"Chickens are a perfect starting point for anyone who wants to be more connected to their food," says Justin Rhodes, creator of Asheville's newest chicken-raising film tutorial. Photo of key film contributors from Justin Rhodes' Kickstarter page

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfundi­ng campaigns

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise startup capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. This week: self-reliance through chickens, new adventures at Firestorm Books and a re-published Tarot classic.

A meeting at the 2014 Business of Farming Conference

Business of Farming Conference emphasizes local food production

Over 200 farmers and future farmers converged at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center for Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Business of Farming Conference. The conference, now in its 12th year, is an opportunity for farmers to discuss the business side of farming and make connections that help them market their crops more effectively.

Gather Together: The Haywood County Gleaners gather excess produce from local growers to donate to food security efforts. But the group realized much of their effort was going to waste and looked for ways to preserve more of the bounty.

Preserving food security: Canning foods for donation

For many of us, when we think of preserved foods, we picture our grandparents carefully canning tomatoes from their garden, or the menu at a trendy restaurant featuring sauerkraut or pickled quail eggs. But imagine what food preservation means to someone experiencing food insecurity or to a donation grower faced with excess produce rotting in the field, and the image becomes something quite different.

VEGGIE BASED: Amy Lanou will be talking about plant-based nutritional strategies for bone health and how to practically translate plant-based research into action at the first Plant-Based Prevention of Disease Conference, to be held at UNC Asheville on Friday-Sunday, Nov 14-16.

Plant-based Prevention of Disease Conference brings nutrition experts to Asheville

Nutrition experts from across the country are gathering in Asheville Friday-Sunday, Nov. 14-16. One of the reasons the conference is being held in Asheville is that our local restaurants are already modeling “how alternative dietary patterns and eating styles can be made accessible to a broad population.”

(Photo by Jane Izard)

Mutual benefit: WNC farm animals, owners share deep bond

North Carolina is home to over 50,000 farm operations and in one way or another, the livelihood of many Western North Carolina families is tied to domesticated animals. But whether the objective is food, fun, health or therapy, these farmers often seem to have what amounts to a symbiotic relationship with their livestock.

Panelist at the NCCGP Growing Garden Connections conference. Photo by Carrie Eidson

Annual gardening conference focuses on community building

Gardeners from across the state assembled for the third annual N.C. Community Garden Partners annual conference on Oct. 25, in the Sherrill Center at UNC Asheville. This year’s conference focused on “Growing Garden Connections” with panels centered on creating opportunities for collaboration and partnerships between gardens as well as community organizations.