RESILIENCE BRILLIANCE: "We know a lot already about how to deal with climate change," says Laura Lengnick, author of Resilient Agriculture. She offers a solution in the form of sustainable, nature based practices. Photo courtesy of the Organic Growers School

In Asheville and beyond, creative problem solvers are hatching new solutions

Carl Sandburg called Chicago the “city of the big shoulders”; if he were alive today, he might describe Asheville as “the city of the big thinkers,” acknowledging the passion so many area residents display in seeking out new solutions to the issues we face. On many fronts, creative new approaches are being hatched and put […]

THE BUZZ AROUND TOWN: Chain retailers The Home Depot and Lowe's have begun paying out the sale of flowering plants containing pesticides called neonicotinoids, which have been linked to declining populations of bees and other pollinators. However, the president of the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association maintains that a pest called the varroa mite, not pesticides, is the greatest threat to bees. In this file photo, urban beekeeper, Sage Turner shows off some of the bees in her West Asheville backyard. Photo by Carrie Eidson

Bees here now: Home Depot and Lowe’s to phase out neonic-treated plants

In the past few months, two major chain retailers have been busy bees. Both The Home Depot and Lowe’s have begun phasing out the sale of flowering plants containing pesticides called neonicotinoids, which have been linked to declining populations of bees and other pollinators. “Right now, 80 percent of our flowering plants are neonic-free, and […]

Give!Local-stacked

Community Calendar Highlights­: Give!Local nonprofit events from 12/23 through 12/31

This is the last week to donate to the Give!Local campaign! So far there have been over 290 donations made, with an average donation of $89. The largest donation so far has been for $2,100 and the campaign has made over $26,000 (as of Monday Dec. 21). Thanks to all those who have donated so […]

REVIVING THE HOMESTEAD: North Carolina has long been defined by its agriculture industry. As development pressures and rising land costs threaten to consume viable farmland acorss the state, public officials and private land trusts are working to preserve N.C.'s farming heritage and revitalize existing farms. Photo courtesy of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.

Eyes on the future: Saving WNC’s farms

Robin Reeves is the sixth generation to grow up on her family’s Madison County farm — a lineage that dates back to before the Civil War. Reeves spent much of her youth helping her parents raise cattle, burley tobacco and tomatoes as well as her extended family in Sandy Mush. As an adolescent, she sold […]

A COVETED HERB: In 2012, the U.S. exported 45,000 pounds of wild ginseng and 342,000 pounds of the cultivated woodland crop, pictured above. The dried root sells for $500 to $2,000 per pound. Photo by Heather Wood Buzzard

Sustainabl­e ginseng: legendary herb’s best-kept secret

BY HEATHER WOOD BUZZARD November marks the tail end of “’sang” season, but relics of the harvest time remain: hand-scrawled signs declaring “Will Buy Ginseng – No License Needed” and reports of recent poaching on both private and public lands. Ginseng hunters and buyers have been everywhere this autumn, but where’s the ginseng? People reach […]

CAN DO: Oskar Blues Brewery’s CAN’d Aid Foundation has offered $1.2 million in grants to quirky organizations since its inception two years ago. The underlying mission is to promote towns, active lifestyles, arts and the environment.

Small bites: Oskar Blues Big Money Chili-onaire cook-off promotes ‘do-goodery’

Oskar Blues’ CAN’d Aid Foundation is seeking competitive talents for its chili cook-off in Brevard. Meanwhile, FEAST and Asheville Middle School team up for a pie fundraiser; MetroWines’ Anita Riley invites two women behind Hi-Wire Brewing’s branding to the shop; Smiling Hara Tempeh’s Hempeh makes its way to grocery shelves; and Lex 18 hosts an Appalachian-themed evening.

NEED FOR SPEED: Taylor Earnhardt Putnam has carried on her family's legacy of competition into her own chosen profession in the professional rodeo circuit. She competes this weekend at the WNC Ag Center for the title of "All-Around Cowgirl" in the SRA Finals. Photo by Darrell Stewart Photography.

Racetrack to rodeo: Taylor Earnhardt Putnam carries on family legacy in SRA finals

Putnam comes into this weekend’s Finals competition as the leading “All Around Cowgirl,” having scored more points in multiple categories than her competitors, in addition to being ranked fourth overall in barrel racing and ninth in breakaway roping. True to her family legacy, she has established herself as a top competitor in her chosen sport, translating her heritage of winning and love for speed from the asphalt to the cow-pen.

Asheville Music School Rock Band closed the event with a rendition of "Sweet Dreams." Photo by Jeff Tallman

Give!Local kickoff: Very auspicious and very Asheville

Give!Local raised nearly $1,000 in its opening day and many of the nonprofits raised additional money at the kickoff event. Thirty nonprofits, their boards, two food vendors, three bands, a dinosaur and a ghost pepper all convened along with about 200 people from the public.

SERVING THE COMMUNITY: Since it's grassroots origins as a small, owner-led grocer in 1975, the French Broad Food Co-op has grown into one of the most popular businesses in downtown Asheville. The FBFC now plans to expand its facilities and offerings and is proposing ideas for addressing community issues of affordability and housing. Photo via the French Broad Food Co-op.

It takes a village: French Broad Food Co-op announces expansion proposals

The iconic community-owned food market and grocer has announced initial plans to expand its current space on the 60-100 block of Biltmore Avenue and is reaching out to community organizations and the city of Asheville to begin discussions on the possibility of a massive multiuse facility.

THE SPICE OF LIFE: The two basic categories of garlic are hardneck and softneck, and there are numerous varieties running the flavor gamut from mild to spicy-hot.

Hardnecks and softnecks: Talking garlic with Root Bottom Farm

Thai fire, Sicilian silver, German red: The world of garlic is far more exotic than one might expect from perusing the plain, white varieties found in most supermarket aisles. Root Bottom Farm owners Morgan and Sarah Decker are working to spread the word about the diverse types of the pungent, flavorful bulb that can be grown in Western North Carolina.