The 40 Acre Conservation League is a Black-led, nonprofit, land conservancy formed with the goal of fostering greater human connections to nature to increase community support for its protection. Our plan to foster these connections, particularly among people of color, involves acquiring land for the following purposes:
- Land conservation which we refer to as “environmental Justice”; and
- Eliminating barriers that inhibit participation in the outdoor economy by people of color.
- Participation Means:
- Economic participation as a business enterprise in the outdoor economy (Economic Justice)
- Consumer participation in the form of recreation in the Great Outdoors (Recreational Justice)
- Participation Means:
The three pillars of this organization’s mission are:
- Economic Justice – Utilizing acquired lands to incubate minority, disadvantaged-business-enterprises, as concessionaires, in the U.S. Outdoor Economy, a multi-trillion-dollar U.S. market.
- Environmental Justice – Helping California and the U.S. achieve its 30 x 2030 conservation goals through the acquisition and conservation of scenic, productive, and recreational lands.
- Recreational Justice – Utilizing acquired lands to develop recreational spaces that are publicly accessible, culturally relevant, accommodating, and safe.
We are leading a renaissance in the acquisition of pristine and productive lands and intend to conserve more than 4,000 of land for the purpose of advancing thriving eco and agricultural enterprises that intersect with outdoor recreation, hospitality, clean energy generation, emerging ecohealth and ecowellness industries, and similarly compatible opportunities.
The 40 Acre Conservation League believes that conservation and economic justice are coequal, mutually inclusive goals. We are thrilled about the long-term prospects of offsetting GHG emissions and reducing atmospheric CO2 through a variety of carbon sink activities, forest management practices, and land management. However, economic empowerment and economic justice through an environmental stewardship lens wake us up in the morning and inspire us to do this work.
"We are leading a renaissance in the acquisition of pristine and productive lands"
Special Field Order 15
At the conclusion of the American Civil War, Commanding General William Tecumseh Sherman convened 20 Black Ministers on the second floor of his headquarters in Savannah, Georgia. A question had arisen as to what freedom really meant for emancipated slaves. Without property, money, or an education, most did not have a clear or immediate path toward economic independence and thus were not “free” in purest essence of the word.
Approximately four days later, General Sherman issued Special Field Order 15 which set aside land along the Southeast coast so that “each family shall have a plot of not more than forty acres of tillable ground.” This plan later became known by a signature phrase: “40 acres and a mule.” However, President Andrew Johnson, who ascended to the presidency following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, effectively shattered the promise that was Special Field Order 15.
Numerous families make the decision to conserve their lands by donating the land or placing the land under a conservation easement. Unfortunately, few Black families are similarly situated, lacking land holdings to pass down to heirs.
Our ambitions concerning this goal are inspired by the vision that was set forth in Special Field Order 15 and we are committed to advancing conservation in parallel with economic justice, and wellness through exposure to nature.