“[Hall Fletcher] is a great school, but an unrecognized one,” says the elementary school's principal Gordon Grant, citing the establishment's 72 percent rate for children on free or reduced lunch as the highest in Asheville. “[But] a school for poor children should look as beautiful and attractive as any school for any child anywhere,” Grant says. His team hopes to engage students of all backgrounds by “bringing the classroom outside” with an Outdoor Learning Center. Project renderings courtesy of Hall Fletcher Elementary

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfundi­ng initiative­s

Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features Hall Fletcher Elementary school’s outdoor learning space, Roots + Wings School of Art and Design’s expansion onto a new campus and local band The Circus Mutts’ quest to raise funds for a new tour vehicle.

LIMITED TIME ONLY: Asparagus are harvested at Fairview's Cane Creek Asparagus & Co. during a narrow window of time between late April and early June.

Spring spears: Fairview’s Cane Creek Asparagus & Co.

It started with a dare in the blizzard of ’93. Robert Ploeger’s father was having a hard time growing asparagus, and Robert said, “I’ll bet you I can grow it.” That winter, he and wife, Glenda Ploeger, co-owners of Cane Creek Asparagus & Co., started what would become their first three rows of asparagus in the greenhouse attached to their Fairview home.