Hylton, a fifty-nine-year-old Jamaican with dreadlocks and a rolling accent, belongs to a community organization that supports small black-owned farms like this one. Once part of the estate of General Hartwell Hill Tarver, one of Georgia’s wealthiest slave owners, the land was sold in 1912 to the farmers who planted the pecan grove. These days it belongs to New Communities, a black farming cooperative founded in the Sixties that is widely considered to be the country’s first community land trust.
A CLT is a mechanism by which land is held in trust and managed by a nonprofit, used for whatever a community chooses, whether that’s housing, small businesses, cultural spaces, gardens, parks, or farms. The land is owned by a trust, which keeps it out of speculators’ hands, but residences and other structures can be privately owned and inherited, allowing community members to build wealth.