Soil Wealth Areas are new special purpose financing districts that help connect farmers and entrepreneurs with technical assistance and mission-aligned capital providers that value the social and environmental benefits associated with conservation, equitable food and farming systems, regenerative agroecology, and resilient rural communities.
Soil Wealth Areas build upon the successes of other agricultural districts, such as conservation districts and farmland protection districts. They are inherently place-based and locally governed by diverse groups of regional practitioners and stakeholders, including farmers, agricultural cooperatives, conservation and community-led organizations, value-chain businesses, food hubs, food and farming advocacy groups, food policy councils, researchers, and other aligned local and regional initiatives.
By being based in place, Soil Wealth Areas can be more responsive to the needs of local producers and entrepreneurs and help ensure that capital providers interested in investing in conservation and regenerative, organic value chains are aligned with the imperatives of more ecologically resilient and socially inclusive food and agricultural systems.
In close collaboration and consultation with a growing group of partners, Croatan Institute has analyzed the feasibility of developing Soil Wealth Areas in multiple regions around the United States. Based on these assessments and pilot projects, we are now working collaboratively with partners on the implementation of Soil Wealth Areas in specific places, including in North Carolina in the South and Wisconsin in the Midwest, and we are exploring further opportunities to establish them on the West Coast and in the Northeast.
The initial feasibility assessment for Soil Wealth Areas from 2020 to 2022 was funded by a major Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and a growing group of mission-aligned philanthropic funders. Findings from our feasibility phase can be found in “Soil Wealth Areas: Place-based Financing for Conservation, Rural Communities, and Regenerative Agriculture.”
For more information about establishing Soil Wealth Areas in your region or learn more about this initiative, please contact us.