Letter: Local resources offered on food resiliency

Write to Mountain Xpress
Graphic by Lori Deaton

I’m writing to follow up on the Food Security and Disaster Resilience workshop covered by the Xpress on May 20 [“Be Prepared: Local Food Resilience Programs Plan for Future Disasters,” May 31].

While this workshop came out of an AmeriCorps Project Conserve service requirement, as a member serving the Organic Growers School working with Sara deFosset, a sustainability planner, the intention was to bring home a focus on resiliency and what that looks like today. To that end, I’d like to share some local resources that make up a large part of the nonprofit contribution to our local food system in Western North Carolina.

• Laura Lengnick (http://avl.mx/3wi) recently shared, “Resilience is not just a way to bounce back, it’s a way to bounce forward.” How do we create the kind of adaptability that leads to a sustainable future? In community. Together, we can weave a regional food system capable of serving us all long term, regardless of probable shocks to that system. Please do explore these links for information on how you, and our community, can become more self-sufficient, increase our overall health and serve every resident here.

• The Organic Growers School (http://avl.mx/3wj) is the premier provider of practical and affordable organic education in the Southern Appalachians, building a vibrant food and farming community by boosting the success of organic home growers and farmers in our region. Their hands-on training, workshops, conferences and partnerships strengthen and celebrate each grower’s move toward self-reliance. There is a lot of opportunity to engage with OGS as a beginning grower or as someone with knowledge of your own to share. [More info:] Jillian Wolf: outreach@organicgrowersschool.org

• Living Web Farms  (http://avl.mx/3wk), where hands-on learning comes to life! Living Web offers workshops year-round on a wide array of resilience topics presented by staff and guest speakers from around the country. And they videotape them all! Check out their vast collection (http://avl.mx/3wl) to build on current knowledge or explore options for new pursuits. Look for a taping of the Food Security and Disaster Resilience Workshop. [More info:] Meredith Leigh: meredith@livingwebfarms.org.

• Bountiful Cities (http://avl.mx/3wm) is the urban agricultural resource in Asheville. They share agricultural skills and resources to promote social justice and economic viability. They envision abundance and food-sovereign communities. The Asheville Buncombe Community Garden Network is coordinated by Bountiful Cities staff, connecting 30-plus gardens through shared communications, meetups, garden workdays, workshops, volunteer recruitment and resources. The goal of the network is the strengthen neighborhood-powered food initiatives through collaboration. Start a neighborhood garden or help out in one that’s already established! Carolina Arias: carolina@bountifulcities.org.

• The city of Asheville recently launched its Asheville Edibles program (http://www.ashevillenc.gov/departments/sustainability/asheville_edibles.htm). In support of the city’s Food Policy Action Plan, the city offers three great ways to gain access to otherwise unused public land. You can “Adopt-a-Spot” to grow produce or pollinator plants, start a community garden or lease larger parcels of land for farming. [More info:] Haley Mahoney: HMahoney@ashevillenc.gov.

• The Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council (http://avl.mx/3wo) works to identify, propose and advocate for policies, financial appropriations and innovative solutions to improve and protect our local food system in order to advance economic development, social justice, environmental sustainability and community resiliency. Currently in the process of developing a Resilience Cluster, the food policy council welcomes inquiries about the goals of the cluster and nature of the council’s work in general. [More info:] Jillian Wolf: bisoncrow@gmail.com.

— Jillian Wolf
AmeriCorps Project Conserve
Outreach and program coordinator
Organic Growers School

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