THE ORIGINAL MOTHERS: (left-to-right) Franklin Sides, Susan Sides, Bob Kornegay, Richard Colgan, Ned Ryan Doyle, Terry Krautwurst, Lorna Loveless (front), Jean Malmgrem (partially obscured in middle), Pat Stone (obscured in back), Kathleen Seebe (front), Beach Barrett (back), Richard Freudenberger, Marsha Drake (front), unidentified woman (obscured in back), Joanne Dufilho, Caroline Sizemore. Photo by Hannah Kincaid

Mother Earth News pioneers gather at Asheville fair

Some of Mother Earth News’ earliest “Mothers” — whose roots go back to the 1970s and 1980s — got together this past Sunday at the Mother Earth News Fair, which was held at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher. Nearly two dozen former employees and families met for brunch and to share their recollections from the decades past. I was one of them.

Room to grow: Thanks to a grant from TD Bank and the National Arbor Day Foundation, Asheville GreenWorks has installed a production orchard and community green space in a vacant lot in Hillcrest Apartments.

A community orchard brings a new green space to Hillcrest

Over the years, Hillcrest Apartments has lost several trees leaving the neighborhood to feel a bit barren. Hillcrest residents knew that the environmental nonprofit Asheville GreenWorks had planted fruit trees in other public housing developments, and hoped to see a similar project come to their neighborhood. Turns out, planting an orchard in Hillcrest was on GreenWorks’ to do list as well.

ORCHARD PROJECT: Volunteers came out on a beautiful day to plant an orchard on a formerly vacant green space in the Hillcrest Apartment complex.

In photos: Hillcrest get an organic boost from GreenWorks

Asheville GreenWorks partnered up April 11 with volunteers to transform an empty green lot at Hillcrest Apartments into an orchard. GreenWorks received a grant to plant its sixth community orchard at Hillcrest, with 24 ball-and-burlap apple trees and 36 blueberries. The goal is to promote better access to food, greenspace, shade, community pride and jobs.

Philip Ackerman-Leist

Interview with author of Rebuilding the Foodshed, Philip Ackerman-Leist

Author Philip Ackerman-Leist is among the presenters recruited from around the country to conduct workshops at the Mother Earth News Fair coming to Western North Carolina Agricultural Center on April 11 and 12, 2015. Ackerman-Leist is the Program Director for Green Mountain College’s Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems.

Mother Earth News Fair

Mother Earth News Fair gets down and dirty in Asheville

Mother Earth News Fair returns to the Western North Carolina Agriculture Center on Saturday, April 11, and Sunday, April 12, marking the fair’s second consecutive appearance in Asheville. The fair is an opportunity for fans of the bi-monthly environmental magazine to get hands-on experience with the topics covered in the publication from sustainable agriculture to green home building.

CONTROVERSIAL CONTENTS: Because the sale of unpasteurized milk is illegal in North Carolina, Marshall farmers Kate and Kevin Lane sell raw milk from their Jersey cows under a state-approved label that marks it as pet food. The farm expects to be distributing about 100 gallons of their milk per week to customers in the Asheville area this summer.

Raw deal? Asheville’s taste for unpasteuri­zed milk

Raw milk comes straight from the cow — it hasn’t been pasteurized (heated to high temperatures for specific lengths of time to kill potentially harmful pathogens). Though both the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn against unpasteurized dairy products in no uncertain terms, the product remains in high demand.

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.

“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.

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.