TAKE ACTION! Stand with Pembroke Black farmers

Alliance meeting with Black Oaks Center, pictured young farmer Akin Carter addresses Molly Gleason, Liz Rupel, Liz Stelk, Kathleen Mueller all seated inside the. yurt on couches and benches.

Protect a young farmer’s future – and pristine agricultural land

As far as Akin Carter is concerned, Nicor Gas’ plan to build a natural gas pipeline in his community is 40 years too late.

But if Governor Pritzker signs HB3404, Nicor Gas will have unfettered access to Pembroke Township, the last remaining historically Black farming community in Illinois, without oversight and critical public safety protection.

Akin is a young farmer who manages the 8-acre teaching farm at Black Oaks Center, a 40-acre eco-campus in Pembroke Township, 20 miles south of Kankakee.

His parents, Dr. Jifunza Wright-Carter and Fred Carter, founded the nonprofit Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Living in 2005 after Akin warned them about global warming. At just 8 years old, Akin asked them “not to mess up his future.”

The Carter family, and other regenerative farmers in Pembroke, don’t want a fracked gas pipeline to the past. They are building for a resilient future with local, organic food, energy efficiency, biodiesel and solar power.

At the 11th hour of the legislative session, state lawmakers passed legislation to guarantee profits for Nicor by fast-tracking new gas infrastructure in Pembroke. Now the bill sits on Governor Pritzker’s desk

If Gov. Pritkzer signs HB3404 as written, Black farmers in Pembroke will be saddled with an expensive, polluting energy source that threatens to contaminate the region’s aquifer and is certain to grow more costly as Illinois moves away from fossil fuel.

Pembroke is pristine agricultural land that’s worth protecting. The region is a world-renowned microbiome, home to a rare black oak savanna habitat. 

Black Oaks Center is named in honor of the endangered dwarfed black oak trees that thrive on what remains of the savanna that once covered our state.

If Nicor is given the right to build the pipeline, the people of Pembroke want added protections for the land, water, consumers, and public health.

Luckily, you can help.

Urge Gov. Pritkzer to use his veto power to amend the bill to preserve what remains of this rare black oak savanna and secure critical public safety provisions.

We all have a chance to “not mess up” Akin’s future. 

When our team visited Black Oaks last week, he told us he is helping change the face of farming for Black youth who come to pick up food from their converted trolley, stocked with veggies to distribute to neighborhoods in Chicago.

He plans to expand vegetable production to 60 acres and add cattle, grains, and fruit groves to the farm, with agroforestry training from the Savanna Institute. His dream is to have 1,000 acres in organic transition and agroforestry.

Thanks for standing with the Carter family and the farmers of Pembroke.