Introducing the Good Ground Initiative

Triangle Land Conservancy (TLC) is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work. We believe that our goal of sharing land conservation benefits with everyone in the Triangle cannot be reached without actively working to end systemic racism, which for centuries has led to ongoing inequities in access to enjoyment and ownership of land. At the same time, farmland in the Triangle is disappearing at an alarming rate. Well-managed farms and associated woodlands enhance our communities by producing food and other crops and by sustaining our local economies. TLC’s core work includes increasing opportunities for local food production by playing an active role in local food initiatives.

After several years of exploring these issues, TLC staff has worked with numerous partners to develop a program addressing three problems in the Triangle:

  • Rapid loss of farmland
  • Land retention barriers and lack of land ownership by African American, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian people
  • Unattainable land prices or leases that don’t provide equity for those seeking farms to grow food

With one solution: using conservation tools to increase land ownership, retention, and economic opportunities for people of color at prices unaffected by development potential.

The Good Ground Initiative (GGI) uses “Buy-Conserve-Sell” as an approach to land protection and equity promotion in the agricultural space. Properties designated for Good Ground are bought and managed by either Triangle Land Conservancy through a bargain sale or by conservation buyers—third-party investors who purchase land in a standard real estate transaction to sell through the GGI.

After the land has been purchased, TLC works with investors, eligible funding sources, and participating farmers to place a Working Lands Easement on the property. Easements are voluntary agreements between land trusts or other public agencies and landowners to limit certain land permanent uses (mainly development) to protect the conservation values of a piece of land (read more about TLC’s land conservation values here).

Because the right to develop is permanently severed from the land, the appraised value of a conserved property is markedly less than its fair market value, allowing TLC to sell it at a reduced price to farmers, foresters, and other land seekers of color who can still utilize the land for a multitude of uses. Selling the property transfers ownership and management responsibility from TLC to the new landowners, who become the land’s stewards.

Easements, Equity, and Economic Opportunity

Working Land Easements purchased for farms or forestry projects are beneficial because they protect a site’s conservation values and allow for continued use and profitability from the land. In the Triangle region, conserved farmland presents an economic opportunity for interested buyers due to the simultaneous increase in population and loss of critical farmland to development. These easements enable people of color to access, own, manage and sell land, all while building financial wealth for themselves and subsequent generations.

If you want to own conserved land to start a farm and other land-based activities, please complete this Land Seekers Interest Form to tell us what you are looking for. This helps TLC determine which properties best meet farmer needs. TLC welcomes the participation of collectives and other groups in the Good Ground Initiative. If you know someone seeking land, please share the form with them.

As properties become available, we will distribute more information about the land and the application process. A pdf version can be found here, to be sent via email to Kierra Hyman, Good Ground Associate ([email protected]), and Margaret Sands, Land Protection Manager West ([email protected]), along with any further questions you may have.

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