Riverbend Malt House co-owner Brent Manning, left, expanded his production from less than one ton of malt per batch to four tons while working with Sara Day Evans, right.
“Our experience with Accelerating Appalachia was definitely a positive one,” says Manning. “We learned a lot and we got tied into an amazing network of people in our area that we, frankly, had no idea were available to us.” Photo by Pat Barcas

Accelerating Appalachia helps nature-based entrepreneurs get funding

Last year, Accelerating Appalachia orchestrated the transfer of about $505,000 in investment funds toward sustainable, nature-based ventures in Western North Carolina. This year, the Asheville-based nonprofit — the region’s first social-impact business accelerator — partnered with impact investor Reinventure Capital for 2015 and recently invited businesses to submit funding applications online. Submissions for 2015 are due by […]

Asheville Bioneers conclude third annual conference

As Lenoir-Rhyne University wrapped up its third annual Taste of Bioneers conference on Friday night, Nov. 21, the panel presentation “Scaling Solutions for Social Change” took center stage. Three local business leaders fueled discussions about the opportunities and the challenges Asheville-area businesses face as they seek to expand their organizations and contribute to community sustainability as […]

Space Invaders: Asheville Green Drinks encounters non-native plant species

Who knew that a pastime as pedestrian as gardening could be downright dangerous? On Wednesday night, around 20 people took refuge from November’s bluster at the Green Sage Café to hear Bill Jones, president of Carolina Native Nursery, explain both the risks of importing non-native species plants and the benefits of proliferating indigenous plant-life. The […]

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Visioning a positive future with Transition Asheville

Can you imagine Asheville’s sustainable future? Forty years from now, walking down the streets, what do you see? What are you wearing? What are you eating? What do you hear? What do you smell? What might Asheville’s most positive potential feel like? Can you imagine it? Transition Asheville members asked these questions at their fifth-anniversary potluck and community visioning, […]

Joel Salatin appears on his farm in the documentary Farmageddon.

A weekend (and Q&A) with Joel Salatin

Last weekend offered a whirlwind of events for the area’s food and environmentally conscious citizens, including multiple chances to see the “Lunatic Farmer” himself, Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms. Salatin has risen to notoriety through his appearances in Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and through his film appearances in Food, Inc. and Farmaggedon. He […]

Image by Steph Guinan

Thinking big: Buncombe County plan points way toward sustainable future

“In North Carolina, sustainability plans are pretty rare,” reports Scott Mouw, recycling director at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “Not many communities have taken on the task of comprehensively looking at their environmental footprint and worked through ways to reduce that footprint.” In fact, Buncombe County is one of only a handful in the state to have such a plan, unanimously adopted by the Board of Commissioners May 15, 2012. But what is it, exactly? And what does it mean for current and future residents?

Looking forward: Graduate students in Lenoir-Rhyne’s new sustainability studies program are hoping their research projects will make a big community impact. Pictured from left to right: Lenoir-Rhyne Director Paul Knott; students Maria Wise and Alisha Goodman; Professor Keith McDade. Photo by Shara Crosby.

Future vision: Local sustainability graduate research targets real-world benefits

The first group of students in Lenoir-Rhyne University’s new sustainability studies program may be small, but the fruits of their research might eventually have a big local impact. Based at the Asheville campus, the new master’s degree program requires students to complete a “capstone” project combining graduate-level research with real-world conditions and needs. This spring, […]

Shrinking the footprint: Challenges emerge in county plan to curb carbon-attachment0

Shrinking the footprint: Challenges emerge in county plan to curb carbon

The international debate over climate change came home Dec. 3, as the Buncombe County commissioners butted heads over a proposal to reduce the county’s carbon footprint by 80 percent over time. Now, county staff is trying to figure out how to begin implementing the directive and determine how to measure the progress.

F3 project aims to close the sustainability loop with canola-attachment0

F3 project aims to close the sustainability loop with canola

Advantage West held the “Fry Party” last week at a kitchen at Blue Ridge Food Ventures, located on AB-Tech’s Enka campus, to bring local attention to F3, an effort, according to project director Ron Townley, that pilots a new business model for the production of biodiesel from locally grown canola. The program, he says, is aimed at ultimately reducing Western North Carolina’s dependence on imported fuels by creating a partnership among area farmers, restaurants and biofuel producers.

Beyond Coal: Rally against Duke Energy plant brings out environmentalists, TV vampire-attachment0

Beyond Coal: Rally against Duke Energy plant brings out environmentalists, TV vampire

A few hundred people rallied under clear blue skies in Pack Square Park Saturday afternoon to call on Duke Energy to shutter its Asheville coal plant and advocate for clean energy. The event, called “Beyond Coal: A Rally for Our Future,” featured local speakers, singers and popular TV actor/vampire Ian Somerhalder. [Photo gallery at the bottom.]