NOT POCKET CHANGE: Real estate agents and architects are increasingly integrating an awareness of the effects of climate change on the local real estate market into their practices. These professionals can be crucial sources of information for clients considering major investments in real estate. Photo by Thinkstock

Local real estate agents, architects build awareness of climate change implicatio­ns

Area Realtors and architects are paying close attention to the effects of climate change on the built environment — and gaining new skills to help clients consider climate-related issues as they make real estate decisions. The Asheville chapter of the American Institute of Architects is hosting a conference, titled “Where Building Science Meets Climate Science,” at The Collider on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 2-3.

Goldenseal, a popular forest farming crop, is grown for medicinal use. Photo courtesy of Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmers Coalition

Workshop shares knowledge for raising crops on the forest floor

Many cultures around the world cultivate native, shade-loving plants beneath the forest canopy. Recently, more farmers in the United States have been getting excited about the potential of forest farming to diversify their crops while preserving natural environments. A forest farming workshop on Saturday, Sept. 30 and Sunday, Oct. 1, is geared to farmers of all levels who are interested in growing in the shade.

WASTE WATCHERS: Largely unheralded, the Buncombe County Metropolitan Sewerage District ensures that the waste generated by its approximately 130,000 customers is properly treated and disposed of before it enters local waterways. The agency is currently in the midst of a $266 million capital improvement project that will upgrade its plant facilities for the future. Photo courtesy of MSD

MSD upgrades its infrastruc­ture with capital improvemen­t projects

To fulfill its critical mission and increase its capacity to deal with a growing service area and customer base, MSD is in the midst of a $266 million capital improvement project, which will help ensure that the community’s waste is properly handled and safely disposed of.

The Seasons of Grace garden at the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women produced a bumper crop of squash and other fruits and vegetables in its first season. Photo courtesy of the Seasons of Grace garden project

Inmates grow through gardening program

Sally Reeske has been teaching horticulture at the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women, a minimum-custody prison, for the past two years. While the vocational course through A-B Tech offers inmates hands-on learning and training opportunities via an instructional plot, Reeske wondered if she could do even more for the incarcerated women and the community at […]

IN THE BEGINNING: Reputed to be the third oldest river in the world, the French Broad has gone from a polluted industrial dumping ground to a key cog in Western North Carolina’s outdoor and tourism industries. This renaissance is a result of government, nonprofit, and individual efforts to improve water quality throughout the watershed. Photo by Mike Belleme; courtesy of Transylvania Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Development Authority

Communitie­s along Upper French Broad work to restore water quality

In this two-part series, Xpress invites you on a guided a trip down the river as we examine the work of various communities to write the next chapter in the French Broad’s history, beginning with Transylvania and Henderson counties.

GROWING PROFITS: Researchers at the Upper Mountain Research Station study the potential of medicinal herbs as a lucrative crop for area farmers. At the Aug. 15 Buncombe County Friends of Agriculture Breakfast, speaker Margaret Bloomquist will introduce attendees to the prospect of this blooming market. Photo courtesy of the Jeanine Davis Program at N.C. State University

Aug. 15 breakfast to introduce farmers to thriving market

While Western North Carolina is already known for producing high-quality medicinal herbs, there’s still plenty of potential for growers to get in on the ground floor of a market that appears poised to expand. Farmers and others interested in opportunities in medicinal herbs can learn more at the Buncombe County Friends of Agriculture Breakfast on Aug. 15.

IT'S EVERYWHERE: A view of Chimney Rock surrounded by kudzu. Photo courtesy of Chimney Rock State Park

Krazy with Kudzu looks at good and bad of invasive vine

While pretty much everyone agrees kudzu is a big problem across the South, there seem to be as many philosophies for dealing with it as there are leaves on the vines. At Chimney Rock State Park’s Krazy with Kudzu event on Aug. 12, park visitors can learn about a variety of approaches to living with — or destroying — the pervasive plant.

LIVING THE DREAM: “It’s a wonderful thing to wake up and stand in your underwear overlooking the mountains,” says van-lifer “Mr. Wolf,” embracing the great outdoors beside his van on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo by Hokey Pokey

Van life: What happens when the road leads to Asheville?

Rising housing costs, a longing for travel, the opportunity to leverage technology to work remotely: It’s not any one trend alone that’s driving a resurgence of interest in life on the road. Our correspondent looks at the van life phenomenon through the lens of its connections to Asheville and Western North Carolina.