Despite being one of the fastest growing industries in the country, solar isn’t a very diverse field: In fact, only 19 percent of solar jobs are held by women. But with the technology becoming increasingly affordable and the number of jobs in the industry increasing, professionals working in the field say solar is taking off — and providing women with a lot of new opportunities.
Annie Martin — or Mossin’ Annie — is a Western North Carolina native, educator, landscape designer, farmer and champion — of mosses. She’s designed moss gardens for the North Carolina Arboretum and the Highland Botanical Station and her book, The Magical World of Moss Gardening, is being published by Timber Press and released this month.
In a way, upcycling is like the recycling we do with our cans and bottles: It also uses that concept of reusing and reducing waste material — but it’s not exactly cut from the same cloth.
The agriculture department has released a master plan for the WNC Farmers Market calling for everything from LED fixtures and improved signage to a new brew pub, outdoor dining and increased rent for businesses leasing space from the state-run facility.
What does a drought in California have to do with Western North Carolina? Local experts say that the situation holds lessons for food systems throughout the country, including how to become more resilient in the face of climate change.
The massive earthquake that rattled Nepal in April left entire villages flattened and hundreds of thousand of people homeless. But here in Asheville, a team of natural builders believe they can help by teaching locals how to build superadobe domes.
The event, now in its fourth year, will take place on Saturday, July 18, and is organized by Velo Girl Rides in partnership with Ingles Markets and Black Mountain Parks and Greenways. A portion of the proceeds from the tour will support the creation of more greenways.
As more and more people move to the Asheville area, the need for housing is facilitating larger-scale development in traditionally small, isolated and rural communities. But how to approach that development sustainably isn’t always easy to figure out or agree upon.
In February 2015, Hendersonville resident and acoustic guitarist Eric Congdon suffered a severe concussion after another driver ran a stop sign and struck his vehicle. Though he had been playing guitar for more than 30 years, when he picked up his instrument after the accident, he found it was impossible for him to play.
A new program from Organic Growers School, WNC FarmLink and Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy called Farm Pathways will combine peer support and land access with a structured curriculum centered around farm production and business.
Artists in Asheville are turning to the earth beneath their own feet to fuel their artistic expression. They are alchemists who can blend clay with egg whites and crushed stone to make paint, and they are advocates for the land with which they interact.
Bee City USA will host its third annual Pollinator Celebration, a week of pollinator-centric events — held from Thursday, June 11, until Sunday, June 21 — designed to invite the public into the world of pollinators. The Asheville celebration aligns with National Pollinator Week sponsored by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign.
Since the 1950s, multitudes of Appalachian-native hemlocks have been sucked dry by an invasive, non-native insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid. But in the last 15 years, entomologists have discovered, captured and released a beetle, native to the Pacific Northwest, that may be the key to the hemlocks’ survival.
First Step Farms WNC is two farmsteads, both located on historic farmland in Candler. One site grows vegetable starts for small farms; the other grows flowers for weddings and school graduations. But the farms’ primary purpose goes beyond agriculture — the two sites are home to a substance abuse recovery program that uses farming to restore self-confidence in recovering addicts.
With interest in wild edibles and native medicinals growing, the demand on these plants is quickly exceeding the supply — leading to over-harvesting, poaching and a risk of extinction. When browsing the stands at the farmers market or the shelves in an herbal shop, how can you know if the plants and products you’re purchasing are supporting sustainable, local growers or contributing to a growing problem?
Transitioning from the mission-driven military to ordinary civilian life is often when vets slip into unemployment, depression or homelessness. But two farming programs in WNC are working to give veterans a connection to the land, to their community and to a sense of purpose that so many seek.
Shipping containers seem to be the new architectural craze, and with the construction of the Smoky Park Supper Club — Asheville’s first commercial structure built from containers (19 of them, to be exact) — city residents and visitors will soon get to explore one of these buildings up close. But what is it about the look of these large steel boxes that has so captured our imagination?
Recent relaxing of city restrictions mean Asheville is “chickening” like never before. But many would be chicken-keeepers don’t realize the birds stop producing eggs early in their life, yet still require care and attention to survive. As the interest in backyard chicken keeping raises so do the number of abandoned and neglected animals.
As we celebrate Earth Day 2015, we take a look at the status of the sustainability movement in WNC. How far have we come, and how far do we have to go? We asked local nonprofits and regulatory agencies to take us to school by examining our environmental efforts — from our air to our water, from our successes to our failures — and giving us an honest assessment of how we’re doing.
Over the years, Hillcrest Apartments has lost several trees leaving the neighborhood to feel a bit barren. Hillcrest residents knew that the environmental nonprofit Asheville GreenWorks had planted fruit trees in other public housing developments, and hoped to see a similar project come to their neighborhood. Turns out, planting an orchard in Hillcrest was on GreenWorks’ to do list as well.
Mother Earth News Fair returns to the Western North Carolina Agriculture Center on Saturday, April 11, and Sunday, April 12, marking the fair’s second consecutive appearance in Asheville. The fair is an opportunity for fans of the bi-monthly environmental magazine to get hands-on experience with the topics covered in the publication from sustainable agriculture to green home building.