Our Community, Our Heritage
Pembroke Township was the largest black farming community north of the Mason-Dixon Line. A little under 30,000 acres (52.4 square miles, about the size of Chicago) of farmland was stewarded sustainably by hundreds of black farming families that became the 3rd largest hemp producers in the nation during WWII and grew tons of food to feed Great Migration families throughout the Midwest after the war. This fertile, acidic sandy loam was the mirror reflection of Michigan's, southwest fruit bowl. Still standing orchards, briars & blueberry patches over 50 years old, unattended, but brimming with fruit are a testament to fond memories that elder Pembrokians share of an array of fresh, delicious fruit to eat, right here!
Legendary stories throughout Chicago from Maywood to the Southland have been told of the Pembroke Farmers arriving by horse-drawn carts and trucks to deliver locally grown melons and vegetables to neighborhoods in need.
For Pembroke to be a Renewable Future Model Community where multiple small solar farms bolster our meager electric grid while generating power and income for the township, landowners, and surrounding towns & villages.
Where geothermal, wind and solar significantly reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. Where healthy, affordable, energy-efficient, sustainable housing is attainable for low-income families. Where climate-smart, regenerative farming contributes to the revitalization of local food system infrastructure to feed the Kankakee Valley & Chicago foodshed. Where biomass is grown to create bio-fuels & zero carbon innovation is allowed to loom.
For residents of Pembroke and the world to access factual, true information about critical factors that are impacting life as we have known it in this northeast Illinois rural town & beyond.
To unearth & share the legacies of this historic black farming community that has demonstrated impeccable environmental stewardship
For justice and equity to reign in a place that the civil rights movement did not reach.
To create strong bonds of transformation to realize our vision of a Renewable Future here in Pembroke Township, Illinois & beyond
ENVISION: Renewable Pembroke
Renewable Pembroke is a collective community initiative working to improve life here both literally & figuratively. Over 150 years of environmental stewardship fostered the preservation of this Illinois ecological treasure; a rare, three microbiome black oaks savanna with endangered plants & animals. We envision safe forms of energy like solar, wind & geothermal; a renewable future as a major source of power to celebrate the generations of low-carbon living and offset the economic sacrifices that have been made. Pembroke Township is already low carbon. It has earned the right to lead Illinois into a zero-carbon future. Renewable Pembroke seeks to renew a rich quality of life here as a regenerative agricultural hub and all the richness that has made this place well known from far & near.
We commit to protect Pembroke for generations to come.