As an independent pet retailer, “Business is good,” says Jenna Wilson, who owns Patton Avenue Pet Co.’s three outlets. Other locally owned pet suppliers agree: WNC pet owners want the best for their family members, and they often shop local for high quality pet food, treats, supplies and toys.
Grigg Sheffield, owner of L.O.T.U.S Urban Farm and Garden Supply, opened his shop 6 years ago and says that the biggest trend he sees is that the consumer base is more educated, curious and knowledgeable. “There’s a big move towards understanding what’s in your food and how it’s grown,” he says.
As families deal with competing demands, organizations that use volunteers have learned that flexibility is key. By smoothing the process of participation, groups such as the YMCA of Western North Carolina, the Junior League of Asheville and Girl Scouts Carolina Peaks to Piedmont are attracting kids to the habit of giving back.
Craig Harper with the University of Tennessee notes that negative public perception about prescribed burning generally arises from a lack of understanding about how fire benefits the landscape. “Many people will argue for increased diversity on national forests, but they don’t want disturbance,” he says. “If you don’t have disturbance, then it is impossible to have increased diversity.”
GemFinding owner Chip Freeman hopes that the community will rally behind his last two river cleanups, taking place at Azalea Park on Saturday, Sept. 1, and Saturday, Sept. 15. “The cleanup depends on how many people we have there to tackle it,” he says. “You don’t have to come for four hours —if you pick up four or five pieces of trash, you’ve done something.”
Located on Amboy Road between Carrier Park and the French Broad River Park, the new Karen Cragnolin Park — named for RiverLink founder Karen Cragnolin — will connect the parkway system along the river’s western bank. But before the property can fulfill that role, it must overcome its past as a junkyard.
Duke Energy has replaced 22 power poles in the downtown Asheville area with 100-foot-tall steel structures that can carry larger electrical loads.
Positive economic news keeps coming, with Buncombe County boasting the state’s lowest unemployment rate for 38 consecutive months, and numbers showing strong growth in most sectors of the local economy.
Physical activities performed in natural environments can have a profound influence on our mental and physical health, say local exercise experts.
The controversial topic of sex education in the public schools is drawing fire from some quarters but finding support from the majority of parents and health educators.
The success of the county’s and city’s goals to increase their use of renewable energy, say local experts, hinges on the availability of battery storage — and lots of it. With one very small local battery installation under its utility belt, Duke Energy Progress is developing two storage projects in Western North Carolina — but will those and future projects be large enough to make a meaningful difference?
Rayburn Farm, located in Barnardsville, grows herbs, spices and a few select vegetables for local breweries.
At the Shiloh Community Garden, generations gather to connect with one another and with the environment.
As people flock to Western North Carolina to take advantage of the region’s abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, they also bring a human impact to wild places.
Arjuna da Silva built her off-grid home using natural materials such as wood, clay and straw. It’s a beautiful structure, but da Silva advises that natural building is best left to those with patience and expertise.
Stephanie Harper set up her vermicomposting bin for under $40, using supplies that are readily available locally. Her worms — which she says are “kind of like pets” — break down food waste, turning it into a rich fertilizer for the garden.
As a biodynamic farmer, Megan Naylor of Barnardsville strives to create a closed-loop system that feeds her livestock, her family and the soil.
Alyssa Sacora grows and cans much of her own food to increase the year-round quality of her diet and as an environmentally friendly strategy for long-term storage. She also does it as a way of carrying on a long-standing tradition in her family.
While reducing the environmental impact of purchasing tools that member households may need only infrequently is a key goal for the Asheville Tool Library, the nonprofit has an even bigger vision. Founder Nicholas Letts says he hopes the library levels the economic playing field by reducing expenses and promoting collaboration.
Nature-based schools are catching on around the country. The Woodson Branch Nature School, located in Hot Springs and Marshall, is a local manifestation of the trend, which emphasizes outdoor learning and unstructured outdoor play.
Danu Macon plans to plant 1,000 fruit trees in Western North Carolina in 2018.