Four young chefs who got their start in Asheville culinary programs have achieved early success on both the local and national level.
As the holiday season winds down and decorations are packed away, disposing of Christmas trees sits at the top of the to-do list for many households. Even our region’s most famous residence, the Biltmore Estate, can’t escape the task of tree removal. In fact, with more than 100 hand-decorated Christmas trees in and around the estate, Biltmore has had to develop more than one approach to recycling and reusing its trees.
Western North Carolina’s wild places and creatures lie at the heart of the region’s appeal, inspiring local artists and attracting visitors from across the globe. Events in 2018 promised to shape the future of those natural resources for years to come.
Twelve years: That’s how long humanity has left to hold global warming below the key level of 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to an October report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In light of that sobering reality, these developments from 2018 had the biggest potential impact on Asheville’s contribution to climate change.
Gabriel Whitlock is raising funds and awareness for The Lord’s Acre, one mile at a time. Also: Green tea class and tasting; Asheville Wine Focus Group; and Monk’s Flask.
Asheville has gotten whiter over the past two decades. The proportion of African-American residents in the city dropped from 17.6 percent in 2000 to 12.3 percent in 2016, a change city officials attribute to a combination of white influx and black exodus. For the people of color who remained in Asheville, 2018 proved a mixed bag.
Asheville’s human population growth has been matched by an increase in the number of vehicles on the region’s roads. Efforts to accommodate the resulting traffic — or move people around the city in different ways — were at the heart of many new developments in 2018.
Asheville is an activist’s town, and 2018 controversies in local government, including the ongoing fallout from the investigation into former County Manager Wanda Greene and the police beating of Asheville resident Johnnie Rush, gave local residents plenty of reasons to seek change.
Readers, you had a lot to say about local politics and civic goings-on in the region this year. From tourism and development to bears and the county government scandal, here’s a look back at some of the hot topics that sparked your opinions.
As the Democratic Party retook control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections, Buncombe Dems managed to hold onto a few key positions in local elections — perhaps most notably that of county sheriff. Politics also seeped into the Board of Commissioners race, where Republicans fell short in their bid to flip the party composition of the board.
From hemp to herd shares, 2018 was a year of growth and change for WNC farmers and gardeners.
“We have been shouting about climate change for a long time, but now, we feel like it’s going to take more messaging in a different way,” says Avram Friedman of the Canary Coalition, a Sylva-based environmental activism group. “We’re showing people that we’re so committed to this, it’s so important, that I’m willing to fast for 10 days to get this message across.”
“There’s real fear among nonprofit organizations that not supporting the current iteration of the board could mean retaliation in the form of being cut from the $1.5 billion that DHT will control once the sale is final,” wrote Asheville-Buncombe NAACP President Carmen Ramos-Kennedy. “In order to truly build trust, citizens and organizations must feel free to speak their hearts and minds without fear.”
From reusing glass jars, to bulk shopping to bringing your own container for restaurant takeout and leftovers, locals are finding strategies for cutting down on food packaging.
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.
A $940,000 award, to be administered primarily by Asheville-based nonprofit Mountain BizWorks, will fund the newly created Growing Outdoors Partnership, which aims to boost sustainable job growth in the local outdoor gear and recreation industries.
DJs Alexis Wardlaw and Elizabeth Lashay Garland have connected artists, activists and audiences. They are providing spaces for mutual support, both on the air and off. The goal is for increased synergy and visibility of black culture in Asheville.
While organizations continue to use traditional forms of community engagement such as printed mailing lists and media relations, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have widened their scope of donors and support.
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.
When invasive plants reach into productive “rich coves” like Sandy Mush, they can choke out much of the region’s native biodiversity. Endangered and sought-after plants such as yellow mandarin, black cohosh and wild ginseng, as well as thousands of other species of native plants and animals, can be at risk.
As a sacred fire burns, two holy leaders from Canada will share insights gleaned from their lives as resilient survivors and indigenous leaders at the Voices of Wisdom gathering near Weaverville Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17-18.