Guiding Principles

Our Work

Simply Stated

We strive to listen to the land and place itself; it is not ours to own, but instead, to steward.  Land is a gift, not a product or commodity.  We hold this basic truth and strive to facilitate access and stewardship of vital land across generations.


What We Do.

We free land and buildings from the real estate market and permanently hold them for the common good. Through regenerative land stewardship and centering community, we catalyze sustainable, place-based economies.

How We Do It.

We work with landowners to transition land and places from ownership to stewardship; we provide access and use to land and buildings for farmers and eco-entrepreneurs; and we address matters of land rights and conservation. Our work cultivates reciprocal relationships between people, place and community.

Why We Do It.

The earth is full of life with inherent value. Land nourishes our bodies and souls, and forms the foundation of healthy, place-based economies. The work we do is part of developing a successive, innovative, spiritually enlivened culture that can adapt and thrive in today’s rapidly changing world.


"Here is where our most challenging and most rewarding work lies, in restoring a relationship of respect, responsibility, and reciprocity.  And love."

-Robin Wall Kimmerer


Guiding Principles

Our guiding principles reflect a diverse mix of ideas and practices from thinkers, storytellers, scientists and elders who have drawn insight and inspiration from the Earth over centuries. Living Lands Trust is continually learning, adapting and evolving, but we remain rooted in the vision expressed by co-founder Martina Mann:

We strive to create more such places on Earth where people can engage their creativity with enthusiasm, caring for nature and human beings in cooperation with nature instead of working against her laws, so that new socially and economically healthy enterprises can emerge.

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The land is alive, and human beings are inextricably entangled in the grand web of life. All life exists in relationship, and reciprocity–continual giving and receiving–is essential to nourishment, balance and flow in the land-people relationship.



Reciprocity, commons, and stewardship coalesce into a vibrant, restorative land-culture that is both new and ancient; it is through the melding of people, place and time that we write our collective story.


With its many forms of life and natural systems, the land exists as a great commons; understanding land as such means altering our sense of “property” and “ownership”; the living land is ours and theirs, past, present and future. Never mine.



Within a land-culture, temporal consciousness spans generations past and future. Time breaks free of the compressed, forced-march of “progress” and returns to seasonal rhythms, even disappearing altogether in small instances of profound relationship or the eternal expanse of universal wholeness.


Being in reciprocal relationship with the living land, as well as the human community that shares the great commons, transforms us from an “ownership” mindset to one of stewardship--of land and its life, of community, of the ancestors and descendants.


A land-culture is dynamic and recognizes the inherent mystery of life without trepidation or fear. It does not come with ready-made answers but is driven by questions, which guide a continuous process of learning and adaptation around stewardship and reciprocity between land and people.

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