National | Media Release

NFU encourages land donations for Community Land Trusts

Canada is facing a farmland crisis. If left unaddressed, it will only worsen as farmer demographics shift drastically over the next decade. The need to address barriers to access for new and existing farmers is urgent: farmland is being sold for urban development, land prices are escalating, interest rates are rising, investment companies are buying up farmland, and many farmers are retiring without naming a successor. We need to address farmland access to be able to create the just, vibrant and sustainable food systems Canadians want.

Community land trusts (CLTs) help provide a way forward. CLTs are non-profit corporations created to acquire and hold land for the benefit of a community. First developed by black farmers in the US in the 1960s, CLTs have evolved to help with many issues in the real estate, farmland and housing markets. We see great potential for Canadian CLTs to also secure and preserve farmland and to create avenues for farmland succession. The Agrarian Trust/Commons in the US is a great example, showing how CLTs can better manage equitable farmland leases and support longer term ecological best practices by separating ownership of housing from land ownership, and building a community of farmers with a long-term commitment to working together.

Making it easier to donate land to CLTs would help Canadian CLTs address the farmland crisis. A petition to Parliament calls for changing the Canadian tax code to allow landowners to donate to CLTs on the same basis as land donations to ecological land reserves. Since 2006 these donations have been exempt from capital gains tax in order to make land donations less costly for the donor. This petition seeks to include Community Land Trust donations in this exemption. The NFU urges people to join in supporting CLTs by signing this petition by the February 28b deadline as one way to address the farmland crisis.

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For more information:
Jon Gagnon, NFU Farmland Committee:

Petition text – Petition e-4155 (Taxation)

To read more about Community Land Trusts and the development of this petition, see LAND TRUST INITIATIVE (2020) at

To read more about Agrarian Trust visit