Market managers and vendors at the markets participating in the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Double SNAP initiative, which matches Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits dollar-for-dollar on edible items, saw SNAP transactions nearly triple from 2019 to 2020, and 80% of responding vendors said they’d experienced sales growth due to the program.
The Asheville-based nonprofit Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy’s work included both valuable wildlife habitats, such as the Wiles Creek and Little Rock Creek preserves, and prime farmland at risk of development. Sandy Hollar Farms in Buncombe County and Bowditch Bottoms in Yancey County were among the agricultural projects completed in 2020.
Making tough choices and trying out a variety of business models allowed Mountain Food Products to keep its trucks rolling through the pandemic.
North Carolina food assistance programs struggle under economic stress of continuing pandemic.
Jodie Williams, a teacher at Bell’s School for People Under Six in Fletcher, recently received a Henderson County award for supporting student health and wellness through gardening. But with many students learning online due to COVID-19, Williams and other local educators are digging deep to keep their school gardens viable.
Food Lion and Ingles are increasing their support of WNC food banks as food insecurity grows and the holidays approach.
The directors of MANNA FoodBank, Bounty & Soul and Beacon of Hope say their organizations are persevering to meet the community’s ongoing need in an ever-shifting landscape.
Three years out from the closure of the state’s only USDA-inspected plant for independent farmers, more than 200 North Carolina farms are processing their own poultry. But due to the extra labor and time requirements, many producers statewide are still putting less pastured poultry on the market now than they were in 2017.
Gov. Roy Cooper said the order would clear up legal confusion about whether an existing moratorium, issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, covered tenants who live outside of federally subsidized housing.
Mother Earth Food and Zadie’s Market have navigated the challenge of coordinating product sourcing, order fulfillment and delivery processes to create online grocery businesses that support local farms and producers.
A partnership with the ASAP Farmers Market and a recently launched online sales platform are making the college’s pasture-raised meats more accessible to consumers.
The revision comes thirteen years after the county Board of Commissioners first adopted the plan and reflects myriad changes to Buncombe’s agricultural sector, from the vibrant expansion of its direct-to-consumer markets to the gradual evaporation of its commodity dairies.
While the community’s need continues to grow, the nonprofit’s pool of volunteers has declined.
The program, explains communications coordinator Sarah Hart, allows the market to make a 100 percent match on dollars spent through SNAP. “People swipe their SNAP card for $5 and get $10 in tokens to shop the market,” she says.
President Donald Trump, accompanied by his daughter, Ivanka, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, toured Flavor 1st Growers and Packers in Mills River on Aug. 24 to see firsthand how local farmers are working to feed individuals in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This initiative will help us gather information to better understand food waste reduction efforts and how we can best communicate those with both business and residential users,” says Asheville sustainability officer Amber Weaver.
Although The Block is closed for business, owner Cam MacQueen intends to keep the CommUNITY Meals initiative going.
With farmers losing access to customers and many people facing food insecurity during pandemic, the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project offers a solution.
As “congregate living settings,” migrant farmworker camps have been listed as high-risk locations for virus transmission — not just by counties throughout Western North Carolina, but by state health officials and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although gleaning dinner from nature inherently offers some freedom from the social framework, COVID-19’s disruptions still reached many locals who normally take to the outdoors in spring to gather ramps, morels and other seasonal morsels.
Launched in mid-May, the program is a $50 million commitment to help local independent restaurants open and get back to work.