The French Broad Co-Op, which is held downtown on Wednesdays, is one of several regional farmers markets that accepts payment through food assistance programs such as EBT.

Welcome to spring: Here’s where to find your neighborho­od tailgate market

Most area markets will be starting up in the next few weeks, though a few — including the Asheville City Market, the WNC Farmers Market and the Jackson County Farmers Market — are open year-round. With the help of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Xpress is providing a roundup of regional markets, including markets accepting food assistance programs.

Breathe it in: Conservation groups like Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy have protected more than 100,000 acres of WNC land from development.

Conservati­on in WNC — where we’re going, where we’ve been

From the Get It! Guide: Long before the age of Internet lists and online travel magazines, people came to Asheville and Western North Carolina for the intrinsic natural beauty. In fact, the beauty of our environment is what many say makes this place so special. But are we protecting what we have? What initiatives are underway to help ensure that the region remains a respite and a haven for generations to come?

“We're trying to integrate both cultural and traditional knowledge, as well as build a sense of ownership for the kids over growing their own food and their own health,” says Katie Rainwater of Cherokee Central School and FoodCorps. “The best way to do that is to get dirty.”

Empowermen­t from the Earth: Reclaiming Cherokee health and heritage

Cherokee is a community in flux. Decadeslong high poverty and unemployment rates are beginning to decline, but access to healthy food remains limited and cultural values seem to be changing. “It’s Western civilization versus our traditional Cherokee ways,” say community leaders. But community efforts are using gardens to reconnect the Cherokee people to local food, health and a collective heritage defined by knowledge of the earth.

A convenient illusion: On average, the city of Asheville produces 22,400 tons of trash a year. What's the cost of all that waste? Some say the things we throw away are affecting now just our environment but our culture as well.

The consequenc­e of waste: Buncombe’s discarded problem is piling up

From the Get It! Guide: A close look at the trash collected in Asheville was shocking — 26 percent of our waste is compostable matter, 18 percent is recyclable and 56 percent is true waste, fit only for the landfill. With the city alone producing over 22,000 tons of trash a year, what is the cost of all that waste. And what is it going to take for us to reduce it?

John Mahshie of Veterans Healing Farm.

Welcome home: Veterans Healing Farm connects returning veterans to their community

From the Get It! Guide: John Mahshie says he realized the value of the exercise, healthy eating and time spent in the sun that comes with farming — and what that could mean for veterans experiencing isolation or even suicidal thoughts as they struggle to reintegrate into civilian life. “It’s a natural fit for this sort of healing,” he says.

In 2010, hundreds of people marched down Tunnel Road advocating for the construction of a sidewalk between the Veterans Restoration Quarters and the VA Medical Center. That sidewalk has since come to fruition, but a report shows that Asheville is falling short of its goals.

Asheville tries to keep pace with rising demands for sidewalks, bike lanes

From the Get It! Guide: Asheville is faced with a rising interest in transportation alternatives, but the path to greater advances seems to be lined with historic neglect and budgetary hurdles. The city still has a long walk ahead to fulfill its 2004 goal of building 108 miles of sidewalks. In the last decade, Asheville has constructed only about 18 miles worth.

Photo from Facebook.com/MyDaddyTaughtMeThat

Boys club: My Daddy Taught Me That youth program provides positive role models

If you think your day is busy, try keeping up with Keynon Lake. Lake parlayed his pro basketball and sports medicine experience into a career with Buncombe County Health and Human Services, where he is a community service navigator and prevention social worker. Driven to address the questions raised by his line of work, Lake penned the book My Daddy Taught Me That.

Sir Charles Gardner works in the Pisgah View Peace Garden, a community garden and commercial enterprise that grows food for — and employees — public housing residents.

Green developmen­ts: How Asheville’s public housing communitie­s are leading the eco-scene

From the Get It! Guide: Green jobs, lush community gardens, community cookouts and water quality testing — these might not be things many in Asheville picture when they think of public housing. But residents says Asheville’s public housing neighborhoods are investing in their communities’ welfare and leading a growing interest in “greening” up the neighborhoods.

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