Fertilizer for the soul

When the heartwarming Chicken Soup for the Soul became a bestseller in 1994, creators Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen began casting about for other demographics to explore. Now, 24 titles later (including Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul and Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul), the indefatigable duo is launching an international search for entries for a new edition — Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul — and they want to hear your poignantly humorous Chicken Soup moment.

In case you’re not familiar with the series, Chicken Soup stories are true, personal accounts — the kind that might be shared among friends, or told to family members in need of inspiration. The brief tales (usually no more than 1,200 words) should, nonetheless, make readers laugh, cry or remember the important things in life. They should not, say Canfield and Hansen, make polemical, philosophizing arguments about life in general. Scheduled to be published in 2001, the book will include 101 stories, all dealing with gardens, flowers, trees and that ubiquitous, all-American phenomenon, the closely-clipped, green lawn. Non-gardeners are also invited to contribute — evidently, even a casual relationship with the natural world can provide moments of insight.

Authors whose stories are included in Gardener’s Soul will receive $300 (and a one-paragraph bio in the book). The deadline for submissions is March 1. Submissions should include the writer’s full name, address and phone number.

A set of guidelines and sample stories is available at (907) 481-2804. Mail stories to: Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, P.O. Box 1694, Kodiak, AK, 99615 (fax: (907) 486-2686; e-mail:

Grant supports Spay/Neuter Clinic

Grants to nonprofit organizations — however worthy the cause — don’t usually make for stop-the-presses stories. But when it was announced that the Humane Alliance’s Spay/Neuter Clinic had been awarded a hefty $20,000 grant from the Helen Kimberly Jones Trust, local animal lovers rejoiced — because the money will prevent needless animal suffering by supporting low-cost spay-and-neutering services.

Why spay or neuter your pet? So he or she doesn’t contribute to the animal overpopulation problem. Altered pets are also less likely to wander off and get injured, and they enjoy lifelong health benefits. Since the Humane Alliance was founded in 1994 — to provide an alternative to euthanizing unwanted animals — more than 45,000 pets have been spayed or neutered. Last year alone, the Alliance treated pets from 10 WNC counties.

So do your friend a favor — get him or her fixed. The cost is modest: $30 for male dogs and cats, $45 for females. The clinic is at 702 Riverside Drive, in Asheville.

To learn more about the Humane Alliance’s spay-and-neutering services, or about volunteer opportunities, call the clinic at 252-2079.

Recyclers, unite!

Passionate about recycling? The Carolina Recycling Association’s 10th annual “Shoot for the Stars” conference and trade show comes to the Grove Park Inn March 13-15. The association, active in both Carolinas (and billed as the largest state-based recycling organization in the country), says the conference’s educational and networking opportunities will make it the recycling event of the year.

Those opportunities will include workshops on everything from “How to Conduct a Waste Assessment” and “Thinking Outside the (Curbside Collection) Box” to “Emerging Technologies.” There’ll even be tours of local recycling hot spots, including the Buncombe County Solid Waste and Recycling Facility, Warren Wilson College and UNCA, the N.C Arboretum and the Earthaven Eco-Village.

And, when all the workshopping, touring and networking are done, the CRA will host its fourth annual golf tournament on the grand hotel’s impressive course, with prizes for first-, second- and third-place finishers. There will also be a river cleanup community-service project, for people looking to work off those Grove Park Inn meals.

The deadline to qualify for the early-registration discount ($165 for CRA members, $210 for nonmembers) is Monday, February 21. After Feb. 21, the rates increase by $45.

For more information, or to request a registration form, call the CRA at (919) 851-8444.

A bird’s-eye view

The Blue Ridge Parkway boasts breathtaking views in abundance. But how do you protect those scenic vistas in a region facing rapid development? Visual-sensitivity mapping, according to N.C. State University’s Design Research Center. And a recently received $20,000 grant from the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation will allow the Center to finish mapping Parkway scenery in Virginia.

By indicating elevation as well as demarcation, such mapping enables planners to identify particularly sensitive areas. This helps regional land trusts prioritize acquisitions and conservation easements. It will also provide a basis for creating land-development patterns that have a minimal impact on scenic beauty.

“This is one of the best management tools that we have to protect the scenic quality of the Blue Ridge Parkway,” said Parkway Superintendent Gary Everhardt in a recent media release. “We’re grateful to the Foundation for helping the National Park Service reach another milestone by allowing the completion of this important project.”

For more information, contact the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation at (336) 721-0260 (e-mail: Or catch them on the Web at Visual-sensitivity map images can be downloaded at:

Support organic farming

It’s official: Buncombe now has more certified-organic farms than any other county in North Carolina, according to the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.

The CFSA — a nonprofit organization for farmers, gardeners and consumers committed to sustainable agriculture — has had a busy year, establishing a new Mountains Chapter in between battling drought, hurricanes and devastating floods. But they’ve still found time to expand the annual Family Farm Tour (in which local, certified-organic farms open their gates, for a minimal fee, to carloads of visitors) to include farms from Henderson and Haywood counties.

The association plans to double the number of programs it prints this year (to 10,000), and is moving up the celebrated event several months (to June 17-18) so visitors can see the farms in full seasonal production.

To help make it happen, though, the CFSA is seeking volunteers and contributors for this year’s Farm Tour. Sponsors ($150 or more) will receive a business card-sized space in the program, acknowledging their gift; benefactors ($500) will receive a larger space. All proceeds will support the organization’s educational efforts.

To sponsor the Family Farm Tour, make checks payable to: Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, P.O. Box 448, Pittsboro, NC 27312.

— crabbily compiled by Paul Schattel

About Webmaster
Mountain Xpress Webmaster Follow me @MXWebTeam

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.