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Kinfolk Land Collective

Mindful that the goal of affordable access to land is easier to achieve in communities that already enjoy privilege and generational wealth, Equity Trust has been stretching to prioritize and expand support for the efforts of communities with less or no privilege or wealth to acquire and share in the benefits of land ownership.  Our patient outreach bore fruit in 2023 with new relationships bringing an exchange of ideas about property stewardship and opportunities to provide financial support.

One such opportunity came to us through connections with Soul Fire Farm and Persimmon Collective Fund (PCF).  It features a group of African American farmers in Georgia organized as Kinfolk Land Collective, who seek to celebrate Black farming, honor their ancestors and indigenous people, and heal ancestral trauma “on the land and with the land” through the operation their own farm and providing food for their community.

Building on a broad and deep network of mentors and experience at other farms, they want to “reimagine farming” by working cooperatively to include rest, work balance, and mutual support in their business plan; and to “rethink eating” by growing food relevant to their community and connecting the land and the people it feeds.  They plan to focus on staple crops including grains and legumes while also experimenting with less familiar crops like sorghum, and plan to incorporate an outreach-and-education component into their mission.

Our loan complemented philanthropic support from PCF to finance their purchase of farmland to launch their farm, and has opened an opportunity to explore long-term land stewardship possibilities for this and other farms. The work for land justice simultaneously challenges and reinvigorates discussions of land protection. What organization will hold restrictions and who controls that organization? How and by whom is the restriction paid for? What role does government oversight play and what, given our nation’s history, are the implications of that role? Rather than impose our preferences about the instrument or the process, we’ll look to the farmers and their allies, and to the interests and capacity of a mission-aligned partner to promote the land’s continuing to benefit African American farmers.

Buttressed by a zero-interest, shared-risk investment in the Equity Trust Fund by an enthusiastic supporter, we have been able to offer reduced interest rates for some borrowers, including Kinfolk, despite an economic environment in which interest rates increased substantially in the conventional market. We invite current and potential lenders who would like to help us continue to reduce the cost to borrowers, and increase the flexibility and impact of the fund, to get in touch to discuss options.