McIntosh SEED program has big goals – and Apple’s help

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Apple has explained how it worked with The Conservation Fund to support McIntosh SEED, a forestry program designed to promote racial justice, encourage sustainable forestry, and help fight climate change.

“To promote justice and address climate change, we have to share resources and partner with organizations that have real on-the-ground expertise,” says Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives. “I’ve always believed the most powerful solutions come from centering the most vulnerable communities, not ignoring them. In places like McIntosh County, families are coming together to preserve the land that sustains all of us” …

Apple outlined the part played by the Georgia-based nonprofit.

McIntosh S.E.E.D.’s 1,148-acre forest was acquired in 2015 in partnership with The Conservation Fund and is the first Black-owned community forest in the US. Through the educational work it does onsite, the nonprofit aims to amplify the voices of Black and Brown landowners in the conservation movement.

“We wanted a place where we could actually bring landowners, a demonstration site where they could see conservation practices,” says Cheryl Peterson, McIntosh S.E.E.D.’s assistant managing director. “It puts the landowner in a place of empowerment” […]

McIntosh S.E.E.D. is working with to promote sustainable forestry, achieve racial justice, and establish climate resilience. Through workshops, trainings, and community-centric programming, McIntosh S.E.E.D. is developing a shared strategy for BIPOC land retention and improved climate practices that can be scaled throughout the region.

By harnessing the thousands of family-owned farms and forests, and Black institutional landowners — primarily churches and historically Black colleges and universities — their efforts will help address climate change, supporting best practices for climate resilience and adaptation on privately held land.

McIntosh SEED execs Cheryl Peterson and John Littles explained the background.

As part of their early work with agricultural producers and landowners, Littles and Peterson traveled deeper into the South throughout Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama. They started to notice just how different forested land looked in wealthier, predominantly white areas compared to the impoverished, predominantly Black communities.

While researching available land management resources for the landowners McIntosh S.E.E.D. was already working with, Littles realized it wasn’t just lack of awareness contributing to the degradation of the land in BIPOC communities; it was also cultural.

“In our community, property has been looked at as a liability, not an asset,” Littles explains. “We also learned a lot of injustice was being done in our community; folks would come in and not give the right price on our timber, or the right acreage, and they would just destroy the landscape when they cut the timber. It wasn’t a good look for our community, or the environment.”

Conservation Fund’s Evan Smith said that retaining and regrowing forests is a virtuous circle for the South.

“It’s a sort of twin effect of the US South, as one of the largest sources of carbon emissions in the US, but also because of the loss of forests, which are an incredibly powerful tool for slowing climate change,” Smith explains. “And then at the same time, these populations are uniquely susceptible to displacement and impact because of climate change.”

Safeguarding forests protects the local community as well as the planet.

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Author: Dhanraj7978

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