LEGALIZED IT: North Carolina passed legislation allowing farmers to grow industrial hemp in 2015. But barriers still stymie farmers hoping to develop hemp as a new cash crop. Photo courtesy of Vote Hemp

DEA holds up industrial hemp in North Carolina

Local farmers are still holding out hope that 2017 will be the year industrial hemp grows in WNC fields for the first time in decades. But the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration isn’t making it easy for growers to source seed or seedlings in time for planting, which may mean another year of waiting for eager prospective hemp growers.

DINNER'S DONE: In partnership with Whole Foods across the Southeast, Smiling Hara Tempeh is releasing precooked, preseasoned products that cut down on meal prep time.

Small bites: Smiling Hara Tempeh’s multifacet­ed expansion

Smiling Hara Tempeh is bolstering its partnership with Whole Foods with the release of a new heat-and-eat product line in addition to opening a new factory; winter farmers markets are kicking off in Western North Carolina; MANNA FoodBank warehouse is sporting a new roof, thanks to several local businesses; and PennyCup Coffee Co. has a new downtown store.

CAN DO: Oskar Blues Brewery’s CAN’d Aid Foundation has offered $1.2 million in grants to quirky organizations since its inception two years ago. The underlying mission is to promote towns, active lifestyles, arts and the environment.

Small bites: Oskar Blues Big Money Chili-onaire cook-off promotes ‘do-goodery’

Oskar Blues’ CAN’d Aid Foundation is seeking competitive talents for its chili cook-off in Brevard. Meanwhile, FEAST and Asheville Middle School team up for a pie fundraiser; MetroWines’ Anita Riley invites two women behind Hi-Wire Brewing’s branding to the shop; Smiling Hara Tempeh’s Hempeh makes its way to grocery shelves; and Lex 18 hosts an Appalachian-themed evening.

Riverbend Malt House co-owner Brent Manning, left, expanded his production from less than one ton of malt per batch to four tons while working with Sara Day Evans, right.
“Our experience with Accelerating Appalachia was definitely a positive one,” says Manning. “We learned a lot and we got tied into an amazing network of people in our area that we, frankly, had no idea were available to us.” Photo by Pat Barcas

Accelerati­ng Appalachia helps nature-based entreprene­urs get funding

Last year, Accelerating Appalachia orchestrated the transfer of about $505,000 in investment funds toward sustainable, nature-based ventures in Western North Carolina. This year, the Asheville-based nonprofit — the region’s first social-impact business accelerator — partnered with impact investor Reinventure Capital for 2015 and recently invited businesses to submit funding applications online. Submissions for 2015 are due by […]