Cleaner is cheaper

Taking a hard look: WNC’s sustainabi­lity report card

As we celebrate Earth Day 2015, we take a look at the status of the sustainability movement in WNC. How far have we come, and how far do we have to go? We asked local nonprofits and regulatory agencies to take us to school by examining our environmental efforts — from our air to our water, from our successes to our failures — and giving us an honest assessment of how we’re doing.

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.

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?

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.

HEALTHY ROOTS: Since last year, Asheville GreenWorks Food Tree Project has established four orchards in local neighborhoods that have limited access to fresh, healthy food. The program plans to create 18 more plots over the next two decades. Photo by Cindy Kunst

First fruits: Asheville GreenWorks Food Tree Project nurtures communitie­s

A test orchard at Buncombe County Sports Park in Candler is part of the Asheville GreenWorks Food Tree Project, an ambitious 20-year program developed in concert with the city of Asheville, Buncombe County and the Buncombe Fruit and Nut Club. Launched last year, the program has established four orchards so far, including the test plot; 18 more are planned.

Greening up the neighborhood: Gardeners like Joel Beacola are transforming unmaintained city spaces into public gardens. But navigating the bureaucracy of gardening in public spaces can be a hurdle. Photo by Carrie Eidson.

Greening tactics: Different paths lead to gardens in abandoned spaces

Many gardens in Asheville rest on public property that was once overgrown and unused. These spaces have been transformed but the methods that brought the transformation sometimes differ. Some gardeners in Asheville have taken their spots through guerrilla gardening. In some ways it’s comparable to being a graffiti artist or even a squatter, but some say it’s preferable to jumping through the hoops of bureaucracy.

Wells Fargo offers to replant ‘Treasured Trees’ cut on Patton Avenue; enviro groups want more

A property manager for Wells Fargo recently told local environmental groups that the bank would plant three young trees to replace the “Treasured Trees” it cut near its new sign on Patton Avenue. Meanwhile, the city and Asheville Greenworks are looking at some changes that could prevent cases like these from happening in the future.

Wells Fargo on Patton removes “Treasured Tree” that blocked new sign-attachment0

Wells Fargo on Patton removes “Treasured Tree” that blocked new sign

Asheville-area citizens stand by their trees, as Shannon Tuch, assistant director at the city’s planning department, can confirm. When a contractor for the new Wells Fargo bank branch at Patton and Louisiana Avenues cut down the mature trees blocking the company’s new sign recently, Tuch started hearing “a lot of outrage from the community” regarding the cutting of a designated ‘Treasured Tree.’ Her office prepared a notice of violation tagged to a $2,900 fine against Wells Fargo — only to revoke it when the N.C. Department of Transportation got involved.

A guide to green organizati­ons

Appalachian Voices Bringing people together to solve the environmental problems that have the greatest impact on the central and southern Appalachian Mountains. Info: 262-1500 or www.appvoices.org. Asheville Green Drinks Community members who are interested in environmental issues and topics meet for drinks at BoBo Gallery, 22 Lexington Ave. A guest speaker usually makes a short […]