Chestnut Mountain entrance

Green in brief: Chestnut Mountain Nature Park opens to public

About 35 acres of the nearly 450-acre tract — purchased by the nonprofit Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in 2020 and recently transferred to the town of Canton — are now open, including the Berm Park mountain bike skills course and a mixed-use hiking/biking trail.

Kylie Barnes, water quality administrator for MountainTrue

Green in brief: MountainTr­ue seeks ban on single-use plastics

A study conducted by MountainTrue found an average of 19 microplastic particles — pieces smaller than 5 millimeters, formed by the breakdown of larger plastics — per liter of water in local river systems. Exposure to microplastics has been tied to allergic reactions and other health impacts in humans, as well as negative effects on fish.

Q&A: Charlie Jackson, founder of Appalachia­n Sustainabl­e Agricultur­e Project

At many grocery stores in the area, consumers can find at least some local produce, meat or dairy products. Plenty of restaurants tout local ingredients on their menus and  farmers markets are ubiquitous here. But it wasn’t always that way. “It’s hard to remember what it was like 20 years ago, but there was not […]

Lakeside Produce light pollution

WNC wrestles with light pollution

With the notable exception of the IDA-certified dark sky park at the PARI in Transylvania County — one of only two such facilities in the state — no sky in Western North Carolina is untouched by light pollution. Central Asheville can reach as high as a 6 on the Bortle Scale, in which 1 is complete darkness and 9 is the Las Vegas Strip.

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.