Small bites: Will cycle for food justice

PEDAL OUT: Gabriel Whitlock will traverse five states, totaling 1,480 miles in an effort to raise funds and draw attention to The Lord's Acre and food justice. Photo by April Tarjick Photography

Gabriel Whitlock has enjoyed cycling since he was a student at Warren Wilson College. After graduating in 2016, he began pushing himself with long-distance tours, including a ride from New Orleans to Minneapolis.

More recently, he has been preparing for a journey that combines his passion for riding with his interest in food justice and sustainability. On Tuesday, Jan. 8, Whitlock will begin his latest tour, which will take him from his home in Fairview to Little Rock, Ark.

Prior to his departure, the Fairview Library will host Whitlock for a talk about his upcoming trip. The event runs  7-8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7.

There are several reasons behind the excursion, Whitlock explains. In part, the outing is a charity ride for The Lord’s Acre, a local nonprofit and donation garden, where Whitlock previously interned. “I saw this fundraiser as a chance to give back to all that The Lord’s Acre has given to me and just make that circle complete,” he says.

Along with raising funds, Whitlock also hopes the tour will call attention to the nonprofit’s ongoing and evolving mission. In 2018, The Lord’s Acre donated nearly 170,000 servings of fresh, organic produce to food-insecure residents. And beginning in 2019, the nonprofit will create a racial equity team as part of its effort to encourage marginalized and underrepresented groups to frequent the space and participate in programming.

As part of his trip, Whitlock also plans to attend the 2019 Southern SAWG Conference in Little Rock. This year’s annual meeting will focus on tools and solutions for sustaining family farms. Afterward, he will make the journey back home where he intends to share his experiences with his community as well as members of The Lord Acre’s board.

“Who bikes over 1,000 miles in January to attend a sustainable agriculture conference and draw awareness to the issues of poverty and hunger?” writes The Lord’s Acre garden manager Susan Sides in an email exchange with Xpress. “A very passionate and caring human, that’s who. It’s been our privilege to host Gabriel Whitlock as an intern this season, and we’re incredibly honored that he’s taking this ride to draw attention to the fact that donation gardens and farms exist across the country and that their grassroots vision for community solutions to hunger is not only doable, it’s urgent.”

Whitlock will discuss his upcoming journey 7-8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7, at the Fairview Library, 1 Taylor Road. To learn more and to donate to the upcoming tour, visit

Green tea class and tasting

On Sunday, Jan. 6, Dobra Tea will host a green tea class and tasting at its downtown shop. The event will be lead by Miles Cramer, who notes the course will take students through the varieties of green tea served in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. “Green tea is my favorite style of tea, because it requires some patience to brew properly and fully save the fresh, delicate flavor,” Cramer says. “We will learn how to properly prepare this often misunderstood style of tea.”

Green Tea Class and Tasting runs 9-11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 6, at Dobra Tea, 78 N. Lexington Ave. Tickets are $20 per person. To purchase, visit

Asheville Wine Focus Group

Metro Wines will host its Asheville Wine Focus Group on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The event will be led by Richard McKinney and Nick Demos from Tryon Distributing. Four wines will be presented, and stories will be shared about each. “This night marks one year of working the Asheville Wine Focus Group at Metro Wines,” says co-owner Gina Trippi in a press release. “The group has been incredibly helpful in guiding us to provide what our customers want to see on the shelves.”

The Asheville Wine Focus Group will meet 5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, at Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte St. The event is free to attend, but reservations are required. To register, call 828-575-9525 or visit

Monk’s Flask now open

Thirsty Monk recently launched Monk’s Flask, a cocktail and wine bar, in South Asheville. The establishment offers a variety of craft cocktails, wine by the glass and bottle, Thirsty Monk beers, spirit-pairing flights and a curated food menu. In a press release, Barry Bialik, Thirsty Monk CEO, notes his excitement over bringing “a slightly more intimate space for cocktail and wine sipping,” to South Asheville.

Monk’s Flask is at 2 Town Square Blvd., No.160. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-midnight; Friday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-1:30 a.m.; Sunday 4 -10 p.m. For more information, visit


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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