Not only will local photographer Ken Abbott's pictures of Hickory Nut Gap Farm make it into his forthcoming book Useful Work, but the artist's visuals will also be on display at the Asheville Art Museum from Friday, July 24, until Sunday, October 11. Photo of longtime farm employee Clarence McAbee by Abbott

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 a photo book capturing Hickory Nut Gap Farm’s storied past and present, a “Barnraiser” to help the farm build a kitchen and butchery on-site and a mobile app for mental wellness information hub MindPod Network.

Still from Wings of Life documentary.

Wings of Life documentar­y explores the lives of pollinator­s

In its continuing recognition of Asheville’s Pollination Celebration week, Bee City USA hosted a screening of Disneynature’s Wings of Life at the Fine Art Theatre on Thursday, June 19. The screening, which served as a benefit for Bee City USA, offered attendees a chance to understand the mysteries of pollination as told from the perspective of several types of flowers.

Buzzing with activity: Sage Turner, urban beekeeper and finance manager for the French Broad Food Co-Op, keeps hives in her West Asheville backyard and on the roof of the co-op building. Turner is one of a growing number of Ashevilleans who have taken up beekeeping to protect pollinators from threats including habitat loss and pesticides.

Pollinator week creates a buzz for the bees

Bee City USA will host its third annual Pollinator Celebration, a week of pollinator-centric events — held from Thursday, June 11, until Sunday, June 21 — designed to invite the public into the world of pollinators. The Asheville celebration aligns with National Pollinator Week sponsored by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign.

Firefly Gathering 2014 at Bell's Cove, a 300-acre, private lot in Barnardsville. The Gathering will be held here for the 3rd year. Photog: Oliver Fleming.

Firefly Gathering teaches primitive skills as a culturally transforma­tive experience

This year’s Firefly Gathering, being held June 25-28 in Barnardsville, aims to take its transformation potential a step further, putting cultural transformation at the forefront. The gathering, now in its eighth year, has always been geared toward changing participants’ lives through a variety of classes based on radical ideas and concepts, but this summer, directors are working to make that goal explicit instead of implicit.

Finding something lost: A sense of serenity and a connection to others are two of the things often lost in addiction, notes Craig White of First Step Farm. But those are also the very two things this farm-based recovery program seeks to grow.

Harvesting serenity: First Step Farms uses agricultur­e to overcome addiction

First Step Farms WNC is two farmsteads, both located on historic farmland in Candler. One site grows vegetable starts for small farms; the other grows flowers for weddings and school graduations. But the farms’ primary purpose goes beyond agriculture — the two sites are home to a substance abuse recovery program that uses farming to restore self-confidence in recovering addicts.

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.