Equity in Land Conservation

At TerraCorps, we work to break down barriers to equitable land
conservation across rural, suburban, and urban landscapes.

Land is foundational to human health and well-being, but the social and environmental benefits of land are not accessible to all communities. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and other underserved communities remain disproportionately deprived of access to land even as fresh, healthy food, clean water, parks, and open space are broadly recognized as important social determinants of health.

TerraCorps acknowledges that the foundation of the American conservation movement—land ownership—is rooted in a racist system of policies and laws that displaced and segregated whole communities from the land they needed to sustain themselves and thrive. Together with our Service Site partners and AmeriCorps Members, we are working to break down unjust land-use barriers and usher in a new era of equitable land conservation.

What does equitable land conservation look like? It’s all of these things:

  • Inviting (intentionally) Black, Indigenous, and
    other People of Color communities to
    participate in conservation needs assessment,
    land acquisition decision-making, and land
    stewardship planning.
  • Promoting and acquiring agricultural ground
    leases and purchase options to make tenure
    on whole farms and farmland more accessible
    and preserve the long-term affordability for
    next-generation farmers.
  • Promoting and acquiring cultural conservation
    easements in partnership with tribal
    organizations that grant permanent rights of
    land and artifact stewardship, interpretive
    education, and cultural and ceremonial uses.
  • Reclaiming and restoring abandoned land and buildings to support community resilience and
    sustainability.
  • Securing long-term use of municipal lands for community farming.
  • Facilitating inclusive use of non-profit owned nature sanctuaries as service learning and youth education resources.

 

 

 

  • Growing fresh, healthy food on community
    farms for distribution through food banks and
    mobile farmers’ markets.
  • Restoring urban forests and shade trees to
    help communities adapt to climate change.
  • Providing inclusive training opportunities for
    the next generation of farmers, land
    conservation, and environmental
    professionals.
  • Securing public access to waterfronts and
    waterbodies for recreational uses.
  • Building and stewarding recreational
    greenways open space networks for public
    use.
  • Facilitating inclusive programing that builds
    community-wide connections between
    humans and their local natural landscapes.
  • Facilitating use of public schoolyards and adjacent lands for school gardening.
  • Contributing to community empowerment with knowledge, tools, and technical assistance to conserve land.
  • Teaching people to grow their own food and care for the land using organic practices.
  • …and the possibilities are endless