Organic Opportunities: Special Briefing from the Field in Northeastern NC

March 21, 2018

On March 21, 2018, Croatan Institute presented a special briefing on the release of “Organic Opportunities,” a major economic development prospectus for expanding the regional value chain associated with organic food and agriculture in Northeastern North Carolina. This event was held in Raleigh, NC, with remote participants joining from around the country.

The Organic Agriculture Revitalization Strategy (OARS) is an initiative that seeks to take advantage of growing consumer and investor interest in organic agriculture – now a nearly $50 billion mainstream market – and use it as a strategy for revitalizing rural communities and supporting regional economic development.

Developed by Croatan Institute and Earthwise Organics with support from Organic Valley’s Farmers Advocating for Organics program and a growing group of partners, OARS aims to identify business and economic development opportunities in regional value chains and to mobilize capital to help build community health and wealth. The first OARS pilot project has focused on a 28-county region in Northeastern North Carolina.

Speakers Included:

  • Gerry Cohn, Organic Valley
  • Ardis Crews, Southern Organic Female Farmers Association (SOFFA)
  • Gabe Cumming, Working Landscapes
  • Eric Henry, TS Designs
  • Joshua Humphreys, Croatan Institute
  • Kristin Lang, Croatan Institute
  • Rick Larson, Natural Capital Investment Fund
  • Laura Lauffer, NC State, Center for Environmental Farming Systems
  • David LeZaks, Delta Institute

For more information about the OARS initiative, see, and contact Kristin Lang at kristin [at]