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Planting the Seeds for Land Sovereignty

Black Oregon Land Trust secures their first 10 acres

For Black Oregon Land Trust (BOLT), land is the foundation for relationship, freedom, and well-being. And for the first time, BOLT now has 10 acres of their own in Corbett for Black farmers and land stewards to reconnect to the land, build land-based relationships, and continue to change the narrative of what farming looks like.

“The hope is that this first 10 acres will be the seed of what could be a 30 to 40 acre hub and model for sustainable agriculture, education, and for gathering and learning,” said Qiddist Ashe, Executive Director of BOLT.

BOLT was born in 2020 from a collection of mothers, herbalists, and community organizers, including Qiddist, who has worked in early childhood education, midwifery, maternal health, and public policy.

“While those seem like really separate things to some people, to me, they’re all interconnected. We can’t grow healthy food, or have economically sustainable communities, or access to housing, or protect our waterways without relationship to land,” said Qiddist.

BOLT’s work centers on eliminating systemic barriers that prevent Black communities from accessing land, and their programs are anchored by three pillars: land access and preservation, farming and food justice, and cultural sovereignty.

“We can’t grow healthy food, or have economically sustainable communities, or access to housing, or protect our waterways without relationship to land.”

“On the broadest level, my hope is that BOLT shows what is possible in the realm of reconnecting to land and reorienting to land-based relationships—particularly for people across the African diaspora,” said Qiddist. “I think there’s a lot of conversation right now about communities wanting to be land-based, but the dreams aren’t often realized because of many real and perceived barriers.”

For the past two years, BOLT has been visioning and stewarding its dreams alongside Mudbone Grown, a Black-owned community farm enterprise tending a 19-acre plot tucked into the hills of Corbett. Mudbone Grown has been leasing their land for five years, growing food for more than 100 families each month. But with leased land comes uncertainty—how much do you invest in the land, the soil, the infrastructure, and long-term planning if the future of your tenancy is uncertain?

Black Oregon Land Trust’s home base vision.

So when 10 acres came up for sale adjacent to the Mudbone Grown Farm, BOLT lept into action. Now as of last fall, that 10 acres belongs to BOLT and has been secured for farming, education, and more. They have a vision for their home base that includes a gathering and healing space, agrotourism, green workforce diversification programs, livestock, a fruit tree forest, and even more acreage in the future.

“There’s a really beautiful riparian area on the land that needs some restoration and care. We’re hoping it’s an opportunity to not only restore the space, but use it as an education opportunity that supports pathways into green workforce roles for Black and brown young people to get into the field of conservation and forestry,” said Qiddist.

Learn more about BOLT and support their work!

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Kelsey Kuhnhausen

Kelsey Kuhnhausen

Kelsey is COLT's Communications Manager.

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