Conversations with advisory board members – Part 3

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Here are notes from the third conversation –

– Something to think about is poverty, its causes, and how much is related to land
– Land ownership is power – political, economic, social
– Issues around policies in relation to institutionalized racism and depressing property values – i.e. home appraisals
– When people are living on the margins, land is often their biggest asset
– Location of where low-income individuals live or own land is often an issue – in flood plains, wetlands, less developable areas, which limits their wealth
– Programs at The Conservation Fund – community forestry and conservation-based affordable housing
– Conservation-based affordable – found that land trusts and CDCs were going after the same chunks of land largely because the land was cheaper; also realized that there was limited funding for affordable housing, but a lot of conservation funding available; idea is to tap into conservation money to create higher quality affordable housing
– One example is an 11 acre tract in Henderson, NC in Vance County – partnership between Gateway CDC and Black Family Land Trust; 1 acre of wetlands has been preserved and no homes will be built on the 1 acre
– Today, health care and technology are broadening options for jobs in rural communities, so that do not necessarily need a place of work
– Access to current technology is a critical issue for rural areas in the future
– Health care will also increasingly be an issue – people are moving back to rural areas in retirement
– Community ownership and forestry – started in the 70s in 3rd world countries; there are also cases in Great Britain and Scotland where the strategy/tactic is a focus on community-based forestry and ecotourism
– There is also an example in Texas through The Conservation Fund – Pineywoods
– In Northern California, The Conservation Fund owns redwood forest land; managing the land differently than industrial owners did; selling carbon credit; partnership with the public utility
– MACED – doing a project in which it has been certified as an aggregator of carbon credits on the Chicago Exchange; has partnered with number of small land owners, working with them on land practices and then determining the carbon credits and selling them on the Chicago Exchange; the individual landowners can then use whatever money they make to pay property taxes, for example
– Rural areas generate positive externalities for urban areas for which they are not being compensated – ecosystem services (clean air, water, etc.); there are examples (NYC) of monetizing the systems that people have been getting for free; connects the urban and the rural
– Suggestions for people to speak with –
1. Becky Anderson – founder of Handmade in America
2. Emory Campbell – former head of The Penn Center in SC
– Other things to think about – What happens when amenity rich areas attract new people (retirees, wealthy people with vacation homes) and long-time residents and landowners are priced out?  Are there ways to help the long-time residents stay and hold on to their assets? Perhaps grandfather in long-time landowners or given them other options such as leasing their land for resort development or the like
– Example, perhaps from Jackson Hole, of using a transfer tax to buy agricultural easements for long-term residents and farmers/ranchers – a good amenity rich strategy

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