West Asheville Garden Stroll: Catch the urban-gardening bus (aka LaZoom), or simply walk and appreciate the unique creativity and ingenuity of West Asheville’s private, community and school gardens on Saturday, Sept. 12. It’s the first-ever West Asheville Garden Stroll, featuring demos, music, food and beverage, and the chance to learn how to add diversity and artistry to your garden using stonework, metal work, original objects, crafts, trees, shrubs, paths, vermiculture, raised beds — or how to deal with pests. Co-sponsored by the West Asheville Business Association and Asheville GreenWorks, the daylong, rain-or-shine stroll starts with a kickoff at 10:30 a.m. at the West Asheville Public Library. For more info, visit the Web site, www.westashevillegardens.com.
Local schools win USDA grants: They’ll be seeing more green at Emma, Johnston and Pisgah elementary schools this year, thanks to a $1.8 million grant North Carolina schools received from the USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The three local schools snagged $83,389 total (Emma, $38,733; Johnston, $28,328 and Pisgah, $16,328) for purchasing and serving a variety of FREE fruits and vegetables as daily snacks for ALL students. Participating schools may provide fruit baskets inside classrooms, kiosks in the hallways, and other innovative approaches to give students the opportunity, and the encouragement, to grab a fresh fruit or vegetable snack during the school day.
September is Food Safety Month:The North Carolina Cooperative Extension, in cooperation with the N.C. Fresh Produce Safety Task Force, is leading an initiative to educate fruit and vegetable growers and consumers about measures that can minimize food-safety risks. With more than $250,000 in grants, the statewide effort includes training Extension agents who, in turn, will train producers in Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), such as verifying the safety of irrigation water, regular hand washing, packing-facility and transportation-vehicle cleanliness, maintenance of “cold chain” temperature and traceability. For more info, visit www.ncfreshproducesafety.org, which has been developed as a resource for growers, consumers and Extension agents.
— Margaret Williams