FaithLands is a growing national movement to connect and inspire faith communities to use their land in new ways that promote ecological and human health, support local food and farming, enact reparative justice, and strengthen communities.
FaithLands is an initiative incubated and supported by Agrarian Trust, an independent 501(c)(3) organization operating nationally. Contributions are fully tax-deductible.
This project began as a seed of an idea that was germinated in a conversation between faith leaders and the Greenhorns in 2017. With the support of the Globetrotter Foundation, the first FaithLands Gathering was hosted at Paicines Ranch in California in March 2018. Organized by a small group of dedicated faith and land-access leaders, the gathering brought together 30 participants from around the country working at the intersection of faith practices, ecological stewardship, and farming.
In collaboration with an interfaith network of leaders, farmers, and land stewards, Agrarian Trust is working to support faith communities in realizing the transformative potential of their land. Making land available for farming and community gardening, developing faith-based land-use partnerships, donating land as an act of healing and reparative justice, and creating ecological management plans are some of the ways that faith communities are taking steps toward greater, more equitable, and more just land stewardship.
In 2018–2019, FaithLands led a pilot project in North Carolina with the goal of supporting faith communities in making their lands available to historically underserved farmers. In collaboration with the Conservation Fund and other partners, including F.A.R.M.S., the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Duke Sanford World Food Policy Center, Agrarian Trust conducted an inventory of potentially farmable lands owned by faith communities in eastern North Carolina, and cultivated dialogue and learning opportunities with those communities and local farmers. This work, made possible with funding from the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and generous in-kind support from project partners, contributed to an expansion of the FaithLands network and the development of the FaithLands Toolkit, a resource and source of inspiration for faith communities considering options for the future of their land.
This interfaith initiative, open to all, is led by Agrarian Trust and supported by the Kalliopeia Foundation. Since 2020, we have been in conversation with leaders in faith, farming, and land-access projects, as well as with landowners who want to make their land available to BIPOC farmers, start Agrarian Commons rooted in faith traditions, and protect faithlands for future generations.
As we consider the future possible uses of faithlands, we acknowledge the often complex and difficult history of how land came into faith ownership and the historic policies and practices that have prevented access to land for communities of color. We are reckoning with the dispossession of land managed by Indigenous communities for thousands of years, and with the dispossession of African Americans and other communities of color who have had to forcibly work the land and have also been disproportionately denied access to land.
We commit to being in dialogue with communities that have been harmed, and to support and collaborate with these communities in the work toward healing, justice, and repair.