MAKE DO AND MEND: Volunteers Ken Huck, left, and Tom Harter helped an attendee repair a broken pot handle at the first WNC Repair Café, held earlier this year. In addition to saving money and building new skills, the workshops keep repairable objects out of the landfill, says Dan Hettinger, who leads the effort locally. Photo courtesy of Dan Hettinger

WNC Repair Café returns to Living Web Farms

Got a broken toaster or sewing machine? Maybe a lawnmower that won’t crank after its winter hibernation? Check out the WNC Repair Café on Tuesday, April 24 in Hendersonville. At the free event, which is run by the local incarnation of a global network, residents can get help fixing common items, resulting in saving money and keeping repairable objects out of the landfill.

LITTLE STINKERS: The brown marmorated stink bug is one of an increasing number of non-native insects that have invaded Western North Carolina. Lacking natural predators, the slow-moving, malodorous bugs present problems for homeowners and farmers. In Living Web Farms’ March 31 workshop, organic farmers will learn how to deploy purchased beneficial insects and biological agents to address infestations that aren’t readily controlled by other strategies.

Beneficial insects fight recalcitra­nt garden pests

The fight to protect food crops against destructive insect pests has become more challenging in recent years, Mills River farming expert Patryk Battle reports. Battle and Boone-based insect scientist Richard McDonald will present a March 31 workshop on when and how organic growers should take drastic measures to deal with damaging insect and disease infestations.

WINE AND DINE: Cookbook author Stepfanie Romine will join Metro Wines and co-author Matt Frazier for A No-Meat Wine Pairing Dinner hosted by Rezaz.

Small bites: A No-Meat Wine Pairing Dinner

Metro Wines teams up with Rezaz and local cookbook authors for a vegan-based wine pairing dinner. Also, Living Web Farms and the French Broad Food Co-op host Fermentation Show and Tell, the Hop Ice Cream Café joins the Thomas Wolfe Memorial to celebrate Wolfe’s 117th birthday and White Duck Taco announces Sunday brunch and plans for a new space in the River Arts District.

IN THE BEGINNING: Reputed to be the third oldest river in the world, the French Broad has gone from a polluted industrial dumping ground to a key cog in Western North Carolina’s outdoor and tourism industries. This renaissance is a result of government, nonprofit, and individual efforts to improve water quality throughout the watershed. Photo by Mike Belleme; courtesy of Transylvania Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Development Authority

Communitie­s along Upper French Broad work to restore water quality

In this two-part series, Xpress invites you on a guided a trip down the river as we examine the work of various communities to write the next chapter in the French Broad’s history, beginning with Transylvania and Henderson counties.

FOOD OR FAMINE: In the event of a natural disaster that disrupts commercial food supplies, Western North Carolina will need to develop alternative ways to grow nutritious and diverse crops, such as community gardens or neighborhood greenhouses. Photo by Cindy Kunst

Local food resilience programs plan for future disasters

A coalition of local food activists, resilience planners and city of Asheville staffers are asking a hard question: In the event of a major disaster that disrupts the food supply for more than a few days, what will people in Western North Carolina eat? A recent workshop looked for answers to that question and brainstormed strategies for collaborative solutions for securing the region’s food supply in hard times.

COME TOGETHER: On the last Monday of every month, Habitat Tavern and Commons will host a potluck dinner called Common Table with the aim of bringing diverse elements of the community together.

Small bites: Habitat Tavern and Commons hosts community potlucks

Bring a dish to Common Table, a monthly potluck at Habitat Tavern and Commons. Also, Green Man Brewing teams up with Verbena Cakes and Catering for a beer pairing dinner, Living Web Farms offers a course on salt, nutritionist Denise Barratt hosts a spring cooking class focused on clean eating and Billy Goat Bikes combines cycling with tacos, gelato and beer.

‘IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SYNERGIES’: To increase soil fertility, Living Web Farms keeps cover crops growing in different sections of its greenhouse at all times. “We try to give each bed one season in cover crops. This greatly helps with disease issues, which are major problems when you keep growing the same crops repeatedly,” says Patryk Battle, director of the nonprofit educational and research farm. Inset, Battle tosses fall cover crop seeds into a stand of summer cover crop. Courtesy photos

Regenerati­ve farming offers keys to a sustainabl­e future

Regenerative farming methods that use cover crops and other techniques to build soil fertility and boost the resilience of crops to stresses like drought are taking root in North Carolina. Gabe Brown and Russell Hedrick are among the pioneers in these techniques who will be speaking in WNC in connection with the Organic Growers School’s spring conference and related events.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Siblings Althea and Matthew Raiford will share lessons learned on their Brunswick, Ga. farm. The Raifords advocate specializing in a well-curated selection of crops and developing value-added products. Photo courtesy of the Organic Growers School

Organic Growers School’s Spring Conference builds sustainabi­lity, community

The Organic Growers School’s Spring Conference is hardly a new event: The annual gathering of farmers, gardeners, homesteaders and assorted sustainability seekers turns 24 this month. But organizers say those attending this year’s edition, whether they’re newbies or longtime conference regulars, will surely dig up some novel information.

LOOK FOR THE BARRELS: Throughout the River Arts District, barrels will be set up to accept donations for the Feed the Body and Soul food drive during the Fall Studio Stroll. Guests are encouraged to donate nonperishable food items, which will be distributed to those in need by MANNA FoodBank.

Small bites: River Arts District Fall Studio Stroll benefits MANNA

River Arts District Artists partners with MANNA FoodBank and Ingles for a canned food drive. Also, Highlands Food and Wine Festival celebrates its 10th year, Addison Farms Vineyard launches a wine club, the West Asheville Tailgate Market holds a Caribbean soul food supper and a new Mediterranean restaurant will open soon in the former Chorizo spot in the Grove Arcade.