Written by Dakota Wagner, originally posted on ForestHer NC's webpage
ForestHer NC Editor’s Note: ForestHer NC is hoping to continue to feature the great work of landowners within our network. Do you have a story to share with fellow ForestHers? Let us know if you want to host a gathering on your land or tell us your story and we can help make that happen! This article is based on a podcast by Candra Burns of Talking Forests. All photos in this feature by Talking Forests.
A quick jump from the busy I-95 Edna and Tyrone Williams find peace on their multiple-use farm, Fourtee Acres. In the late summer of 2022, Candra Burns of Talking Forests interviewed Edna and Tyrone where they chatted about the history of their farm and their role in the community.
Fourtee Acres is owned by Tyrone and Edna Williams along with their three sons, Trevelyn, Tremaine, and Tyron. The original acreage was purchased by Tyrone’s grandfather in 1916. According to their website, the name Fourtee Acres is “a play on the proverbial ‘forty acres and a mule’ that was promised to African-Americans after slavery, with a twist to acknowledge the Four T’s: Tyrone, Trevelyn, Tremaine, and Tyron.” Their goals of running the farm include generating sustainable income, maintaining native wildlife habitat through sound management practices, and making sure the land stays a part of the family. Resources from multiple organizations, including ForestHer NC, have helped Edna and Tyrone reach their conservation goals.
One organization that has been instrumental in helping Fourtee Acres reach their goals is the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR). “One of the best things [for us] was getting plugged into SFLR,” says Tyrone. “Alton Perry (the Program Director) has been with us every step of the way since 2019. Not only [with] technical and monetary support, but moral support.” In addition to all of his great work at SFLR, Alton Perry spent some time serving on ForestHer NC’s inaugural executive board and SFLR has been a wonderful supporting partner.
Edna Williams is a member of ForestHer NC and has attended both virtual and in-person meetings to learn about conservation. In the podcast, she states that she really enjoys the meetings and values what she’s learned about conservation. “That’s one of the things we want to make sure we maintain here [at Fourtee Acres], the preservation of the property for our children…That conservation piece is really important to make sure the land is kept for them when they’re ready for it,” she says.
For any landowner, a valuable tool to help reach conservation goals is to have a forest management plan. ForestHer NC has several webinars focused on how to create and follow a forest management plan, some of which Edna has attended. She says that to stick to Fourtee Acre’s goals, “we have a management plan and it is very important that we look at it, revisit it often, to make sure that we’re carrying out what’s in the plan.”
Fourtee Acres is a forestry, tenant farming, and natural gardening operation that is a part of the Williams Family Farm. To learn more and listen to the Talking Forests podcast, visit their website at www.talkingforests.com.