REVIVING THE HOMESTEAD: North Carolina has long been defined by its agriculture industry. As development pressures and rising land costs threaten to consume viable farmland acorss the state, public officials and private land trusts are working to preserve N.C.'s farming heritage and revitalize existing farms. Photo courtesy of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.

Eyes on the future: Saving WNC’s farms

Robin Reeves is the sixth generation to grow up on her family’s Madison County farm — a lineage that dates back to before the Civil War. Reeves spent much of her youth helping her parents raise cattle, burley tobacco and tomatoes as well as her extended family in Sandy Mush. As an adolescent, she sold […]

A COVETED HERB: In 2012, the U.S. exported 45,000 pounds of wild ginseng and 342,000 pounds of the cultivated woodland crop, pictured above. The dried root sells for $500 to $2,000 per pound. Photo by Heather Wood Buzzard

Sustainabl­e ginseng: legendary herb’s best-kept secret

BY HEATHER WOOD BUZZARD November marks the tail end of “’sang” season, but relics of the harvest time remain: hand-scrawled signs declaring “Will Buy Ginseng – No License Needed” and reports of recent poaching on both private and public lands. Ginseng hunters and buyers have been everywhere this autumn, but where’s the ginseng? People reach […]

MAKING HEALTH HAPPEN: Peggy and Stephen McConnell of Mars Hill attended the Living Healthy workshop. Photo by Robert Moore

Land of Sky’s Living Healthy program offers path to better living

For Western North Carolina residents with chronic health problems, help is nearby. Mars Hill resident Peggy McConnell has several chronic conditions, including atrial fibrillation, which wakes her up in the  night. Although she is receiving regular medical care, last May, McConnell decided to get extra help: She enrolled in Living Healthy, a six-week workshop sponsored by the Land of Sky Regional Council, a multicounty agency […]

LOOK HOMEWARD, ASHEVILLE! Asheville's current boom in tourism and development mirrors the state of the city during Thomas Wolfe's life in several respects. The author, who wrote extensively about the changes he saw around him, may offer clues as to how the city can address current concerns and questions facing its residents. Left photo by MAx Hunt. Right photo courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, NC.

Of time and the city: Issues facing Asheville in Wolfe’s youth mirror today’s concerns

Asheville and environs have seen considerable change in the 77 years since Wolfe’s death, yet many of the aspects he wrote (and sometimes fumed) about seem uncannily familiar. And as current residents ponder the challenges the city faces today, a look at several of the celebrated author’s key themes might prove instructive.

CAN DO: Oskar Blues Brewery’s CAN’d Aid Foundation has offered $1.2 million in grants to quirky organizations since its inception two years ago. The underlying mission is to promote towns, active lifestyles, arts and the environment.

Small bites: Oskar Blues Big Money Chili-onaire cook-off promotes ‘do-goodery’

Oskar Blues’ CAN’d Aid Foundation is seeking competitive talents for its chili cook-off in Brevard. Meanwhile, FEAST and Asheville Middle School team up for a pie fundraiser; MetroWines’ Anita Riley invites two women behind Hi-Wire Brewing’s branding to the shop; Smiling Hara Tempeh’s Hempeh makes its way to grocery shelves; and Lex 18 hosts an Appalachian-themed evening.

Personal trainer Teah Boswell is known for hauling clients to unorthodox locations for workouts, including the occasional trip to The Wedge, pictured. Now, the fitness enthusiast hopes to set up her own permanent indoor space for cycling training.

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfundi­ng initiative­s

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise start-up capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable Western North Carolina crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. An indoor studio […]

SHARING STORIES: Local nonprofit Green Side Up launches its "Speaker Series" this Sunday, Nov. 15, bringing real-life stories from Mission's Childrens' Cancer Center to the community. Image courtesy of Green Side Up Foundation.

Keep on the sunny side: Green Side Up Foundation brightens children’s cancer center

A diagnosis of cancer is a terrifying prospect for anyone. The long, arduous process of treatment and recovery not only physically drains a patient, but also takes an immense emotional toll. For children who’ve just begun their life’s journey, the experience can be especially difficult. In an effort to show compassion for young people battling […]

LIMITLESS LIGHT: Through Phowa training, one learns to use a special technique for dying without fear or regrets, explains Dr. Hun Lye (pictured). Photo courtesy Taylor Johnson

Dying and the possibilit­ies of awakening

What happens when we die? Maybe you have an answer, or maybe the question elicits bewilderment and uncertainty. Or perhaps both. Most agree at the very least that we won’t be bringing along any possessions or posterity, fame or fortune, people or places. And, though the details differ, many spiritual traditions concur that—at most—it’s only one’s consciousness or soul that will continue the journey […]