Croatan Institute Staff Highlight: James Smith

November 9, 2023

What does a typical day look like for you at Croatan Institute? 

You can usually find me either in our office in Durham working on our Soil Wealth or REEFS projects, or at project sites in eastern NC helping address land management issues. I work across several different projects so I’m typically meeting with partners and folks across the Institute to advance our projects.

What most excites you about your work at Croatan Institute? 

I’m excited about Croatan’s vision of integrating social equity with environmental change. I strongly believe in the power of regenerative agriculture to begin to address some of the most pressing issues of our time, and that it must be done in an equitable way. I’m happy to be a part of that transformation in my home state of North Carolina and beyond.  

What is the most interesting book you’ve read recently, and why did it capture your attention? 

I recently read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson which I somehow never got around to reading until now. As someone with a chemistry background who formerly worked in a chemical safety office at the Environmental Protection Agency, the depth of chemistry knowledge Carson demonstrates in the book was fascinating to me. For such a highly regarded book, for some reason I didn’t expect it to have such a dense scientific lens, but pleasantly surprised to see that was the case. 

If you could learn any new skill, what would it be and why? 

I would love to learn more advanced carpentry skills. I am currently starting up a farm in Virginia with some friends and would like to build small natural buildings with elaborate woodworking.