Celebration of Isaac Dickson solar system

Green in brief: Isaac Dickson solar system goes online

Six years in the making, a 300 kilowatt-hour solar array at Asheville’s Isaac Dickson Elementary School was officially dedicated Sept. 24. The $428,000 project is expected to save the school over $1.3 million in utilities costs over its 30-year operational lifespan.

Q&A with Craig LeHoullier­, tomato expert

Craig LeHoullier is consumed by tomatoes. He has written two books about growing them: Epic Tomatoes and Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales: Easy Planting, Less Weeding, Early Harvests. He lectures about tomatoes at gardening conferences. He has been the Seed Savers Exchange tomato adviser for 30 years.  He and his wife, Sue Angus-LeHoullier, founded Tomatopalooza, a tasting event […]

Solar at Burton Street Peace Garden

Green in brief: Solarize reaches lowest pricing for community solar

The Solarize rate of $2.45 per watt of electricity generation is roughly 9% cheaper than the statewide average of $2.67 per watt listed by EnergySage, an industry website. The program, spearheaded by the nonprofit Blue Horizons Project, is able to offer the discount through bulk purchasing of solar equipment for Buncombe County residents.

Cigar wrapper tobacco field

Cigar wrapper tobacco could revive disappeari­ng tradition

The Asheville-based Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture project has found that the number of Western North Carolina tobacco farms declined by 97% between 1997 and 2012, largely due to the federal tobacco buyout. But Matthew Vann, extension specialist and assistant professor at N.C. State University, believes a different variety could make the crop more economically viable for local growers.

Smith Mill Works companies envision a resilient future Asheville

Smith Mill Works is a sprawling, formerly abandoned greenhouse complex in West Asheville. The property’s revitalization began with in 2014 with the involvement of Michael Klatt. Now home to a diverse array of resilient businesses, the facility provides insight and inspiration toward a sustainable future for Asheville and the region.

Asheville storm drain

Green in brief: WNC gets $100K toward charging stations, RiverLink seeks storm drain adoptions

The charging station program, funded by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality from part of the state’s allocation in the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal, partially defrays the cost of installing Level 2 infrastructure, which can recharge electric vehicles up to seven times as quickly as a standard 120-volt outlet.

Platinum Net Zero Energy home

Green in brief: Green Built Alliance launches new certificat­ions, Duke reaches coal ash agreement

“Many items that are now standard construction practices have been removed from our checklist, while we have added opportunities to gain points for new technologies,” explained Maggie Leslie, the nonprofit’s program director.

Danielle Keeter, co-owner of Mighty Gnome Market Garden

SNAP incentives boost market sales for local farmers

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.

Tiger Creek hiker

Green in brief: SAHC conserves nearly 3,000 acres; OGS gets social

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.