The Kingston Land Trust Fundraises to Acquire 54 Acres for Land in Black Hands Program
KINGSTON, January 2024 — The Kingston Land Trust (KLT) announces a critical milestone in its mission to address historical inequities in land access and ownership with the launch of the Land in Black Hands Program. This groundbreaking initiative aims to empower BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) farmers and growers by securing 54 acres of land straddling the City of Kingston and Town of Ulster.
The Land in Black Hands Program, conceived nearly five years ago, has been shaped by extensive community input, including annual Black History Month events and the Land In Black Hands Steering Committee. This initiative marks a defining moment in the KLT's commitment to fostering inclusive and equitable relationships with the environment. The fact that BIPOC farmers, growers, and land stewards currently own less than 2% of New York farmland, highlights the urgency and pressing need for action. Through the acquisition of this land, the KLT endeavors to dismantle systemic barriers, promote economic justice, and foster inclusive environments, ensuring safe and welcoming spaces for BIPOC communities.
The envisioned site, one of the last remaining farms in Kingston, will serve as the epicenter for the program—a dynamic hub for hands-on learning in agricultural practices. This transformative sanctuary will not only provide space for farmers to launch their projects but also establish a residency program for long-term project incubation.
With approximately 6 acres designated for regenerative agriculture and 47 acres of biodiverse forest, wetland, and ridge habitat, the acquisition aligns with the City of Kingston Open Space Plan's 2030 goal of protecting 60 acres of "biologically important" urban forest land in the Rondout Uplands (20 acres have already been protected and made accessible to the public by the KLT and Northeastern Caves Conservancy).
Shaniqua Bowden, Director of Cultural Engagement and Sustainable Living at KLT, emphasizes the urgency of addressing racial disparities in land ownership. "This project goes beyond conventional land trust functions; it's about justice and transformative change," says Shaniqua. "Without deliberate action, we cannot bridge the generational gap experienced by Black Americans in their connection to nature."
To make the land acquisition possible, the Kingston Land Trust needs to raise $30,000 by February 19th. Contributions will not only preserve and steward a vital local ecosystem but also support a community-driven initiative dedicated to racial and environmental justice. As we seize this pivotal moment, we invite you to join us, engage in the dialogue, and, if you are so positioned, contribute financially to this public investment.
For more information and to donate, please visit https://donorbox.org/land-in-black-hands-fund
Director of Cultural Engagement and Sustainable Living