Grants help nonprofit assist local farmers

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy got $43,000 in grants to help farmers In Sandy Mush, Fairview & Spring Creek.

The Janirve Foundation awarded $18,000 for SAHC’s Farmland Preservation Initiative, which has already protected over 3,000 acres of working farms in Buncombe, Madison and Haywood Counties. The Janirve grant will enable SAHC to reach out to additional farmers in agricultural communities such as Sandy Mush, Fairview and Spring Creek, and complete conservation easements on farms in those communities.

The Pigeon River Fund has awarded SAHC a $25,000 grant to support the organization working with farmers in the Spring Creek community in Madison County. The objective of this focused effort is to secure conservation easements that protect and improve water quality in Spring Creek and its tributaries.

Protecting working farms now is critical, say SAHC representatives, because farmland is disappearing in Western North Carolina at an alarming rate: In the last two decades, North Carolina has lost 2.37 million acres of crop and forest land due to intense real estate development. In the span of five years from 2002 to 2007, Buncombe County alone lost 10 percent of its farms to development and 24 percent of its farmland acreage.

“We are pursuing this initiative in order to work with outstanding family farms in the region now before the opportunity is lost, and help families preserve their farms for future generations,” said Carl Silverstein, SAHC executive director. “These farms play a central role in the visual and cultural landscape of our region, which is key to economic development. Retaining places to grow food locally is also important.”

For more information, visit
Margaret Williams, associate editor


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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.