The Longleaf Group started as an idea in spring of 2013, after a meeting of scientists, attorneys, clinicians and other professionals met to address coordinated support and funding for a community health initiative to provide data and a review of recent science about medical cannabis, for healthcare providers in North Carolina. Without a robust infrastructure to manage the effort and provide fiscal accountability, the group's initial efforts, a legal toolkit and an educational program for healthcare providers, could not be implemented, as the group could not acquire resources to execute their plans as better organized and funded organizations could. We recognized that good ideas frequently fail or are ignored if they do not have professional support.
As with many innovations, the challenges and disappointments presented opportunities. We knew that the project needed a support organization to help execute the plan. Since we could not find an organization to help, we formed it!
Our guiding principles are: Transparency - Accountability - Data-driven Analyses
We look forward to providing the highest caliber of professional services to help grassroots community groups build a Cool South.
Throughout 2013, the group identified key initiatives that received little support because the idea did not have established organizational backing, despite the overwhelming data supporting the soundness of the innovation otherwise. These included specific projects to improve access to clinical care for individuals, education and protocols for stress and chronic disease management, issues in mental health parity, food security, and drug policy reform in the South.
We selected the Longleaf pine as our namesake as these trees are an indicator species for the southern forest ecosystem. The original Longleaf ecosystem was one of America’s largest, stretching from the eastern Virginia plains to central Florida, then westward to Texas. Ancient in origin, it comprised one of the biologically richest habitats in North America. Longleaf wood is also one of the most commercially coveted forest products, rivaling redwood and white pine in quality. From the end of the Civil War into the early part of the 20th century, Longleaf timber was a major source for Reconstruction in the South. Its full value was not appreciated, and hence, this important resource was not properly managed. Today, conservation groups are leading the efforts to restore the longleaf, now that its value to healthy ecosystems of the South is recognized.