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.
“What is emerging is the idea that we’re now able to quantify what’s happening,” says Jennifer Harrison, agriculture and land resource director for Buncombe County, about the ability of farmers to combat climate change through practices like cover cropping and rotational grazing.
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.
As the world returns some sense of normalcy, the desire for the reliability and convenience of a CSA is holding fairly steady, and Western North Carolina growers have refined systems and made adjustments accordingly.
“[Ginseng] has tremendous benefits to the human body,” says Eidus.
“There’s a desire to grow food that is deeply nourishing and has all the minerals and love in it that humans need to survive,” says Maayan Chelsea of Soul Gardens. “We find that just taking it back into our own hands is the best way to achieve food sovereignty.”
Last spring’s supply problems have persisted this growing season — and have extended to commercial farming operations — as seed companies grapple with coronavirus-induced labor issues and consistently high demand.
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.
Increasing heat and stronger storms threaten trout populations dependent on clean, cold, oxygen-rich water. A decline in trout production could hurt farmers and recreational fishermen.
“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.
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.
Burnsville resident Katherine Savage feels a unique kinship with a small patch of ground on the campus of Warren Wilson College. The 5-foot by 60-foot plot was home this year to a crop of flax, a traditional Southern Appalachian fiber plant, which she is helping process into linen that she will someday wear as her burial shroud.
Local farmers markets get set for a seasonal break or shift to winter hours.
Confused by the variety and number of CBD products available at local specialty shops? “Start low and go slow. You can always do a little more,” advises Franny Tacy, founder and owner of Franny’s Farmacy. Tacy and other local purveyors explain how to choose and where to shop.
The beautiful thing with Asheville is that businesses are so willing to build each other up instead of competing, so I’m thankful I’ve been able to quickly find a community that supports me and my business. And I’m glad I got to cut back my hours at my day job. In my personal life, I’m […]
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.
Throughout this year’s agricultural season, migrant farmworkers have struggled to find child care for young kids who would usually spend their days in classrooms.
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.
Xpress photographer Cindy Kunst spent a night on the prowl for the spookiest Halloween decoration displays in West Asheville and Canton neighborhoods. Be warned: Cobwebs and disembodied, blood-covered limbs lie ahead!
Black Folks Camp Too founder Earl B. Hunter Jr. said new marketing collaborations would help him develop more interest in camping among the Black community. And later this month, Asheville-based artist Matthew Willey will begin work on a giant mural of honey bees at Hendersonville’s Hands On! Children’s Museum.