Vermont Conversation: Vermont Land Belief navigates a contested landscape

Vermont Conversation: Vermont Land Belief navigates a contested landscape

Worcester Woods. Photo courtesy of the Vermont Land Trust

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The Vermont Land Belief, established in 1977, is just one of the oldest and premier land conservation groups in the place. It has served shield far more than 620,000 acres in Vermont, comprising about 11% of the point out.

The land belief began with a very simple purpose of conserving land and supporting farmers. But with heightened recognition about fairness and racial justice today, items are not so easy.

Who can declare the right to land that was stolen from Indigenous men and women? How has racism shaped who owns land? How can land conservation help overcome climate improve?

Final 12 months, the Vermont Land Have faith in received a $6 million grant from the Vermont Group Basis and High Meadows Fund to diversify farm ownership and tackle local weather remedies, of which $2 million is “to expand land possession and access among people who have been historically marginalized or oppressed based mostly on their race or ethnicity.”

This grant, the major of its variety in Vermont, raises demanding issues, concedes Nick Richardson, president and CEO of the land have faith in considering that 2017.

“When a white-led business like ours is the recipient from a white-led foundation of funding which is meant to be directed in direction of BIPOC land sovereignty get the job done, that’s the indication of a dilemma,” he said, referring to Vermonters who are Black, Indigenous and men and women of color. “It exhibits how far we have to go as a point out in terms of meeting our objectives and … commitments that we should all make all-around BIPOC racial equity and justice. And that is genuinely uncomfortable and challenging function. And we’re definitely fully commited to it.”

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