Rural Wealth Creation as an underlying framework

Rural Wealth Creation is an approach to rural development that combines best practices of economic and community development. The approach focuses on increasing local capacity and coordinating regional efforts to better meet market demand through a value chain. Success is measured by the ability of a region to increase eight forms of assets or wealth.

Eight Capitals That Together Create Rural Wealth

Forms of Wealth: Political, Financial, Individual, Social, Natural, Built, Intellectual, Cultural

By focusing on improving not only financial and individual capital but also natural, built, intellectual, social, political, and cultural capital the approach views a region as a complex system. Within this system development cannot sacrifice one capital at the expense of another. Assets are interconnected resources that need strategic reinvestment.

Find out more about the research behind the idea of Rural Wealth Creation.

WealthWorks Northwest - Implementing Rural Wealth Creation in the Pacific Northwest

The WealthWorks framework includes two strategic intents: focusing efforts on a set of integrated businesses that jointly add value to a set of goods services and involving economically marginalized people in the process of identifying and creating new business opportunities. Rural Development Initiatives (RDI) is bringing this framework to the Pacific Northwest. The project is starting with a series of four community meetings to explain the approach and seek interested parties. These Regional Summit were well attended across the state.

Seventeen proposals from across the state were submitted and the six regions listed below receieved funding and technical assistance from July 1 - Oct 31 2014 to explore a wealth-building value chain opportunity in their region. The WealthWorks Northwest team is working to find other sources of technical assistance and funding for the remaining 12 proposals.

  • Baker County – Exploring malt barley production and processing for microbreweries
  • Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson Counties – Building a regional food system
  • Lake County – Agricultural/livestock production/processing opportunities
  • North Coast (Clatsop, Lincoln, Tillamook Counties) – Agricultural marketing and waste management opportunities
  • South Coast (Coos, Curry, Douglas Counties) – Regional food system and specialty food exports
  • Wheeler County – Juniper utilization and marketing

Oregon State University Extension and the Rural Studies Program are proud to partner in this effort with RDI and a diverse set of other economic development groups across the state. Generous funding support has been provided by Meyer Memorial Trust and The Ford Family Foundation.

Check back here for more details as this multi-year project unfolds.