The award-winning Clemmons Family Farm is a leading Black-led Vermont arts and culture non profit organization. We support a network of Vermont Black artists to integrate arts and culture programming into community-building, K12 education, public health, conservation and agriculture.
We honor the legacy of Jackson and Lydia Clemmons, and are centered at and receive support from their family farm in Charlotte-- one of the rare African American owned farms in Vermont. The 148-acre working farm includes prime agricultural land of state importance, 60 acres of open space, 60 acres of forest and woodlands, and 6 historic buildings. It is one of the 0.4% of farms in the US that remain African American owned.
Our mission: PRESERVE and maintain the Clemmons farm in Charlotte, Vermont as an educational prototype, and a model for preserving other African-American owned agricultural land, cultural and heritage assets in the U.S.
EMPOWER a growing network of Vermont's Black artists and culture bearers with opportunities for professional development, advocacy, visibility, networking, paid engagements, collective healing, and a safe haven for creativity that helps them to thrive;
BUILD a loving multicultural community around African-American/African diaspora history, arts and culture.
The Farm is part of the Vermont African American Heritage Trail.
Our programs feature African-American and African diaspora history, arts and culture and include:
- artist residencies;
- guided tours of the property and historic buildings;
- cooking lessons, culinary heritage programs, and pop-up meals;
- music, dance and theater performances;
- visual art classes, art exhibits and cultural events;
- spoken word art performances;
- workshops, educational talks and demonstrations;
- multicultural community gatherings;
- offerings of arts and culture-based field trips and outreach programming to K-12 schools;
- and family storytelling that trace more than 150 years of African-American history.
- We also provide beautiful indoor and outdoor venues for meetings, retreats and special events in a working landscape.
The A Sense of Place project. A Sense of Place implements a $350,000 grant from ArtPlace America for African-American/African diaspora arts and culture programs from January 1 2018 - June 15 2020, awarded to The Clemmons Family Farm with the Burlington City Arts as our fiscal agent. (Note: We are actively applying for other grants to supplement this grant with additional staffing and infrastructure improvements).
The Goal: Improve community health (mental, physical and spiritual) and social well-being through African diaspora arts and culture programs on the Clemmons Family Farm and through outreach to six towns: Charlotte, Shelburne, Hinesburg, South Burlington, Burlington and Winooski. Through additional funding, the Clemmons Family Farm extends its programs to other artists and communities in Vermont.
1. Increase community exposure to and appreciation of African/African American literature, spoken word, performing arts, culinary arts, and history.
2. Catalyze enriching community conversations around history, heritage and identity in an environment that feels safe and welcoming for ALL people.
3. Foster a loving and dynamic multicultural "community" (in the case of the ArtPlace America grant requirements, “community” is geographically defined) in the towns of Charlotte, Shelburne, Hinesburg, South Burlington, Burlington and Winooski.
4. (Recognizing that less than half of one percent of all farms in the United States are African American-owned,) Preserve the Clemmons Family Farm for future generations as a place where everyone can learn, celebrate and commune around African American heritage and multi-culturalism.
5. (Recognizing that land ownership among African Americans is a rarity, and that most African Americans have never experienced a spacious open-land environment that is 100% African American-owned,) Offer a beautiful historic setting that nurtures pride, hope and a special sense of belonging specifically for African Americans and others of African descent.
Core project programs and activities:
- African-American/African diaspora literature, storytelling & spoken word
- African-American/African diaspora performing arts
- African-American/African diaspora culinary arts
- Creative Media & Communications
- Redesign, preservation and upgrades to historic buildings on the Farm;
- Outreach to selected grade schools in the six towns;
- Meetings, workshops and outreach to communities and artists in the six towns (e.g. planning and design meetings with project partners, local artists, architects, landscapers, scholars, other community members, and selected consultants)