terminal in November, testing the recently enacted law desegregating bus and train terminals.
  • The Albany Movement is launched on December 17th.  William G. Anderson is elected president. Slater King is elected vice president.
  • Ralph Borsodi accepts a job teaching economics at a university in India. He is exposed to – and enormously impressed by – the Gramdan Movement, which reaches its height during Borsodi’s time in India.


  • Slater King Leading Albany March

    Slater King becomes president of the Albany Movement.

  • The Albany Movement stages demonstrations downtown, pressing for the desegregation of all public facilities. Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy are invited to Albany. They join the protests and are arrested, along with more than a 1000 other African Americans.
  • Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy and Laurie PritchettC.B. King is assaulted by a county sheriff while attempting to visit one of his clients, a white civil rights protester. A photographer’s snapshot of the bloodied and bandaged attorney is picked up by the wire services and flashed around the world

  • C.B. King After AssaultBob Swann travels to Mississippi to supervise interracial crews who are rebuilding black churches that have been firebombed by racists.


  • Martin Luther King is jailed during protests in Birmingham, Alabama. He writes his seminal “Letter from Birmingham Jail” arguing that individuals have a moral duty to disobey unjust laws.
  • Nine of the Albany Movement’s leaders, including Slater King, are arrested and charged with conspiring to obstruct justice.
  • John Lewis is elected the chairman of SNCC.
  • Mississippi’s NAACP field secretary, 37-year-old Medgar Evers, is murdered on June 12th outside his home in Jackson.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. in DCIn August, 200,000 people join the March on Washington, the brainchild of Bayard Rustin. Gathering at the Lincoln Memorial, participants hear Martin Luther King deliver his speech: “I Have a Dream.”
  • 1964: Walk for Peace - A.J. Muste (left), Lyttle (center), Dave Dellinger (right)The Quebec-to-Guantanamo Peace Walk, organized by Bob Swann and his colleagues at the Committee for Non-Violent Action, reaches Albany, Georgia in December. When the marchers attempt to parade through the downtown, they are arrested by Chief Laurie Pritchett.


  • Quebec-to-Guantanamo peace marchers remain in the Albany jail through February. They are represented by C.B. King.
  • The Council of Federated Organizations, a network of civil rights groups that includes CORE and SNCC, launches a massive effort to register black voters during what becomes known as Freedom Summer.
  • Father Albert McKnightRev. Albert J. McKnight establishes the Southern Consumers Cooperative (SCC) as a mechanism for funding cooperative enterprises led by African-Americans. SCC also formed a number of subsidiaries, including a bakery (Arcadian Delight), an education arm (Southern Consumers Education Foundation), and a capital development and lending arm (People’s Enterprise).
  • On July 2nd, President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. The Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin.
  • On August 4th, the bodies of three civil-rights workers—two white, one black—are found in an earthen dam in Neshoba County, Mississippi. The murdered trio, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James E. Chaney, had been working to register black voters.
  • Charles Sherrod travels to Atlantic City in August, the site of the Democratic National Convention.  He and other SNCC leaders urge the Convention to support the petition of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to seat more African Americans at the convention.
  • C.B. KingC.B. King is unsuccessful in his bid for election to the U.S. House of Representatives, the first African American to run for Congress in Georgia since Reconstruction.


  • Bloody SundayLeaders of the SCLC and SNCC, including Martin Luther King and John Lewis, begin a 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery in support of voting rights. The marchers are stopped at the Pettus Bridge in Selma by a police blockade on March 7th. Fifty marchers are hospitalized after police use tear gas, whips, and clubs against them, an incident that is dubbed “Bloody Sunday” by the media.
  • Bob Swann takes five youngsters to visit the Highlander Center and Koinonia Farm.
  • Slater King

    Slater King writes a letter to the US Commission on Civil Rights, copied to President Lyndon B. Johnson, informing the Commission of the failure of Dougherty County and the City of Albany to hold overdue civil rights hearings and to alleviate discrimination and poverty.
  • Charles Sherrod meets Shirley Miller (Sherrod) during a voter registration meeting in Baker County.  This is four months after the murder of Shirley’s father.
  • Congress passes the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it easier for Southern blacks to register to vote. Literacy tests, poll taxes, and other such requirements that were used to restrict black voting are made illegal.
  • Ralph BorsodiRalph Bosodi returns to the United States after four years working in India. A mutual friend, F. Porter Sargent, introduces Borsodi to Bob Swann.


  • John Lewis steps down as the chairman of SNCC and is followed by Stokely Carmichael. Under Carmichael’s leadership, SNCC embraces the philosophy of black power and expels white members from the organization.
  • The PeacekeepersChuck Matthei graduates from high school in June and immediately heads for Cincinnati, meeting the Bromleys, Nelsons, and Maurice McCrackin for the first time.
  • Ralph Borsodi and Bob Swann organize a conference on “Plans for the International Independence Institute.” Attending the conference is Fay Bennett, executive secretary of the National Sharecroppers Fund.
  • Charles Sherrod and Shirley Miller are married in September.


  • Disagreeing with Stokely Carmichael’s policy of expelling whites from SNCC, Charles Sherrod resigns. He enrolls in Union Theological Seminary, from which he receives a Doctor of Divinity degree.
  • The US Commission on Civil Rights sounds the alarm about discrimination by USDA, warning there will be virtually no black-owned farms by 2000 unless something is done.
  • International Independence InstituteThe International Independence Institute is founded in Exeter, New Hampshire by Ralph Borsodi, who serves as both board chair and executive director. Two “field directors” are added to the staff: Bob Swann and Erick Hansch.
  • Borsodi and Swann travel to Luxembourg in October to found the International Foundation for Independence. Continuing on to London, they meet E.F. Schumacher.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Coretta Scott King and Arthur Morgan at Antioch CollegeCommencement at Antioch College, where Coretta Scott King receives the undergraduate degree she failed to receive in the 1940s because of the lack of an integrated public school that would allow her to do the required student teaching. Joining her at the ceremony is her husband, Martin, and the President Emeritus of Antioch College, Arthur E. Morgan.
  • Julius Nyerere, President of Tanzania, issues his Arusha Declaration, a development blueprint built around Ujamaa villages (ujamaa vijinini). These rural settlements combined communally owned and managed farmland with one-acre plots of land that were given to individuals to occupy and to till for themselves. These villages, like the Gramdan villages of India, were part of the inspiration for the early CLTs in the United States.
  • The Federation of Southern Cooperatives is founded to assist African-American farmers in marketing their products and improving economic conditions impoverished rural communities. The next year, Lewis Black, one of the Federation’s 22 incorporators, travels to Israel with Slater King and six others to learn about cooperative settlements on leased land. On their return, Black, Charles Prejean, and other Federation leaders participate in planning New Communities Inc. Shirley Sherrod later works for the Federation’s Emergency Land Fund, helping Black and White farmers to prevent the loss of their own lands.
  • Arusha Declaration issued by Julius K. Nyerere, President of Tanzania, proposing  Ujamaa (familyhood) villages and cultural organizations more in keeping with pre-colonial Indigenous culture.


  • Martin Luther King is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4th.
  • Fay Bennett joins the board of the International Independence Institute.
  • President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968 on April 11th, prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing.
  • Slater King, Bob Swann, Marion King and Fay Bennett in Israel

    Six civil rights activists from the American South – Slater & Marion King, Charles Sherrod, Albert Turner, Lewis Black, and Leonard Smith – joined by Bob Swann and Fay Bennett, travel to Israel to study land tenure practices and agricultural settlements. Despite their dismay at discovering a pattern of discrimination against Palestinian Arabs similar to what African Americans are experiencing in the USA, the delegation discovers in the moshav a model of rural development they believe might assist sharecroppers and tenant farmers in their own country.

  • Three months after the delegation returns to the US, they convene a meeting in Atlanta of civil rights organization to share what they learned in Israel and to propose a “new model of land tenure” similar to the moshav. A planning committee is formed, beginning a year-long process of drafting a blueprint for New Communities Inc.
  • Millard Fuller and Clarence Jordan

    Clarence Jordan and Millard Fuller convene a gathering in August of fifteen trusted advisers to explore a new direction for Koinonia. Bob Swann and Slater King are in attendance.  Out of this meeting, Koinonia decides to create Partnership Housing, a precursor to Habitat for Humanity.

  • On October 21st, Clarence Jordan sends a letter to Friends of Koinonia, setting forth his vision for partnership enterprises and partnership housing, the latter to be developed on leased land.
  • Borsodi’s Seventeen Universal Problems of Man and Society is published in India. It is later reprinted in Green Revolution, the journal of the School of Living.
  • Uruguay’s Housing Law of 1968 establishes a framework for producing, owning, and operating cooperative housing. Utilizing this law, Cooperativas de Vivienda por Ayuda Mutua (CVAM) eventually becomes the most widely disseminated urban model of collective land tenure and cooperatively managed housing in Latin America.


  • New Communities Inc. (NCI) is incorporated, adopting bylaws drafted by C.B. King.  NCI’s first officers are Slater King, president; Fr. Albert J. McKnight, vice president; Fay Bennett, secretary; and Leonard Smith, treasurer.
  • Charles SherrodDeath of Slater King in April, killed in an automobile accident at the age of 42.  Charles Sherrod is selected to be the new president of NCI’s board.
  • Koinonia PartnersKoinonia Farm establishes the Fund for Humanity, a nonprofit vehicle for holding land and money on behalf of enterprises supported by Koinonia Partners. The following year, title to lands at Koinonia Farm is conveyed to the Fund for Humanity.
  • Death of Clarence Jordan in October, struck down by a heart attack at the age of 57.
  • C.B. King is nominated by the state’s black leadership as Georgia’s first African American candidate for governor.  Although he does not win, his candidacy inspires large numbers of black people to register to vote.


  • New Communities Inc.New Communities Inc. purchases over 5600 acres of land near Leesburg, Georgia, the largest tract of land owned by African Americas in the United States at the time.
  • Mtamanika Youngblood comes to NCI for the first time as a summer volunteer.
  • Arthur Morgan retires from Community Service, Inc.  His son, Griscom Morgan, becomes CSI’s new executive director.


  • Southwest Georgia Organizing ProjectThe Southwest Georgia Project for Community Education is incorporated by Charles and Shirley Sherrod.
  • Lester Maddox, the segregationist Governor of Georgia, blocks federal funds committed by the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) for the development of New Communities.
  • The International Independence Institute moves to Ashby, Massachusetts. The Institute’s staff now includes Bob Swann, Erick Hansch, Ted Webster, and Shimon Gottschalk.


  • After finishing her final year in college at NYU, Mtamanika Youngblood moves to Albany and opens an African boutique named the Harambe Shop, while volunteering at New Communities and the Southwest Georgia Project.
  • The Community Land Trust: A Guide to a New Model for Land Tenure in AmericaThe International Independence Institute’s four-person staff, with editorial assistance from Marjorie Swann, produces The Community Land Trust: A Guide to a New Model for Land Tenure in America. They re-locate the organization’s offices to Cambridge Massachusetts and change III’s name to the Institute for Community Economics. Terry Mollner joins ICE’s staff later that year.
  • 1972: NCCLT Land Is Life PosterErick Hansch moves west after six years at the International Independence Institute and helps to organize the Northern California CLT.
  • Founding of the Sam Ely Community Land Trust, a statewide organization to promote CLT development in Maine. Sam Ely begins publication of a widely distributed newspaper, the Maine Land Advocate.


  • Mtamanika Youngblood is hired to work full time at New Communities as the marketing specialist, selling produce and livestock raised on the farm.
  • Marie Cirillo and NeighborsBob Swann is invited to visit East Tennessee by a group of Glenmary Home Sisters, one of whom is Marie Cirillo.
  • The first National Conference on Land Reform is held in San Francisco. Bob Swann delivers a paper on “The Community Land Trust,” differentiating CLTs from conservation land trusts.
  • Earthbridge Community Land Trust is established in Putney, Vermont. Among the founders is a local Quaker, Christel Holzer, whose 42 acres become ECLT’s first holdings. In 1992, she becomes the first shareholder in the first housing cooperative developed by the Burlington CLT.


  • Pauli Murray (board member of National Sharecroppers Fund) and Fay Bennett (Executive Director)

    Fay Bennett retires from the National Sharecroppers Fund where she has worked since 1952.
  • The Institute for Community Economics sponsors the first major speaking tour in the United States for E.F. Schumacher, soon after publication of his best-known book, Small Is Beautiful.


  • Publication of The Peoples Land: A Reader on Land Reform in the United States, edited by Peter Barnes. Included in this anthology is Bob Swann’s 1973 paper, “The Community Land Trust.”
  • Death of Arthur Morgan at the age of 97.


  • Chuck Matthei joins Mitch Snyder, Perk Perkins, and other members of the Center for Creative Nonviolence and Sojourners in attempting (unsuccessfully) to establish an urban CLT in Washington, DC, the Columbia Heights Community Ownership Project.
  • Charles Sherrod is elected to the Albany City Commission.
  • Linda and Millard FullerLinda and Millard Fuller start Habitat for Humanity International in Americus, Georgia modeled after Koinonia’s original “partnership housing program.”


  • Death of Ralph Borsodi at the age of 91; E.F. Scumacher and Erick Hansch die the same year, all three within one month of one another.
  • Susan Witt joins the staff of the Institute for Community Economics as a volunteer.
  • Incorporation of the Valley CLT in Greenfield, Massachusetts, the state’s first CLT. Two of the first leaseholders are Wally and Juanita Nelson, early members of Peacemakers and close friends of CLT Hall of Famers Maurice McCrackin, Clarence Jordan, and Chuck Matthei.


  • Marie CirilloWoodland CLT is established in East Tennessee, an effort led by Marie Cirillo.
  • Chuck Matthei is invited by Bob and Marjorie Swann, known to him through Peacemakers, to join the board of the Institute for Community Economics.
  • Bob and Marjorie Swann travel to India to meet Vinoba Bhave.
  • Lucy PoulinCovenant CLT is established in Orlando, Maine, an effort led by Sr. Lucy Poulin.


  • Fr. Albert McKnightFr. Albert J. McKnight, who had served as the first vice president of New Communities Inc., is appointed to the first board of directors of the National Cooperative Bank by President Jimmy Carter.
  • Chuck MattheiBob Swann and Susan Witt leave the Institute for Community Economics, moving to western Massachusetts.  Chuck Matthei becomes ICE’s new executive director.


  • Barbara WheelerThe Community Land Cooperative of Cincinnati is founded by Rev. Maurice McCrackin, Sr. Barbara Wheeler, and other members of the West End Alliance of Churches and Ministries, becoming the first urban CLT in the United States.
  • The Historic District Development Corporation is co-founded in Atlanta by Coretta Scott King, Christine King Farris and John Cox to preserve and revitalize “Sweet Auburn,” the inner-city neighborhood included in the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic District.  Mtamanika Youngblood is named as the organization’s first executive director.
  • Bob SwannBob Swann and Susan Witt establish the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires and the E. F. Schumacher Society, offering assistance to rural communities in creating CLTs.


  • Institute for Community EconomicsThe Institute for Community Economics moves to Greenfield, Massachusetts, purchasing two buildings to accommodate ICE’s offices and to house ICE’s staff. By year’s end, Chuck Matthei has been joined in Greenfield by Sr. Louise Foise, Lisa Berger, Ian Keith, and John Emmeus Davis.
  • John Lewis is elected to the Atlanta City Council.
  • The Southside Community Land Trust is organized in Providence, Rhode Island, the first CLT to focus on urban agriculture.
  • 1981: CLCC - Vivian Maxwell and Rev. Maurice McCrackinThe Community Land Cooperative of Cincinnati sells its first house to Vivian Maxwell, probably the first leaseholder of an urban CLT in the United States.
  • An annual lecture series is launched by the E.F. Schumacher Society (now the Schumacher Center for a New Economics), featuring Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson as the first speakers.


  • The Community Land Trust HandbookThe Community Land Trust Handbook is published by Rodale Press under the authorship of the Institute for Community Economics.
  • Fr. Albert J. McKnight becomes Pastor of the Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Opelousas, Louisiana, one of the largest African American parishes in the USA, remaining there until 1988.
  • 1982: Vinoba BhaveDeath of Vinoba Bhave.
  • Representatives from the Institute for Community Economics are invited by a member of the city council in Burlington VT to pitch the CLT model to Mayor Bernie Sanders. A year later, with Sanders’ support, $200,000 is appropriated by the city council to seed the creation of a new city-wide CLT.


  • Kirby WhiteThe first issue of Community Economics is produced and distributed by ICE. Publication of this journal, edited by Kirby White, continues until 1996.
  • Voluntown Conference BrochureA gathering of CLT organizers from the United States and Canada is convened by ICE at the old CNVA headquarters in Voluntown, Connecticut.
  • Stonesfield Community Trust is established in rural Oxfordshire, widely recognized as being the first CLT in England.


  • Syracuse ProcessionThe first CLTs brought into being with the direct support of a municipal government, the Burlington CLT and Time of Jubilee, are incorporated in Burlington, Vermont and Syracuse, New York.
  • Kirby and Nola White join ICE’s staff.


  • New Communities Inc. loses its land and buildings to foreclosure.
  • Common Ground SlideCommon Ground, a slide show about CLTs featuring the Community Land Cooperative of Cincinnati, is produced and distributed by the Institute for Community Economics.
  • ICE convenes a national conference on community loan funds, attended by representatives of 35 nonprofit lenders. Out of this conference emerges the National Association of Community Development Loan Funds, which is chaired by Chuck Matthei for its first five years.
  • Mildred Loomis steps down from the editorship of Green Revolution.
  • Chuck Collins and Greg Ramm join ICE’s staff.
  • Mike Brown and Patsy Murphy join ICE’s staff.
  • 1985: Attorney David Watts (l) with Rick and Joann BeaucheminThe Burlington Community Land Trust sold their second house to Dale and Joann Beauchemin. The attorney who handles the closing is David Watts, the son of Fay Bennett, who had served on the executive committee of New Communities Inc.


  • John Lewis is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Death of Mildred Loomis.
  • Creation of the first CLTs in Canada, both of which are focused on the provision of cooperative housing: Colandco in Toronto and Communaute Milton-Parc in Montreal.


  • John LewisThe first National Community Land Trust  Conference is held in Atlanta, co-hosted by ICE and the South Atlanta Land Trust.  US Representative John Lewis is the conference’s keynote speaker.
  • Durham Community Land TrusteesDurham Community Land Trustees is established in Durham, North Carolina. The Central Vermont CLT and the Brattleboro CLT are founded in Vermont.The Albany CLT is founded in New York.
  • Fr. Albert J. McKnight is inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame.
  • The Vermont Housing and Conservation Trust Fund Act passes the state legislature, establishing the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and setting a priority for permanent affordability in housing assisted by VHCB.
  • Washington State Housing Trust Fund is created.
  • A papal encyclical, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, issued on December 30th by John Paul II, declares that private property is not exclusively private in nature, but has a social function. Adapting language from the selling of homes where a buyer borrows some of the funds necessary to purchase a property and acquires the title conditionally, John Paul asserts that "private property . . . is under a social mortgage."


  • Death of C.B. King in Albany, Georgia at the age of 65.
  • Dudley Street Neighborhood InitiativeDudley Neighbors Inc. is incorporated in Boston as a corporate subsidiary of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative.
  • National CLT Conference is held in Stony Point, New York.


  • Michael Sky (and Family) from OPAL CLTThe first CLTs are established in Washington state: the Lopez CLT and OPAL (Of People and Land).
  • “Convention 169” is adopted by the International Labor Organization, responding to a movement of indigenous peoples in Latin America demanding the restitution of territorial rights. Article 14 stipulated that “the rights of ownership and possession of the peoples concerned over the lands which they traditionally occupy shall be recognized.”
  • Publication of Building Sustainable Communities, edited by Ward Morehouse. Activists in England, seeking alternative ways to battle social and economic exclusion, are greatly influenced by this book, especially those chapters by Shann Turnbull, Bob Swann, and George Benello that draw links among CLTs, community development financial institutions, and worker cooperatives.


  • Greg RammChuck Matthei leaves the Institute for Community Economics. Greg Ramm becomes ICE’s new executive director.
  • Charles Sherrod relinquishes his seat on the Albany City Commission, having served in this elected office for 14 years.
  • Formation of urban CLTs in Durham, North Carolina; Youngstown, Ohio; Schenectady, New York; Worcester, Massachusetts; Duluth, Minnesota; and Washington, DC.
  • Burlington Conference BrochureNational CLT Conference is held in Burlington, Vermont.
  • National Affordable Housing Act of 1990 enacted into law, creating the HOME program and defining Community Housing Development Organizations.
  • Home Inc. is established in Arthur Morgan’s adopted community of Yellow Springs, Ohio.
  • Elinor Ostrom, Nobel laureate, publishes Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. She argues that land and other resources can be managed efficiently and sustainably as common goods (essentially refuting Garrett Hardin’s thesis in his 1968 essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons.”
  • The Schumacher Center Library is established in South Egremont, Massachusetts “to steward the rich tradition of community economics.” The Library maintains an archive of books, articles, and personal papers donated by individuals whose work influenced the CLT movement, including E.F. Schumacher and Robert Swann.


  • 1991: David AbromowitzPublication of The Community Land Trust Legal Manual, authored by a team of twelve writers brought together under the auspices of the Institute for Community Economics. The lead attorney for this project is David Abromowitz, who provides pro bono legal advice to ICE, the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, and many other CLTs over the next two decades.
  • Sol Levin from Madison Area CLTSol Levin founds the Madison Area CLT in Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Chuck Matthei founds Equity Trust, Inc. in Voluntown, Connecticut.
  • The Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association is organized to manage 303 apartments and 23 commercial units in 19 buildings in lower Manhattan. The underlying land is conveyed to the newly formed Cooper Square Community Land Trust.
  • The Orange Community Housing and Land Trust is started in Carrboro, North Carolina, later changing its name to the Community Home Trust


  • Bernie SandersA federal definition of “community land trusts” is introduced by US Representative Bernie Sanders, passed by Congress, and signed into law as part of the 1992 amendments to the National Affordable Housing Act.
  • The Homestead CLT is founded in Seattle, Washington.
  • Article 27 of the Mexican constitution is modified to allow privatization and sale of ejidal land, a direct cause of the Zapatista uprising of indigenous peoples and subsistence farmers in Chiapas.


  • National CLT Conference is held in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Burlington Associates in Community Development is created by former city officials from the administration of Mayor Bernie Sanders. Over next 30 years, this consulting cooperative assists in starting, planning, or expanding over 120 CLTs throughout the USA.
  • The Co-operative Housing Federation of British Columbia establishes a new nonprofit named the “Community Land Trust” to receive existing co-op properties from the provincial government.  


  • The Sawmill CLT is incorporated in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Streets of HopePublication of Streets of Hope by Peter Medoff and Holly Sklar, describing creation of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and its community land trust subsidiary, Dudley Neighbors Inc.
  • HUD awards ICE the first of several major grants to provide technical assistance to CLTs.
  • Creation of the Tanzania-Bondeni Community Land Trust in Kenya, the first CLT in Africa
  • 1994: Athens Land Trust LogoAthens Land Trust (ALT) founded by Skipper StipeMaas and Nancy Stangle, one of the only CLTs in the United States with a triple focus on conserving forests and farmlands, developing affordable housing, and promoting food security through a network of community gardens and a farmer’s market.  Interview with Nancy Stangle on Spotify.


The number of community land trusts in the United States reaches 100.


  • Charles Sherrod runs unsuccessfully for the Georgia State Senate, his last attempt at political office.
  • National CLT conference is held in Washington, DC.
  • Holding Ground DVDRelease of Holding Ground: the Rebirth of Dudley Street, an award-winning video about the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, produced by Mark Lipman and Leah Mahan.
  • The State College Community Land Trust is founded in State College, Pennsylvania.
  • The Sawmill Community Land Trust is founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • NeighborSpace is founded in response to a report by the city’s planning department that finds Chicago lagging behind other major cities in open space per capita. The report recommends creating a nonprofit, citywide community land trust to hold urban gardens.


  • Timothy Pigford, joined by 400 other African American farmers, files a federal lawsuit against Dan Glickman, the US Secretary of Agriculture. The plaintiffs allege that the USDA treated black farmers unfairly when deciding to allocate price support loans, disaster payments, “farm ownership” loans, and operating loans.
  • National CLT conference is held in Durham, North Carolina.
  • Gregg Ramm leaves ICE. Sarah Page is hired as ICE’s new executive director.
  • The Tanzania Bondeni Community Land Trust in Kenya is a World Habitat Award runner-up, reaching the final round in the international competition sponsored by UN-Habitat.


Filming Homes and HandsRelease of Homes & Hands: CLTs in Action, a video produced by Deborah Chasnoff and Helen Cohen. This full-length color video features CLTs in Durham, North Carolina, Albuquerque New Mexico, and Burlington Vermont.


  • Black farmers win a $375 million settlement from the US Department of Agriculture, resolving a class-action suit that had charged USDA with racial bias (Pigford v. Glickman).
  • New Communities Inc. files its own Pigford claim against USDA on October 13th, alleging that discriminatory lending by the Georgia office of the Famers Home Administration contributed to the failure of NCI’s agricultural business and the loss of its land.
  • St Paul National CLT ConferenceNational CLT Conference is held in St Paul, Minnesota.
  • Formation of the Northwest CLT Coalition, the first regional network of CLTs.
  • The Portland Community Land Trust is founded in Portland, Oregon, changing its name ten years later to Proud Ground.
  • Community Finance Solutions is founded at the University of Salford, providing action research, policy advocacy, and practical support for early CLT start-ups in England.


  • 2000: Sawmill ED Debbie O'Malley, leading a tour at national CLT conferenceNational CLT Conference is held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • The Minnesota Community Land Trust Coalition is formed.
  • Marie Cirillo delivers the Twentieth Annual E.F. Schumacher Lecture, “Stories from an Appalachian Community,” describing the influences and values behind the Woodland Community Land Trust.


  • Fannie Mae releases a model rider for use with the CLT ground lease. Fannie Mae also publishes Guidelines on the Valuation of a Property Subject to a Leasehold Interest and/or Community Land Trust.
  • Founding of the Community Land Association of Marin (CLAM) in Point Reyes, California.


  • Death of Sol Levin, founder of the Madison Area CLT, on February 22nd at the age of 70.
  • Hearing is held on July 30th for the discrimination suit brought by New Communities Inc. against the Farmers Home Administration and USDA.
  • 2002: DC policy conference - Aaron Miripol, Mike Brown, Paul Wellstone, Jim Michler-Philbin, Jeff CoreyNational policy conference is convened by the Institute for Community Economics near Washington, DC, followed by meetings with members of Congress urging greater funding for CLTs.
  • Chuck MattheiDeath of Chuck Matthei on October 1st at the age of 54.
  • Groundbreaking and dedication is held in November for the C.B. King Federal Courthouse in Albany Georgia.  It is the first federal courthouse to be designed by an African American architect, Joseph W. Robinson.
  • Death of Fay Bennett Watts on December 19 in Shelburne Vermont.
  • Publication by ICE of the second edition of the Community Land Trust Legal Manual.
  • City of Lakes CLTIncorporation of the City of Lakes CLT in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Housing Land Trust of Sonoma County in Petaluma, California.
  • Fundacion Eco Verde Sostenible, an organization sponsored by the Honduras Community Support Corporation, is established as a regional land trust, acquiring and permanently protecting water sources and watersheds on which informal settlements in the mountains of Honduras depend.


  • Death of Bob Swann on January 13th at the age of 84.
  • Burlington CLT Resale StudyPublication by the Burlington Community Land Trust of Permanently Affordable Homeownership: Does the Community Land Trust Deliver on Its Promises? Authored by John Emmeus Davis and Amy Demetrowitz, this study represents the first data-based evaluation of a CLT’s performance.
  • National CLT Conference is held in Syracuse, New York.
  • The Urban Land Conservancy is founded in Denver, Colorado to hold land and preserve affordability for sites impacted by transit-oriented development.
  • The San Francisco CLT is incorporated.
  • Passage of the Land Reform Act in Scotland, giving communities with populations of up to 10,000 a first right of refusal to buy land should an owner intend to transfer ownership, provided a representative community body is formed to carry out the purchase.


  • Rev. Albert McKnightUniversity of Fondwa is founded in Haiti.  Rev. Albert McKnight moves to Haiti to serve as the university’s chaplain and to teach courses on rural development using cooperatives.
  • Mtamanika Youngblood writes a memorandum to the Annie E. Casey Foundation recommending creation of a community land trust in Atlanta’s Pittsburgh neighborhood.
  • Gus NewportGus Newport, former mayor of Berkeley and former director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, becomes executive director of the Institute for Community Economics.
  • Creation of the Cano Martin Pena Community Land Trust in Puerto Rico, the first use of a CLT in regularizing land and housing titles within an informal settlement.
  • The Puerto Rico legislature conveys 200 acres of publicly owned land in San Juan to the Cano Martin Pena Community Land Trust.


  • The number of community land trusts in the United States reaches 200.
  • National CLT Conference is held in Portland, Oregon. At the conference, a committee is elected by representatives from 51 CLTs to plan a new national network of CLTs.  Another planning committee, with funding and leadership from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, begins working on a framework to improve training and research on CLTs.
  • 2005 - Delray Beach CLTThe Delray Beach CLT is formed at the initiative of the African-American community in Delray Beach, Florida in partnership with the City of Delray Beach and the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency.
  • Founding of the Figueroa Corridor Community Land Trust in Los Angeles, which later changes its name to T.R.U.S.T. South LA (Tenemos que Reclamar y Unidos Salvar la Tierra-South LA).


  • Seabeck Conference Brochure - April 2006The newly formed National CLT Academy holds an inaugural three-day, intermediate-level training for CLT practitioners at Seabeck, Washington. Included is the first edition of “Roots of the CLT,” a presentation tracing the model’s origins and evolution.
    2006: Dedication of Civil Rights Park in Albany, with Charles and Shirley Sherrod in center
  • Dedication of the Charles M. Sherrod Civil Rights Park in downtown Albany, Georgia.
  • Death of Coretta Scott King on January 30th at the age of 78.
  • Cypress Pond Plantation is put on the market, offered at a sales price of $21 million.
  • National CLT Conference is held in July in Boulder, Colorado. Bylaws of the National CLT Network are ratified and officers are elected: Lisa Byers, president; Jim Mischler-Philbin, vice president; Dannie Bolden, secretary; and Devika Goetschius, treasurer.
  • The newly established Swann-Matthei Award is bestowed by the Network on Marie Cirillo and John Emmeus Davis.
  • Incorporation of the Diamond State Community Land Trust, the first state-wide CLT.
  • Greg Rosenberg Teaching at ChaskaThe National CLT Academy holds a three-day intermediate-level training for CLT practitioners, October 22-25, in Chaska, Minnesota.
  • Incorporation of the Chicago CLT at the instigation of City of Chicago.


  • East London CLTLondon Citizens helps to organize the first urban CLT in the United Kingdom, the East London Community Land Trust (precursor to the London CLT).
  • The assets of the Institute for Community Economics are divided three ways with its most important intellectual property, The CLT Legal Manual and Homes & Hands, going to Equity Trust; its archives going to the E.F. Schumacher Society; and its name and revolving loan fund taken over by the National Housing Trust.
  • National CLT Conference is held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 
  • Incorporation of the Cornwall Community Land Trust, one of England’s first CLTs and the model for later development of a network of “umbrella CLTs” across the country. 


  • 2008: National CLT Network Training at Morehouse CollegeThe National CLT Academy conducts a three-day training in May at Morehouse College in Atlanta, followed by a “Heritage Lands Strategy Session.”
  • Planning begins in Atlanta on ways to support the expansion of CLTs as part of the Beltline’s transit-oriented development, a process led by Mtamanika Youngblood (Atlanta Civic Site), Valarie Wilson (Atlanta Beltline Partnership), and Andy Schneggenburger (Association of Neighborhood-based Developers).
  • City-CLT Partnership ReportPublication of The City-CLT Partnership: Municipal Support for Community Land Trusts by John Emmeus Davis and Rick Jacobus, a Policy Focus Report commissioned by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
  • The Madison Area CLT’s Troy Gardens project receives first prize for Affordable Housing Built Responsibly from the Home Depot Foundation.
  • National CLT conference is held in Boston, Massachusetts. The Network bestows its Swann-Matthei Award upon Ellie Kastanopolous­­­­­­­_and Susan Witt.
  • The Champlain Housing Trust wins the World Habitat Award, presented by the Building and Social Housing Foundation in partnership with the United Nations.
  • A formal definition of a “community land trust” for England and Wales is included in the Housing and Regeneration Act of 2008.
  • Start of the “Great Recession,” a global financial crisis originating in the speculative leveraging of mortgages by private lenders and a bursting real estate bubble in the United States.


  • First CLT Training in Australia (Sydney)The first CLT training in Australia is held on March 23-24 in Sydney, organized by Louise Crabtree.
  • The National CLT Academy issues a research report documenting significantly lower rates of mortgage default and mortgage foreclosure among CLT homeowners, when compared to defaults and foreclosures among the owners of market-rate homes.
  • National CLT Academy holds a three-day training, April 29-May 1, in Orlando, Florida.
  • Shirley Sherrod is notified by the White House in July that she has been selected to be the new state director for Rural Development in Georgia.
  • At the urging of the governor of Puerto Rico and the mayor of San Juan, the legislature passes a bill taking back 200 acres of publicly owned land already transferred to the Cano Martin Pena Community Land Trust.
  • After a decade of being rebuffed by USDA, the Sherrods receive a call from NCI’s attorney, Rose Sanders, saying that New Communities Inc. has been awarded a settlement of $12 million.
  • The Heritage Lands Initiative is created as a chartered committee of the National CLT Network, advocating for the rights of marginalized communities whose lands are threatened with loss.
  • A memorandum of understanding is signed between the National CLT Network and Habitat for Humanity International to foster cross-training, technical support, and collaborative development between their constituencies.
  • 2009: Shirley Sherrod and Maria Hernandez-TorralesNational CLT conference is held in Athens, Georgia. Shirley Sherrod is the plenary speaker.  The Network bestows its Swann-Matthei Award upon ­­­­­­­Michael Brown and Kirby White.
  • Incorporation of the Oakland CLT in Oakland, California.
  • 2009: World Habitat Study Visit to BurlingtonAn international study visit, organized by the Building and Social Housing Foundation, brings two dozen housing activists from around the world to Burlington, Vermont to learn about the CLT model from the Champlain Housing Trust.


  • Logo of the National CLT Network (UK)The National CLT Network in the United Kingdom is incorporated.
  • The Waratah CLT Association is established in Sydney to promote CLT development in Australia.
  • Shirley SherrodShirley Sherrod is forced to resign from her appointed position as Georgia State Director of USDA Rural Development because of video excerpts from a speech she had delivered in March that were selectively edited and posted on the internet by a right-wing blogger.

  • The Community Land Trust ReaderPublication of The Community Land Trust Reader, edited by John Emmeus Davis.
  • National CLT conference is held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Network bestows its Swann-Matthei Award upon David Abromowitz and Charles & Shirley Sherrod.
  • The Cornerstone Partnership is launched to raise the national profile of shared equity homeownership. The National CLT Network is one of the Partnership’s founding members.
  • Equity Trust publishes Preserving Farms for Farmers: A Manual for Those Working to Keep Farms Affordable.  Authored by Kirby White, this 136-page manual contains case studies and a model agricultural ground lease, applying the CLT model to farmland.


  • Cypress Pond Plantation is bought by New Communities Inc. on June 29th for $4.5 million.
  • Publication of the third edition of the Community Land Trust Legal Manual.  This updated and expanded edition, produced under the auspices of the National CLT Academy, is given a new title of The CLT Technical Manual.
  • Mtamanika YoungbloodNational CLT Conference is held in Seattle, Washington. The Network bestows its Swann-Matthei Award upon Mtamanika Youngblood.
  • The Community Justice Land Trust is created as a subsidiary of the Women’s Community Revitalization Project, the only women-led community development organization in Philadelphia, founded in 1987.
  • Proof of Concept” report published by Bob Patterson and Karl Dyson of Community Finance Solutions, documenting the 10-year success of the National Community Land Trust Demonstration and Empowerment Programmes.
  • 2011: Butchers ArmsPurchase of the Butchers Arms by a cooperative formed to save the only pub in the small village of Crosby Ravensworth in the Cumbria region of England. This grassroots effort is led by David Graham, a resident of the village and Chair of the Lyvennet Community Trust and Chair of the National CLT Network.


  • Release of Gaining Ground, a sequel to the 1996 video about DSNI (Holding Ground), produced by Mark Lipman and Leah Mahan.
  • The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announces on May 12th that a derelict site on which St. Clements Hospital was formerly located will be conveyed to the East London Community Land Trust, the first urban CLT in the United Kingdom.
  • The National CLT Network is restructured, splitting the programs of the CLT Academy and the Heritage Lands Initiative between two new departments: Capacity & Community Building and Research & Public Policy.
  • National CLT conference is held in Burlington, Vermont. The Network bestows its Swann-Matthei Award upon US Senator Bernie Sanders.
  • The Network also announces creation of the John Emmeus Davis Award for Scholarship to be presented at future conferences to individuals who have “contributed significant scholarship to advance the field of community land trusts, or who are inspirational teachers, coaches or mentors.”
  • Brussels CLT CommitteeA series of meetings by housing associations and neighborhood committees results in creation of the first CLT in Belgium: the Brussels Community Land Trust.
  • In a groundbreaking partnership with the City of Vancouver, 358 units of existing co-op and social housing are transferred to the Community Land Trust in Vancouver, BC.


  • Publication of Beyond Housing: Community Land Trusts and Urban Agriculture and Commercial Development by Greg Rosenberg and Jeffrey Yuen, commissioned by the National CLT Network.
  • Streets of DreamsRelease of Streets of Dreams:  Development Without Displacement in Communities of Color, produced by Helen Cohen and Mark Lipman.
  • The Puerto Rico legislature reverses itself once again and returns 200 acres of publicly owned land in San Juan to the Cano Martin Pena Community Land Trust.
  • Roots of the CLT DVDRelease of Roots of the Community Land Trust, a taped slide show about the origins and evolution of the CLT, produced and narrated by John Emmeus Davis.
  • Publication a Working Paper by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy entitled The Role of Community Land Trusts in Fostering Equitable, Transit-Oriented Development: Case Studies from Atlanta, Denver, and the Twin Cities.
  • Formation of the California CLT Network, growing within a few years to include more than 20 CLTs scattered across the state.
  • The Communaute Milton Parc in Montreal, Canada is a World Habitat Award runner-up, reaching the final round in the international competition sponsored by UN-Habitat.
  • Publication of The Australian Community Land Trust Manual, authored by Louise Crabtree Hazel Blunden Peter Phibbs Carolyn Sappideen Derek Mortimer Avril Shahib-Smith Lisa Chung.


  • 2014 - Roots and Branches logoRoots and Branches goes live, an historical website created by John Emmeus Davis and Greg Rosenberg to preserve photographs, documents, and stories about the origins of the CLT model and the growth of the world-wide CLT movement.
  • National CLT Conference is held in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Death on March 14th of Marge Swann at the age of 93, a co-founder of the Committee for Nonviolent Action, co-editor of the first book about CLTs, published in 1972, and an early board member of the Institute for Community Economics.
  • Julie BrunnerNancy Stangle, co-founder of the Athens Land Trust, receives the Swann-Matthei Award from the National CLT Network. Julie Brunner becomes the first recipient of the John Emmeus Davis Award for teaching, scholarship, and mentorship.
  • Les Editions Ecosociete in Montreal publishes Manuel d’antispéculation immobilière: une introduction aux fiducies foncières communautaires. Edited by John Emmeus Davis and translated by Michel Durand, this collection of essays introduces a French-speaking audience to the CLT.
  • Cover for 21st Century Garden CitiesPublication of 21st Century Garden Cities of To-Morrow: A Manifesto by Philip Ross and Yves Cabannes. This “manifesto” updates Howard’s classic text and links Garden Cities and CLTs.
  • Enactment of national legislation in France, creating the basis for a new type of nonprofit organization, Organismes de Foncier Solidaire (OFS), the French version of a CLT.
  • 2014: Parkdale Neighborhood Land TrustFormation of the Parkdale Neighborhood Land Trust in Toronto, Canada, focusing on the preservation of at-risk rooming houses and the preservation of land for urban agriculture.


  • Roots of the CLT, a four-part narrative of the origins and evolution of the community land trust, originally produced and recorded in English by John Emmeus Davis, is translated into Dutch by the Brussels Community Land Trust and posted online.
  • The National CLT Network and the Cornerstone Partnership announce a “Plan of Consolidation,” proposing to merge their programs and staff.
  • First meeting of the Resident Ambassadors, a newly created program of the National CLT Network aimed at involving CLT homeowners and renters more fully in advocacy and education on behalf of permanently affordable housing.
  • National CLT conference is held in Lexington KY. Gus Newport receives the Swann-Matthei Award.
  • Community Led Homes is formed in the United Kingdom, a formal alliance of four national organizations: the National CLT Network; the Confederation of Co-operative Housing; UK Cohousing; and Locality.


  • 2016 - Habitat IIIThe Third World Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) is convened in Quito, Ecuador by the United Nations. The delegates approve a New Urban Agenda, which includes community land trusts as one of the recommended strategies for promoting access to housing and for making cities more inclusive.
  • Completion of the merger of the National CLT Network and the Cornerstone Partnership. The merged entity becomes “Grounded Solutions Network.”
  • 2016: Cano Martin Pena CLTThe Cano Martin Pena CLT in San Juan, Puerto Rico receives the UN World Habitat Award from the Building and Social Housing Foundation in England.
  • Intersections conference held in Park City UT, convened by Grounded Solutions. Lisa Byers, executive director of OPAL, and John Barros, former executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, receive the Swann-Matthei Award.
  • Arc of Justice FilmCompletion and distribution of a documentary about New Communities Inc. entitled Arc of Justice: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of a Beloved Community.
  • Bill 2818 is enacted by the California legislature, defining a community land trust in state law for the first time.
  • The Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust in Liverpool, England is a World Habitat Award runner-up, reaching the final round in the international competition sponsored by UN-Habitat.


  • Habitat for Humanity International introduces CLTs and other forms of permanently affordable housing to its 1500 affiliates in its 2017 Shelter Report, Affordable for Good: Building Inclusive Communities through Homes that Last, authored by John Emmeus Davis.
  • Intersections conference held in Oakland CA, convened by Grounded Solutions.
  • Establishment of the first CLT (OFS) in France, sponsored by the City of Lille.
  • CLT Center LogoCreation of the Center for Community Land Trust Innovation. The Center’s mission is to foster the global growth of CLTs and related forms of community-led development on community-owned land.
  • Formation of the Canadian Network of Community Land Trusts.
  • Funding is provided by the European Union to promote cross-national communication, research, and training among CLTs in Belgium, England, and France, an initiative known as “Sustainable Housing for Inclusive and Cohesive Cities” (SHICC).
  • Stephen Hill - with John Davis and Julie BrunnerNational CLT conference is held in Oakland CA, convened by Grounded Solutions Network (USA). Catherine Harrington receives the Swann-Matthei Award. Stephen Hill receives the “John Emmeus Davis Award for Scholarship.”
  • Creation of the Interboro CLT in New York City. This city-wide initiative is a partnership of Habitat for Humanity New York City, the Center for NYC Neighborhoods, UHAB, and the Mutual Housing Assoc. of New York.


  • Cano Martin Pena Delegation Meets Barrinha Community in RioA delegation from the Caño Martin Peña CLT in Puerto Rico visits Brazil, introducing the CLT model to community organizers working in Rio’s favelas.
  • Tony Pickett is selected as the executive director of the Grounded Solutions Network (USA).
  • National CLT conference held in Pittsburgh PA, convened by Grounded Solutions Network (USA). The day before, a “CLT charrette” gathers together 50 CLT leaders from across the USA to plan for the future.
  • A national OFS network is launched in France,
    Foncier Solidaire – France. Within three years, there are 64 members from across the country.
  • The Urban Land Conservancy in Denver receives a private donation of 31acres of land in Aurora, Colorado on which are located 17 buildings, one of the largest gifts of real estate received by a CLT in the United States.
  • Houston CLT logoIncorporation of the Houston Community Land Trust in Houston Texas.


  • Founding of Terra Nostra Press, an imprint of the Center for CLT Innovation.
  • 2019: Tony Pickett with NCI Anniversary PosterCelebration of the 50-year anniversary of the founding of New Communities, Inc. Held at Cypress Pond Plantation, October 3-5. A commemorative collage, commissioned by Grounded Solutions Network, is presented to Charles and Shirley Sherrod by GSN’s executive director, Tony Pickett. 
  • The Favela CLT Network is formed in Rio de Jairo, Brazil.
  • Publication by the Labor Party in the United Kingdom of a policy report that, among other recommendations, endorses expansion of CLTs. Authored by George Monbiot et al., the report is entitled:
    Land for the Many: Changing the Way Our Fundamental Asset is Used, Owned, and Governed.
  • Passage of SB 196 by the California legislature, providing for the equitable taxation of resale-restricted CLT homes, a bill initiated and sponsored by the California CLT Network.


  • On Common Ground Book CoverPublication by Terra Nostra Press of On Common Ground: International Perspectives on the Community Land Trust, a collection of 26 essays by 42 authors from a dozen different countries.
  • Death of Congressman John Lewis at 80 years of age. He was part of the first planning session for New Communities, Inc. in June 1968.  Twenty years later, he was the plenary speaker at the first national CLT conference, held in Atlanta GA.
  • Incorporation in July of a new CLT in Leuven, Belgium, initiated by the city government but planned and developed in partnership with individuals and organizations from civil society.
  • As the COVID pandemic brings death, disruption, and dislocation to communities around the world, CLTs provide security of tenure and heightened support for renters and homeowners residing on their land.
  • SHICC wins the REGIOSTARS Award, given to EU-funded projects which demonstrate excellence and new approaches to regional development.
  • SHICC welcomes into its EU-funded partnership CLT champions from four new countries: And the People (the Netherlands); id22 (Germany); South of Scotland Community Housing (Scotland); and Self-Organised Architecture
  • Release of an influential report by SHICC and FMDV (in English, French, Flemish, and German) entitled Urban Community Land Trusts in Europe: Towards a Transnational Movement.


  • A collaboration between Catalytic Communities in Brazil and World Habitat in the UK launches a national awareness campaign to promote CLTs in favelas across Brazil. 
  • En terreno comun book coverTerra Nostra Press publishes a Spanish edition of ON COMMON GROUND: INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE COMMUNITY LAND TRUST. This full-length book joins two earlier monographs produced by Terra Nostra Press – “La inseguridad de la tenencia de la tierra en America Latina y el Caribe” and “?Porgue el fideicomiso comunitario de tierra?” – as the first books about CLTs to be published in Spanish.
  • The Brussels regional government adopts a legal framework defining a CLT and specifying the conditions for a CLT’s receipt of financial support from the Brussels Region.
  • The first CLT in Germany is established in Berlin:
    Grundungsfeier Stadtbodenstiftung.
  • The City of Toronto announces its plan to transfer 643 publicly-owned properties containing 761 units of housing to two CLTs: the Parkdale Neighborhood Land Trust and the Circle CLT.
  • The Irish Parliament passes the Affordable Act in July. This is the first recognition in law and policy of the CLT model in Ireland.
  • The first International CLT Festival is organized by SHICC and the Center for CLT Innovation, presenting multiple webinars and virtual meetings of CLT practitioners over a period of three months.
  • The first World CLT Day, co-sponsored by SHICC and the Center for CLT Innovation is held on October 29, 2021. Nearly 100 organizations and individuals participate, contributing messages, photographs, and videos celebrating their work.
  • In December, the Brussels Community Land Trust receives the World Habitat Award, the third CLT to win this prestigious international honor, following the Champlain Housing Trust (2008) and the Fideicomiso de la Tierra del Cano Martin Pena (2015).
  • World CLT Day Poster EnglishThe first World CLT Day took place on October 29, 2021.


  • Rev John Whitfield PhotoJuly:  Death of Rev. John Whitfield, former board member of the National CLT Academy, National CLT Network (USA), and the Center for CLT Innovation.
  • Community Matters book coverSeptember:  Terra Nostra Press publishes Community Matters: Conversations with Reflective Practitioners about the Value and Variety of Resident Engagement in CLTs. 
  • October
    • Clarence SherrodDeath of Rev. Charles Sherrod, civil rights activist, organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, co-founder of the Southwest Georgia Project, and co-founder and president of New Communities Inc.
    • Community Matters book coverWorld CLT Day 2022 is held on October 28-29, the second virtual celebration of the growth and diversity of the international CLT movement. 
  • The Canadian Network CLT hires its first National Coordinator, Nat Pace. 
  • Community Land Trust Ghent (Belgium) acquires its first parcel of land on which 34 permanently affordable homes will be constructed. 
  • South of Scotland Community Housing and the Center for CLT Innovation host a virtual, international event, examining land reform in Scotland, community-led development, and community empowerment.
  • The City of Vancouver (Canada) signs an agreement with Hogan’s Alley Society to create a CLT to preserve the nucleus of the city’s historic black community. 
    São João de Meriti becomes the first city in Brazil to include a Termo Territorial Coletivo (the Brazilian version of the CLT) in its master plan.
    Africatown CLT in Seattle breaks ground on a seven-storey development containing 126 units of rental housing, retail spaces, and an art collection.


  • APRIL: Launch of three-part regional CLT training by the newly created Home Futures Institute in Washington State (USA) under the auspices of the Northwest CLT Coalition.
  • MAY
    • Tarcyla Fidalgo PhotoAdvocates from the Favela CLT Network appear before the city council in Rio de Janeiro to demand inclusion of CLTs in the city’s master plan. Testimony is given by Catalytic Communities' Tarcyla Fidalgo Ribeiro.
    • BBC radio presents a story about the growth and development of CLTs in England, featuring the newest affordable housing project developed by the London CLT.
  • JUNE
    • European CLT Network LogoLaunch of European Community Land Trust Network. Keti Tskitishvili hired as the Network’s first coordinator.
    • Greg Rosenberg is hired as the full-time Coordinator of the Center for CLT Innovation.
    • Gus Newport PhotoDeath of Gus Newport, former Mayor of Berkley CA, ED of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, ED of the Institute for Community Economics, and founding board member of the Center for CLT Innovation. 
    • First AGM for the Canadian Network of Community Land Trusts. (Also add a photo of their logo)
    • Book cover for Reweaving the Tapestry of TenurePublication of Reweaving the Tapestry of Tenure: Eight Elders of the CLT Movement Who Championed Community Ownership of Land


  • International Center for CLTs LogoMARCH:  The Center for CLT Innovation changes its name to the International Center for Community Land Trusts to better reflect its mission of serving the global CLT movement.
  • MAY
    • Third edition of World CLT Day.
    • First AGM for the European CLT Network, hosted in Berlin, Germany by Grundungsfeier Stadtbodenstiftung.
    • First AGM for the newly formed Australian CLT Network.