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get it! guide Brought to you by


Our Community Partners

Resilient Communities Sustainable Living

in Western North Carolina

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


ta b l e o f co n t e n t s

Introduction Welcome to the Get It! Guide

Gardens United 5

Features Are we protecting what we have? Conservation in WNC — where we’re going, where we’ve been


Green developments 11 How Asheville’s public housing communities are leading the eco-scene Watering the sprouts 16 Cultivating self-knowledge and life skills for conscious, empowered youth The consequence of waste 21 Buncombe’s discarded problem is piling up One step at a time 25 Asheville tries to keep pace with a rising demand for sidewalks, bike lanes The business of alternative energy 29 The key to the future of a self-sustaining economy in N.C. Hunger stops here WNC’s war on food insecurity


The modern elder 37 Reclaiming what’s sacred in life’s later stages



Green Opportunities


Haywood County Gleaners


The American Chestnut Foundation


The Collider


Veterans Healing Farm


Partner Profiles Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project


Asheville Grown Business Alliance 41 B Lab


Blue Ridge Food Ventures


Green Opportunities


Just Economics


Mountain BizWorks


Western North Carolina Green Building Council



Asheville GreenWorks


How to lobby your local government

Asheville Sustainable Restaurant Workforce


How to become a donation hunter


Asheville Vegan Society


Bee City U.S.A.


How to be a sustainable employer


Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture

How to become an urban farmer



Building Bridges


How to start a community tailgate market


Clean Energy For Us


Coalicion de Organizaciones Latino-Americanas





Photo of Calixta Killander Cover Design: Lori Deaton Photo by: George Etheredge

Contributors Publisher: Jeff Fobes Editorial coordinator: Carrie Eidson Marketing & partnership coordinator: Jordan Foltz Designer: Lori Deaton Contributing Designers: Anna Whitley, Kathleen Soriano-Taylor Editors: Hayley Benton, Carrie Eidson, Jon Elliston, Tracy Rose, Margaret Williams Copy editors: Rob Mikulak, Hayley Benton, Michael McDonald Writers: Edwin Arnaudin, Pat Barcas, Hayley Benton, Carrie Eidson, George Etheredge, Jordan Foltz, Jake Frankel, Max Hunt, Cameron Huntley, Michael McDonald, Victor Palomino, Josh O’Conner, Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt, Gina Smith Advertising manager: Susan Hutchinson Marketing associates: Bryant Cooper, Jordan Foltz, Max Hunt, Tim Navaille, Brian Palmieri, Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt, John Varner Web manager: Kyle Kirkpatrick I.T. manager: Stefan Colosimo Distribution manager: Jeff Tallman Copyright 2015 Mountain Xpress


mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

i n t r o D u ct i o n

Welcome to the 2015

get it! guide

We’re excited to bring you the second annual Get It! Guide — Mountain Xpress’ guide to sustainable living. You’ve heard the word “sustainable” plenty of times. But what does it really mean? Part of sustainability is protecting the beauty that surrounds us in Western North Carolina — from our mountains to our rivers to our pollinators. Another piece is creating a strong, diversified local economy where employees receive fair treatment and living wages and businesses explore more conscientious definitions of success. But sustainability also means branching out into green jobs and renewable energy sources. It means increasing our access to green space and local foods. And ultimately, sustainability means looking out for all members of our society, from high- to low-income communities, from children to elders — making sure access to quality jobs, education, nutrition, the environment and equal representation is shared by all. In this guide you’ll find a directory of businesses and organizations that are invested in promoting socially and environmentally responsible practices. You’ll also find articles, profiles and how-tos exploring local groups and initiatives that are working to put sustainable concepts into action. All Get It! directory listings have been screened by our partner groups and contributing nonprofits: • Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project • Asheville Grown Business Alliance • B Lab • Blue Ridge Food Ventures • Green Opportunities • Green Restaurant Association • Just Economics • Mountain BizWorks • Western North Carolina Green Building Council We hope the Get It! Guide will inspire you to consider your own definition of sustainability and connect with local efforts. After all, the more people who join the conversation — the more people who “get it” — the stronger the movement becomes.

Certifying Partners Green Opportunities Employer Partner

“Appalachian Grown,” Certified Farms and Partner Businesses

Green Restaurant Association Member

Accepts the Go Local Card

Certified B Corporation


Blue Ridge Food Venture Certified Local


Mountain Bizworks Client

WNC Green Building Council Member

Living Wage Certified Employer

The contents of this directory are intended for informational purposes only. The certifying partners and Mountain Xpress do not endorse or recommend the products or services mentioned herein, and disclaim any and all warranties, express or implied, in any way related to advertisements, events, businesses, organizations or other information presented within the Get It! Guide.


Find ongoing sustainability news throughout the year

— The team at Mountain Xpress

Pick up our locally focused weekly issues mountainx.com/guides 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


Breathe it in: Conservation groups Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy have protected more than 100,000 acres of WNC land from development. Photo courtesy of SAHC

Are we protecting what we have? Conservation in WNC — where we’re going, where we’ve been By CAMeron huntley Long before the age of Internet lists and online travel magazines, people came to Asheville and Western North Carolina for the intrinsic natural beauty — diverse wildlife, clean air, lush forests, clear waters, ancient mountains and one of the world’s oldest rivers, the French Broad. The beauty of our environment is what many say makes this place so special. But are we protecting what we have? What initiatives are underway to help ensure that the region remains a respite and a haven for generations to come?

Water Rivers have been key to the development and survival of many cities, but getting people to understand their importance hasn't always been easy. The story of the French Broad is one of transformation and survival. Karen Cragnolin, executive director of RiverLink, describes the evolution of Asheville’s waterfront — from a thriving business and community center wiped out by a flood in 1916 to a semi-deserted warehouse district and polluted waterway in the mid6

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

20th century. Today though, the waterfront is home to the bustling River Arts District, which draws both visitors and residents to popular restaurants and studio tours. Cragnolin credits the river’s economic and environmental renewal to the writings of local activist Wilma Dykeman in the 1950s and the continued work of residents, activists and groups like RiverLink, which launched in 1989. Cragnolin says RiverLink’s work to restore the environmental and recreational health of the river is ongoing. “We realized this was a 60-year project,” she adds. Today, almost halfway into the grand vision, several projects have taken shape on the river. Part of the revival has included cleanups and pollution controls that improved water quality and increased public access through green spaces like Carrier Park, French Broad River Park and the 1.2 miles of greenway along the banks of the river and throughout the RAD. In September 2014, the city received a $14.6 million grant for its RAD improvement plan, which will go toward building the 2.2-mile Wilma Dykeman Riverway, developed

f e at u r es | by Cameron Huntley in partnership with RiverLink. When completed, the new section will link 17 miles of trails along the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers. A visitor or resident could “get on a greenway at Broadway and go all the way to the arboretum without having to get on a road," Cragnolin says. But the future health of the French Broad will hinge on much more than outdoor recreation. A serious concern, Cragnolin emphasizes, is the need to figure out how — if at all — our water will be shared with other parts of WNC and the state, as population pressures, climate change and other factors lead to water shortages. She notes that local water suppliers like the city of Asheville already have agreements with neighboring municipalities, towns and counties for interbasin transfers — agreements to take water from one area and provide for another that doesn't have enough for its populace. Water sharing will be “a huge issue in the future,” Cragnolin says, adding that, “We haven’t established the rules on how we share it.” Current legislation allows N.C.’s governor to call for interbasin transfers as an emergency measure, and Cragnolin notes that such transfers have already occurred for areas of the French Broad when Henderson County transferred water to Polk County. “How do we decide, as a watershed entity, who gets our water? Do we want anyone to get it?” Cragnolin asks. “We’ve got to figure this out.”

Air The Canary Coalition formed in 1999 specifically to address deteriorating air quality in the mountains. At that time, “it was becoming very clear that this region was subject to some of

And we’ll all float on: RiverLink’s annual water parade, Anything That Floats, is a chance for participants to create colorful floats and costumes, while enjoying the French Broad. Photo courtesy of RiverLink

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


f e at u r es | by Cameron Huntley

Gardens united | Asheville, NC


get it!

story AnD Photo By GEorGE EthErEDGE

Would you introduce yourself? My name is Sir charles gardner. I live in Pisgah View Apartments, and I grow food for lowincome neighborhoods. Tell us about Gardens United — how did it start, and what is its mission? Gardens United is an urban agriculture organization that provides quality, affordable, healthy food, along with economic opportunity. It was started by residents of Pisgah View and Hillcrest apartments after these two [public] housing developments came together to grow fresh, healthy food. We grow using organic practices and educate the community on truly eating well. We also hold cooking demonstrations to get people used to eating fresh produce that they may not be acquainted with. Can you tell us more about your work in the garden and how the garden functions as a business? Our day always starts with weeding, more weeding, watering and a lot of planting. Most of our time goes to the labor of the garden, to produce food. We sell at the West Asheville Tailgate 8

Market every Tuesday, and to two restaurants, Buffalo Nickel and Storm. Why does this work matter to you? Why should it matter to the Asheville community outside of Pisgah View? It builds community — it’s another way to explain why people are here together, to help each other. People from low-income families are many times looked past or considered to be at the bottom of the barrel. We deserve good, healthy food and good-paying jobs. The garden is our way of saying that we are fed up and deserve a chance at life. How do you see Gardens United developing in the future? I see Gardens United being able to totally transform lowincome communities by providing jobs and access to healthy food. I want the garden to change the way people see themselves and, in doing so, discover the true riches of life. I want the garden to help build a strong, sustainable community that can grow together. George Etheredge is a student at UNC Asheville and a volunteer with the Pisgah View Peace Garden.

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

the worst air pollution in the country,” says Avram Friedman, executive director of the Sylva-based nonprofit. Research by the National Park Service, which began tracking air pollution in the 1980s, demonstrated how bad things were, he recalls. “We weren’t fully aware of the extent of which coal was a part of air pollution,” Friedman says. The mountains were acting as a net, catching and holding coal-based pollution from neighboring states as well as from within. Vehicular traffic also added to the problem, with ground-level ozone posing the biggest challenge: It drifts upward at night and settles at altitudes between 2,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level — the elevation ranges in the Appalachians. Inhaled ozone can lead to lung inflammation, and Friedman says this effect was evident in some of WNC’s youngest residents. “There was this terrible asthma epidemic [in the late 1990s], especially among children,” he explains. “One in three children were suffering from asthma in WNC. It was the largest cause of school absenteeism, and [a] huge health and economic issue.” The Canary Coalition gathered support across the region and pushed state legislators to establish the Clean Smokestacks Act in 2002. The act required significant emissions reductions from coal-fired power plants — 77 percent for nitrogen oxide emissions by 2009 and 73 percent for sulfur dioxide emissions by 2013.

“It was becoming very clear that this region was subject to some of the worst air pollution in the country.” — Avram Friedman, Canary Coalition

“We got calls from the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, the medical community, the local newspaper, the travel and tourism bureau. They all endorsed our efforts,” Friedman says. Following the adoption of the act and the implementation of pollution controls, air quality improved in the region and in some ways exceeded the hopes of the bill, says Ashley Featherstone, permitting program manager with WNC Regional Air Quality Agency. “We’ve seen improvements here in Buncombe County and across the state,” Featherstone says. She cites a 90 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions at Duke Energy’s Asheville plant since pollution-control scrubbers were installed in 2005-2006. That said, there’s still more to be done, Friedman notes. The coalition has recently lobbied the General Assembly to pass legislation that would incorporate an inverted rate structure into utility billing, giving residents and businesses an incentive to use less energy. Inverted rates are based on a tier system where customers who use more energy are charged higher rates, and customers who use less energy are charged lower rates, Friedman explains. Currently, electricity has a set rate no matter how much is used. The Canary Coalition says this measure would both lower energy costs and potentially reduce energy use — cutting emissions from power plants and further improving air quality. The proposed legislation also calls for the creation of an

f e at u r es | by Cameron Huntley energy efficiency “bank” — an independent agency that manages the finances of utility bills and issues low-interest loans for energy-efficienct projects. Repayment of loans would be integrated into the monthly utility bill, Friedman explains. Friedman adds that other states have begun using inverted rates, including New Mexico and Colorado. One benefit would be “massive reductions in consumption [because] this is a major shift in energy policy and the economics of energy,” Friedman says. To date, the bill has now been introduced three times, without success, but Friedman remains optimistic. “In the 2013 session we had a total of 15 legislators who sponsored or cosponsored the bill,” he says. “Our goal is to increase that number in [the current] session.”

earth Land conservancy has long been a huge part of economic and environmental sustainability as well. In 1966, a group of recreation buffs and hikers sought to protect the balds at Roan Mountain, an area beloved for its sweeping mountain views and unique natural habitat. That group, originally known as the Roan Mountain Preservation Committee, grew to become the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, which works to preserve the high country in Mitchell and Avery counties — an area SAHC director Carl Silverstein notes is “astonishingly beautiful.” More recently, in 1994, the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy was born from a survey commissioned by Henderson County’s League of Women Voters to assess the county’s natural areas. “It was made apparent that some of those special places were in danger of being lost — if they hadn’t been lost already,”

Views for days: Conservation efforts have protected spaces like Bearwallow Mountain, but there are still places “where development should never have occurred and the land was ruined,” says Carolina Mountian Land Conservancy executive director Kieran Roe. Photo courtesy of CMLC

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


f e at u r es | by Cameron Huntley says Kieran Roe, CMLC’s executive director. The nonprofit primarily focuses on Henderson County and surrounding areas, including Hickory Nut Gorge. Combined, these two groups have protected more than 100,000 acres in the region through conservation easements, purchases and transfers to state and federal parks. But Silverstein points out that conservation isn’t just about preventing development — it’s about saving WNC’s most special places. Eligible lands have to hit certain criteria, he explains — including government guidelines that evaluate an area’s rare plants, streams, forest cover and views. Once an area has been identified, both state and federal park officials work with the conservancies in efforts to extend park boundaries and protect viewsheds. In many cases, a local trust will hold the land until the government agency can afford to buy it at a reduced rate. This transfer/assist method has accounted for vast extensions of protected land in Hickory Nut Gorge, at Chimney Rock Park, along the Appalachian Trail and in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“It was made apparent that some of these special places were in danger of being lost, if they hadn’t been lost already.” — Kieran Roe, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy For SAHC, this method has been used for 46 percent of the land the organization has placed into conservation. In the case of easements facilitated by CMLC, Roe says part of the popularity is that land held for generations gets to stay in the family. “People like it,” Roe says. “They get to keep their land, but they’re assured that it will always remain relatively undeveloped.” The easements are enforced into perpetuity and come with very significant tax incentives, leading many landowners to actively seek out the trusts, Roe adds. “When the Great Recession hit, people were going bankrupt who owned large tracts of land they borrowed money on. We were being approached by landowners who had no other option, saying, ‘Will you buy my land?’” Roe says. Roe mentions that former U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor — for many years the single largest private landowner in Transylvania county — is working with CMLC to place 8,000 acres into a conservation easement. The tract boasts high-quality water, rare plants and animals and intact forests — and will likely become North Carolina’s newest state forest. Silverstein adds that conservation easements are also used to protect farmland. With only 2 percent of the land in WNC considered prime for agriculture and many farms disappearing, easements allow farmers to maintain ownership and decrease cost burdens due to tax incentives — all while continuing to work the land. He adds that Buncombe County — “a hero among counties in the state” — provides some funding that leverages easement purchases and “helps get these transactions done.” “Our colleagues in other counties look at us with envy,” Silverstein says. “It’s a real model for public-private partnership.”

In the heart of the city At the end of the day, almost all conservation issues come down to public policy — and in recent years, a lot has happened at the local level. In 2007, the city of Asheville created the Sustainability 10

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

Advisory Committee of Energy and Environment, hiring a full-time employee to oversee the work. “In 2008, we started benchmarking the city’s performance based on greenhouse gas emissions,” says Kerby Smithson, interim sustainability manager for the city. “[We’ve] made a lot of improvements on our fleet vehicles, as far as using alternative fuels, [and our] streetlights, which we’re replacing with LED lights that last much longer and use half as much energy, as well as having zero uplight [light pollution].” The city has also focused on employee responsibility in its facilities — reminding staff to turn off lights and computers, for example. Those same facilities are also slowly switching to a highly automated heating-and-cooling system that could be run by one person from a laptop — allowing that person to turn off the systems when buildings are unoccupied and also keep temperatures within a 10-degree range when occupied. The city is also reaching out to residents as part of what Smithson terms “community-facing sustainability initiatives.” Some examples include the introduction of the blue recycling bins in 2012 as a single-stream system that eliminated the need to separate the material. City staff is also analyzing ways to reduce solid waste, possibly in the form of a “pay-as-you-throw” initiative. One unmitigated success, he says, is the city’s carbon footprint. “[The city] council mandated an annual 4 percent carbon footprint reduction in 2011 [up from 2 percent in 2008], and we’ve been meeting that every year,” Smithson says. Energy spending across city facilities, he adds, has decreased by $400,000 since 2012.

So how are we doing? Despite all of this, there remains much work to be done. For land trusts, money and time are always a concern. By the time enough money is raised to buy a tract, it may have been sold to a developer. And cuts in state funding have been difficult to surmount, says Silverstein, forcing increased reliance on private funding. Roe adds that the effects of the recent real estate boom and subsequent market crash also influence conservation efforts. “People were buying land and doing developments and subdividing property because it was the way to make a fast buck, [but] no one intended to stay there,” he says. As an example, he points to the failed Seven Falls luxury development in Henderson County, “where development should never have occurred and the land was ruined.” Still, community awareness of the advantages of sustainability and preservation — especially in the economic sense — have helped put Asheville and the region on the map, Roe says. “Businesses are moving here for the quality of life,” he explains. “They want to be in a place where the employees have access to the wonderful outdoor amenities we have around here.” The recent brewery boom, he points out, is the perfect example as that industry relies on natural resources — in this case, clean water — in order to even function. “It’s no coincidence that Sierra Nevada is located right on the French Broad,” Roe says. “People in the region are coming to realize that natural resources are not an impediment to our economic boom — they’re the assets upon which our future economic development will be based.” And those natural resources draw people here, to stay or to visit, and make the area one of a kind. Cragnolin adds that the mountains have always had a unique sense of presence. If anything will keep the region viable, she says, it will be embracing that: “Celebrate who you are and what you are. Don’t try to be somewhere else; it just won’t work.” Cameron Huntley is a contributing writer at Mountain Xpress.

Partners in grime: Sir Charles Gardner works in the Pisgah View Peace Garden, a community garden and commercial enterprise that grows food for — and employs — public housing residents. Photo By George Etheredge

Green developments How Asheville’s public housing communities are leading the eco-scene By CArrIe eIdSon For a long time, the far corner lot in Pisgah View Apartments was nothing more than an abandoned baseball field where weeds grew taller than many of the neighborhood’s children. The space was filled with trash, empty bottles and tough red clay — and couldn’t be more different from what’s there now. Today that same lot is home to rich brown soil, tidy rows of vegetables and flowers, a greenhouse, a cob oven and even a few fig trees. In the growing season, the Pisgah View Community Peace Garden, as the former baseball field is now called, is a gathering spot for community get-togethers where neighbors plant zinnias and cook sweet potato pies in the sunshine. Year-round, the garden serves as a source of agriculture-based employment for Pisgah View residents, including Sir Charles Gardner and Carl Johnson Jr., who sell the garden’s yield at farmers markets and to local restaurants. The garden is a spot for nutrition lessons and cooking demonstrations and for neighbors to gather together to harvest fresh produce — and it may not be the image that comes to mind for many when they think of public housing in Asheville. More than 3,000 people live in the developments owned by the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville. These communities are mostly located in the city’s far corners or isolated neighborhoods, out of sight for many Asheville denizens. The result is a geographic and social isolation that has led to an idea of these neighborhoods

as places of violence and filth where the sustainability practices championed in the rest of the city go ignored. But residents of public housing, and the agencies that aid their efforts, say that perception simply isn’t true. These communities are home to environmental stewardship, they say, as well as ecofriendly youth-education programs, green jobs and an invested interest in their residents’ welfare that is only growing.

Getting started early HACA estimates that 1,313 children ages 17 and younger live in Asheville's public housing sites as of December 2014. Because lowincome communities often face barriers that limit access to green space — both physically and socially — that’s a sizable population of potential environmentalists who may never have the chance to truly appreciate the outdoors. “A lot of kids aren’t interested in science — not just environmental science, but all science,” notes Dewana Little, community engagement coordinator at Asheville GreenWorks. “They might hear about the importance of the environment in their biology classes, but with everything else going on in their lives, they might not absorb that.” To encourage environmental education, GreenWorks began offering a paid internship program open to youths ages 16 to 19 who 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


f e at u r es | by Carrie Eidson

Greening up the neighborhood: “This is the fair shot that everybody deserves,” says Anna-Marie Smith, recruitment and support coordinator for Green Opportunities. Photo By Carrie Eidson





A M A N D A @ T O W N A N D M O U N TA I N . C O M


mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

live in public housing neighborhoods. The interns’ job is to collect information on water quality in streams near the developments, determine how the streams are linked to conditions in the neighborhoods and create activities to teach younger children about the importance of their findings. “When we get them out in the creeks, they’re able to make those connections and see why this is important and how what happens in their communities affects the whole environment,” Little says. “A lot of the kids haven’t had the opportunity to have that kind of hands-on experience. They don’t know if they care about something until you give them the opportunity to be a part of it.” Eric Bradford, GreenWorks' volunteer coordinator, adds that having the older kids teach the younger kids is also a powerful tool. “When I come into that neighborhood, I’m just this super-old guy talking about the environment, and it’s lip service,” he says. “But these guys grew up in that neighborhood, and the younger kids know them. And, of course, they’re cool because they’re 16 to 19 years old.” Little, who also serves as vice president of the Erskine-Walton Apartments Residents’ Council, says the interns’ efforts are inspiring plenty of adults too. “You’re starting to hear people say, ‘Y’all come pick up this trash,’ or ‘Don’t throw that trash down in my yard.’” As part of the program, GreenWorks also organized community cookouts where the interns led trash pickups and environmentally themed games in late summer 2014. “After our cleanup last August in Livingston and Erskine-Walton, we went back through there in November to see if the cleanup was sustained,” Little says. “It was still clean. It caught on. Kids come up to me now with bags of recycling.” But GreenWorks’ program isn’t just about cleaning up the streams and getting the trash off the ground. Bradford says the real goal of the 100-hour internship is career building — encouraging

f e at u r es | by Carrie Eidson

“A lot of kids haven’t had the opportunity to have that kind of hands-on experience. They don’t know if they care about something until you give them the opportunity to be a part of it.” — Dewana Little, Asheville GreenWorks teens from low-income communities to engage in college-level work and consider careers in urban conservation. “We’re looking to plant the seed of an idea that says, ‘This is an option. When you go into the workforce, you can consider this type of work,’” Bradford says. “These job opportunities exist, and you can do them right here in Asheville. You can do this kind of work a mile from your house.”

the green kids on the block Asheville’s Southside neighborhood was once a bustling black business district, though much of this changed with the urban renewal projects of the 1950s and ‘70s. Today that neighborhood, sandwiched between the growing economic areas around A-B Tech, the River Arts District and Mission Hospital, houses several public housing communities, including Lee Walker Heights, Bartlett Arms and Livingston and Erskine-Walton apartments. When you look around this neighborhood now, a lot of what you see is isolation — both racial and economic, notes Billy Schweig, mission advancement director at Green Opportunities. GO, which launched in 2009, is a job-training program that operates out of the Arthur R. Edington Education and Career Center, formerly known as the W.C. Reid Center, a LEED-certified building located right by Livingston and Erskine-Walton apartments with historic significance to the Southside community. “All that development that’s happening — we’re smack in the middle of it,” Schweig says. “And yet, there’s a ridiculously high unemployment and poverty rate surrounded by all this money filtering in and out.” GO seeks to place residents of low-income communities into “green collar” jobs. The organization’s job training programs, including its two main programs, Built Environment and Kitchen Ready, cover eco-centric fields such as green construction, landscaping, culinary arts, building science, urban agriculture and weatherization. Schweig notes that the programs are designed to get GO students to take sustainability concepts and apply them to the private sector. In the last six years, GO has placed 205 trainees in jobs that averaged $10.30 an hour, and in 2014, 47 of its 56 graduates went on to permanent jobs or paid apprenticeships. “We consider almost any job to be a ‘green job’ as long as it’s benefiting environmental or economic health in low-income communities,” Schweig notes. “We define sustainability really broadly because environmental sustainability is pretty much meaningless without social and economic sustainability.” The organization itself has also been a source of full-time employment for current and former public housing residents, including Anna-Marie Smith, GO’s recruitment and support coordinator — though Smith says when she first heard of the job training programs, she “didn’t fall for it.”

A seat at the table: Sheila Dixon leads the cooking class at the Resource Center at Hillcrest Apartments. The group creates meals from scratch, trying out new recipes or sometimes “just figuring it out as we go along,” Dixon says. Photo By Carrie Eidson

Read more about Green Opportunites in Xpress’ online profile mountainx.com/guides


For a clean planet and a quiet neighborhood. ECOMOWOFASHEVILLECOM • 828.545.3827 • ECOMOWOFASHEVILLE@GMAIL.COM 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


f e at u r es | by Carrie Eidson

Building Bridges | Asheville, NC

“I was young, I was working in retail, making a little bit of money,” Smith recalls. “When they pitched it to me, I was like, ‘No thanks.’” But Smith says she came back looking for a way to branch out from the “stereotypical, female-oriented” jobs that retail offered and find something more interesting than selling shoes. She excelled in the training and was well-liked by her peers, serving as “a bridge” between her classmates and the instructors.

“Environmental sustainability is pretty much meaningless without social and economic sustainability.” — Billy Schweig, Green Opportunities


get it! story AnD Photo By CArriE EiDson

When audrey yatras moved to Asheville in 2006 from Alexandria, Va., she was shocked. “I kept hearing about how diverse this community is, but I didn’t see it,” she recalls. “We want to pat ourselves on the back, but we’re actually not diverse at all. Racially, we’re not diverse, and economically we’re not diverse.” Today, Yatras serves as board co-chair for Building Bridges, a nine-week community program that teaches participants how to confront and overcome racism by addressing their own attitudes and ideas. The program was founded in 1993 by local clergy who were concerned about cultural segregation and race relations in Asheville. Today, over 1,500 people have participated in the program. “The immediate goal is to teach you to check yourself in your thought process,” Yatras explains of the bi-annual sessions. “When people insert race into the stories they tell or the way they perceive people, what they’re doing is showing that they have an unconscious bias.” The program also teaches participants to confront stereotypes they may encounter in their everyday lives. “When you’re watching the news, start paying attention to the use of the word, ‘they,’” Yates says. “Think about what we mean when we say, ‘inner-city youth,’


or ‘black-on-black crime.’ Why don’t we ever say white-on-white crime? Black people are always ‘African-American,’ but if your parents are French, would you be called ‘French-American’? Would your children?” Yatras explains that Building Bridges explores institutional racism — something much more damaging but perhaps harder to recognize than racist slurs. The classes in each session explore issues including housing, education, income disparity, policing and access to health care. “Racist comments, things like that, aren’t what’s going to put people behind,” Yatras explains. “But not being able to get a loan for your house, only being able to live in certain places, only being able to put your children in certain schools — things like that are institutional things that are much harder to overcome.” Primarily, Yatras says, Building Bridges serves to remind the community that improving race equality in Asheville has to be an ongoing effort. “Dr. King could have been speaking about the situation of the United States 10 years ago or today,” Yates says. “We want to say, ‘We elected a black president,’ and ‘We’ve come so far.’ But time isn’t enough to make things equal, as much as we want it to be.”

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

After graduation, GO offered Smith a chance to stay on full time in a capacity she had already proved herself in — being the goto person for other students. On a day-to-day basis, Smith coordinates GO’s efforts to support trainees beyond the classroom by helping them with issues that come up in their lives — other jobs, transportation, funding for school, a need for legal representation, access to food — so they can concentrate on the program. For Smith, who grew up in and out of Asheville’s public housing, it’s a way to take her experience and use it to inform others. “I always let them know that you can trust me because I’ve been here all my life and I can tell you the ins and outs,” Smith says. “From the people with the most advantages to the people with the least advantages in this city, I can help you get to where you want to be, if you really want to go.” And Smith says that’s what the program really offers — a fair chance to move your life forward. For Smith, her job gave her the stability to transition out of public housing and the inspiration to go to college to study human resources and someday “run the whole show” at Green Opportunities. “It’s really all through the grace of GO,” Smith says. “We all are here because of the same thing. We’re just trying to advance ourselves. This is the fair shot that everybody deserves.”

Welcome to the neighborhood If you never thought to connect community gardens and green jobs with public housing, you might not be alone. For many people in Asheville, public housing conjures up images of gunshots, drug deals and trash, says Nicole Hinebaugh, program director at the Women’s Wellbeing and Development Foundation. “I think when people come into public housing they have this belief ahead of time about how it’s going to be,” Hinebaugh says. “But if you come into a place like Hillcrest, you see sweet grannies rocking on their front porches and kids playing in the trees or in the basketball games. People are often surprised.” For Hinebaugh and WWDF, part of supporting sustainability is addressing general welfare, which means overcoming the feelings of isolation and neglect that have seeped into Asheville’s public housing communities. “Their voices aren’t heard,” Hinebaugh says of public housing residents. “People aren’t paying attention to what's going on for them and aren’t consulting with them about decisions that affect them. It’s allowed to continue because the public either doesn’t know or doesn’t care.” Hinebaugh says many in Asheville never visit public housing neighborhoods or know anyone who lives there. It’s a separation that has had a reciprocal effect as well, she says — creating resident mistrust toward nonprofits and other outside groups that have started — and in many cases abandoned — numerous public welfare projects in the public housing communities.

f e at u r es | by Carrie Eidson “After that happens enough times, there’s a real wariness that develops toward people that come in from the outside,” Hinebaugh says. “There’s an attitude of, ‘Well, when are they going to leave? Because everybody eventually leaves.’” To address that barrier, WWDF started the Hillcrest Resource Center. The center provides a space for outside organizations and services such as MANNA FoodBank, OnTrack WNC, Mountain Housing Opportunities, Just Economics and Pisgah Legal Services to offer programs on leadership, tenants rights, how to sign up for food stamps or how to fill out tax returns. “The resource center has been there for three years, [WWDF] has been [in Hillcrest] for over four years,” Hinebaugh says. “People know us, and they trust us. So they don’t already have to have a relationship with OnTrack to access the services OnTrack is providing because it’s coming through a trusted source.” The resource center is also a space for cooking, crafting, yoga, youth empowerment, and herbs and wellness classes, most of which are led by residents. The programs are creating social networks, providing kids with more activities and, most importantly, Hinebaugh says, allowing for choices. “The fact that I know I can go to yoga if I want to makes me feel better about my community, even if I’m not accessing it,” she says. “That’s true in other communities in Asheville, and it’s true in public housing.” Another part of WWDF’s mission is to bring the public into public housing. The organization helped to launch Juneteenth, a community celebration in Hillcrest that honors the end of slavery in the United States with games, food, live music and entertainment — to which the greater Asheville community is invited. “Once the public realizes these are families whose quality of life, work and dignity matters, whose access to basic needs matters, that the way they’re being treated by their landlord, it matters,” Hinebaugh says. “Once more of the public becomes aware, we’ll begin to see pressure put on these issues that will help the residents move out of marginalization.”

A greener future Green initiatives in Asheville’s public housing are coming off of many advancements in 2014, with more efforts planned for the coming year. GreenWorks is working on planting fruit orchards in at least two of the developments as a potential source of community revenue, with hopes of partnering with Ujamaa Freedom Market in the Hillcrest community. But an even bigger issue for the organization is bringing recycling to all public housing communities. The city of Asheville currently does not provide recycling services to large apartment complexes, and though private companies collect recyclables in six of the nine public housing developments, the service is not currently offered in Pisgah View, Deaverview or Klondyke.

“It’s not a good look when you drive through Asheville and you see, on this side of the street is the blue recycling bins, and on this side of the street there is nothing,” Little says. “It tells you, ‘Ah, here is where the underserved community is.’ And if you live in that neighborhood, it feels like, ‘Why can’t we have recycling? What makes us different?'” GreenWorks is working on a long-term proposal to gather recyclables and use the sale of the raw materials to fund more community activities. WWDF is focusing on the national conversion of public housing funding to Rental Assistance Demonstration, which will utilize a Section 8 platform. Hinebaugh says, in the long term, RAD may allow for a switch to cooperative housing, where residents may purchase their own housing unit. The organization hopes to work with HACA to launch a pilot cooperative housing program in Asheville. With the first phase of renovation completed at the Edington Center, GO can focus on its new community garden that harvests collected rain water to grow food for its industrial kitchen. The kitchen then allows GO students, with the occasional help of guest chefs from Asheville restaurants such as The Admiral, Chestnut and Rhubarb, to offer free lunches to the community four days a week. The meals are open to anyone and donations are accepted for the program. But GO’s garden doesn’t stop there. Any excess yield will go to a planned community grocery store within the Edington Center — bringing fresh produce to the Southside food desert where residents would otherwise trek long distances to purchase food at supermarkets or settle for buying their groceries at a gas station. “We want this to be a space for the community to network and learn from each other,” Schweig says of the organization’s remodeled space. “We want this to serve as a model for how not to gentrify a neighborhood.” Carrie Eidson is a staff writer and editor at Mountain Xpress.

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www.ashevillemountainlots.com 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


f e at u r es | by Jordan Foltz

An early start: Mary Claire Fagan, right, and a friend share a smile and a deep connection to the environment fostered by their alternative learning program, Growing Goddess. Photo courtesy of Lena Eastes

Watering the sprouts Cultivating self-knowledge and life skills for conscious, empowered youth By jordAn Foltz When it comes to creating a resilient community, it’s important to consider the education we offer our youths. Education has the potential to empower future generations with the values, understanding and connections necessary for everyday actions that nurture a healthier world. What can we as parents and mentors do to water our sprouts so that they will grow strong? Where are we falling short, and what is necessary to empower upcoming generations to succeed? Some parents and teachers are seeing our children’s education fall short. It’s time to consider “who” we are graduating into the world, they say — and shift the focus from memorization and abstract academia to purpose and values.

Quit hovering: let ‘em romp On a cold January morning, deep in the mountains east of Fairview, a mama hog watches as minivans and station wagons approach along the muddy drive of Adelbert Farm. Homeschoolers ages 5 to 15 hop out of the vehicles, trotting past hungry animals to hang their backpacks on a wooden rack under a few old oak trees. They pick up sticks, break up chunks of ice from the frozen creek and kick them around — warming up for their day of school. This farm is a 133-acre piece of land that serves as the classroom for 15 to 20 home-schooled kids Monday through Thursday, rain or shine. The schoolhouse? Well, there really 16

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

isn’t one — only two small, wood-heated buildings for when students and teachers need a dry, warm environment for book study or snack time. “Depression rates among kids are higher than has ever been recorded,” says Joe Kirstein, who owns and operates the farm school with his wife, Kimberly Kirstein. “[One] study suggests that it’s because the kids don’t get enough free, unsupervised play,” Joe says. “There’s something about when you just go up in the woods and have stick fights and just be kids without an adult following you around and hovering ... There’s something mentally that happens that’s empowering and, apparently, essential.” Kimberly agrees, explaining that Adelbert’s program cultivates positive and energetic attitudes by giving the kids autonomy “instead of every aspect of their lives being controlled by something external.” Whether rendering pig fat to observe mitosis or studying evolution by observing character divergence in one batch of chicks, the kids choose their individual roles for planning and completing projects. They exercise choice in how they relate to the task, all the while gaining meaningful skills and relationships with the plants and animals around them. “They go home feeling like they actually accomplished something,” Kimberly says. By encouraging self-determination, the Kirsteins not only strive to empower students to enjoy the successes of their

f e at u r es | by Jordan Foltz decisions, but also to experience the grief that comes with poor planning or loss. For Laurel Abel, whose kids Jaden and Junah attend the farm school, allowing children to develop real-life skills for real-life situations is an indispensable aspect of education. “It’s not about sheltering them from the world,” Abel says. “Everybody always says [of home schooling], ‘You’re too protective’ … but I see it as the opposite: This is not a shelter. It’s immersion in real-life situations, real-life knowledge, real people and how to live.”

Connection and purpose How relevant is a subject unless it relates to who we are and our purpose in this world? “I think that the lack of connection that kids and adults have with the world around them is devastating everything we know right now,” says Abel. “[Kids] are taught not to go with their gut. They’re taught that they have no intuition. And I think that is very, very dangerous.” Instead, Abel says, kids should be taught connection. Connection with the Earth and environment starts with spending time outside, opening the senses and experiencing the emotions that this interaction elicits. Connection transforms objects into subjects and forges relationships that inspire a natural curiosity. “I want my children to know that plants can heal them,” Abel says, “that the Earth is there for them, but that we have to take care of the Earth. I want them to know where their food came from — that an animal died for this food … not to feel guilty about it, just to realize what’s happening.”

Understanding the stories behind a concept like where our food comes from can trigger emotions — especially when spending time with animals or plants. And those emotions create a connection, which naturally leads to a sense of environmental responsibility, Abel adds. Equally important in fostering this connection and emotional bond is presenting the lessons’ topics and inquiries as overlapping and interdependent. While some would argue a highly focused, specialized education may ultimately aid students when they enter the job market, many are recognizing that overly specialized, siloed educational tracks are having a negative impact on students’ overall mentality, understanding and appreciation of interconnectedness. At Evergreen Community Charter School, students are encouraged to explore their lessons through “expeditionary learning,” an approach that ties all of the subject areas together around a particular query or “expedition.” Students are given “learning targets,” where, piece by piece, they can see how they investigate a topic and advance in the expedition as a whole. “If the expedition-guide question is, ‘Where does my food come from?’ the daily learning target might be, ‘I can interact with a local farmer in an interview and derive an understanding of where my food comes from,’” says Sarah Shoemaker, Evergreen’s associate director of grades five through eight. Expeditions involve fieldwork and community outreach, so that the lesson is not only grounded in the real world, but also develops an emotional connection between the students and what they are studying. “Evergreen’s mission statement is environmental stewardship and social justice,” Shoemaker says. “Throughout what we do, we’re seeking to tie in those two things, [so] it becomes

Locally Grown Food for Thought: Sustainability and More at Lenoir-Rhyne Asheville Sustainability is not just for hippies anymore–it is for everyone. Sustainability is about building relationships, strengthening communities, innovating policies, managing resources, and collaborating to create a vision for the future. As the demand for building a sustainable future increases, organizations of all kinds seek individuals with the knowledge and skill sets to understand and implement effective ways to adapt our systems. One of 10 graduate programs available at LR Asheville, Sustainability Studies covers policy, community, science, and business. Students personalize their experience through electives and community partnerships, and apply their knowledge and skills in WNC communities. Students selected for a Reese Institute Fellowship gain invaluable experience through increasing the sustainability of the Asheville campus. Now in its third year, Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville remains a perfect fit for Asheville. To learn more, contact Elisa Jacobs at Elisa.Jacobs@lr.edu or 828-407-4270. Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville 36 Montford Avenue, Downtown Asheville • (828) 407-4263 • Asheville.lr.edu 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


f e at u r es | by Jordan Foltz

Blue ridge Women in Agriculture | Asheville, NC

second nature for the students to [ask], ‘Is everyone being considered here? Is the environment taken care of?’” Without purpose, Shoemaker explains, there is no direction to the quest. But perhaps even more important is what the kids actually do with the results they discover. “If we’re learning about stream water, we could [just] make a final product that is just a poster board that informs, or we could write letters to the city ... ask for professionals’ time and present our findings,” Shoemaker says. “The question of what you do when you get to the end of your expedition — do you just sit back? The answer is hopefully ‘no.’”

It's on me


get it! By mAX hunt Photo CourtEsy of BrWiA

In 1994, carol coulter and her husband moved to Ashe County to renovate an old homestead. “The whole place was overgrown with multiflora rose,” Coulter says. “We spent days trying to clear it out, then realized that was crazy. A neighbor said, ‘Get goats, they eat it.’” This practical advice sparked an interest in farming that, two decades later, has developed into a booming business that includes dairy goats, pigs and a firebrick oven. But success came with a long learning period. “If you’re not from a farming background, the learning curve is steep,” Coulter says. She also discovered that other women were having similar troubles. “We had a hard time getting information,” Coulter says. “Guys didn’t want to take us seriously. We were angry women who couldn’t get what we wanted educationally — and forget trying to go to a bank for money. A woman farmer? It was kind of unheard of around here.” In 2000, that group of women, including Coulter, began to meet informally to share information. Interest in the meetings grew, attracting women from throughout Western North Carolina. The group formalized as Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and began organizing regional conferences


to share knowledge with others. “We listened to what farmers wanted and helped them make connections, whether it be education or finding new markets,” Coulter explains. Today BRWIA members cover nine counties in WNC, with Coulter serving as executive director since July 2014. Coulter notes the impact the group has had on women’s role in farming in the region, pointing to largescale operations run by women. BRWIA offers several grants to male and female farmers, organizes workshops, facilitates apprenticeships and hosts a public farm tour. Coulter says she sees smallscale operations as viable alternatives to factory farming, and believes the public is beginning to notice too. “I think there’s suspicion about what’s in the grocery store now,” she says. While there are plenty of challenges facing small-scale farmers, Coulter says BRWIA can look back to its origins and see that a lot of ground’s been covered. “We’re slowly getting a leg up,” she adds. “None of us are in it for money. We’re driven by good food, community, quality of life and care for the land.” Max Hunt is a staff contributor with Mountain Xpress.

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

Rites of passage have long served to impart knowledge and wisdom to boys and girls, men and women, as they age. As children assume levels of autonomy, so too must they assume responsibility for their environment and community — freedom and responsibility are inextricable and interdependent. Today, such rites are largely absent from our modern society, and some have observed a wedge being driven between freedom and responsibility, putting them at odds with each other. The fewer responsibilities we have, the more freedom. Some say this attitude renders a disoriented populace that has lost the ability to find empowerment through accountability — sparking a call for reintegrating rites of passage into contemporary culture. High school students Aurelia Garlock, 14, and Mary Claire Fagan, 15, both expressed a lack of connection to the subjects they studied in school. “I really hated Earth and environmental science,” Mary Claire admits. “I felt really helpless because it was all about the negative impacts of our generation and generations before us. “There was no way my class was trying to change it,” she continues. “[It seemed like], ‘Well, you can’t vote now, so you can’t do anything.’” Ironically, these girls are now more invested in the environment than most people, let alone kids their age. Turns out, it wasn’t environmental science they disliked — it was the disconnected way it was taught. “When we’re actually out and feeling the Earth and being in the environment, it’s lovely,” Mary Claire says. “When you’re there, you actually see how it is hurt. You can see how you can do something about it.” Both girls are veterans of Earth Path Education’s Growing Goddess, a rites-of-passage summer camp for young women ages 11 through 14. Founded and directed by Lena Eastes, Growing Goddess covers everything from primitive skills to self-reliance, accountability, nurturing, grieving, plant identification, sacred ritual, sensuality, sex, how to embrace womanhood and more. For Fagan and Garlock, it’s clear their friendship runs deep. They consistently reinforce confidence in each other as they talk and interact. They compliment each other and offer support and nurture at every opportunity. They refer to each other as “goddesses” — and explain that they do the same with all their female friends. Eastes says this kind of mutual support is essential for girls at this age. “This is definitely something that young women need in their lives to mark a transition [and] leave behind what doesn’t serve them,” Eastes reflects. “Life will initiate us, … but to miss the witnessing and the celebration around it is such a huge loss. “Culturally, I think we’re adolescent,” she adds. “[Political leadership] is making adolescent choices. That’s why rites of passage had always been integrated.”

f e at u r es | by Jordan Foltz

Step up: “The change you want to see in this world is the change you need to be,” observes Keynon Lake, far right. Photo by Marcus Salette, courtesy of MDTMT Vicki Garlock, Aurelia’s mother, adds that the program allows her daugher’s personal experiences to shape her further education. “Those experiences will be part of their story,” she says. “Their personal narrative about who they are and what they’re about ... what they value in their friends, what they value in their community.” It’s difficult for students to find that personal, purposeful connection solely within the walls of a classroom. But connection and purpose are vital for youths to develop a sense of responsibility for the community and the environment — and to discover how taking personal responsibility is actually empowering. Responsibility is what Keynon Lake fosters at My Daddy Taught Me That, a mentorship program for young men in grades six through 12 based at Pisgah View Community Center. “As human beings, we always try to find the easy way out,” Lake observes. “When things get too hard, we quit or give up. We’re starting to see a society where no one wants to take responsibility for anything. We always point the finger and say, ‘Well if it wasn’t for X, Y and Z’ ... But if we really take a step back and examine ourselves, then you’ll find that the change you want to see in this world is the change you need to be.” My Daddy Taught Me That includes weekly discussion groups, where participants talk about real-world issues — from the privatization of prisons to third-grade literacy rates to the “fictitious masculinity” marketed through gangster rap

artists, Lake explains. Being a man, he says, involves awareness of what’s going on in the world and, most importantly, a willingness to take responsibility for it. Lake fears our society is becoming timid about teaching accountability to today’s youths. We provide outs and excuses, we break their falls and say, “It wasn’t your fault.” He explains that if we miss the opportunity to teach accountability — to teach youths to own the repercussions of their actions — we rob them of their initiation into adulthood. Lake cites the example of giving all the kids a trophy just for trying. It’s a nice gesture, he explains, but it doesn’t teach them anything. “It doesn’t inspire you to work harder,” he says. And while it may save them from the disappointment of failure and loss, it equally robs them of the elation of discovering for themselves what they’re capable of.

Service and mentorship Integral to My Daddy Taught Me That is mentorship — connecting the young men to professionals in the community who share their backgrounds to help facilitate what Lake terms “life-changing events.” Intended to inspire, these events have included professional sports games, helicopter rides, camping and visits to museums and memorials. In early March 2015, Lake launched a 12-week partnership with Echo Mountain Recording Studio, offering students a residency to

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


f e at u r es | by Jordan Foltz

roamin’ free: The land that makes up the Adelbert Farm has been held by the same family for over 100 years. Today the farm provides a space for a home-school education that encourages freedom and connection to the land. Photo by Jordan Foltz


mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

learn basic music production, equipment operation and songwriting. The program even brought in music professionals, including producers who worked with artists India Arie and Michael Jackson. Connecting with a mentor offers an opportunity for students to see success, understand that it’s not just an abstract idea and visualize a path for themselves. Reciprocally, empowering students to take the position of instructor further strengthens that knowledge and emboldens their skills with a purpose to serve. Lake’s older boys are set up to mentor the younger ones through heart-to-hearts to talk about mistakes they’ve made and challenges they faced, offering insights on overcoming problems on their own. “We teach that the true essence of [manhood] is to love our neighbors and to lift them up,” Lake says. “If you’re successful, … you reach back and you pull up.” Similarly, the other curricula complete the circle with various mentorship models. Back at the fields of Adelbert Farm, Jaden looks out for and helps teach her little brother Junah as they learn together. At Evergreen, sixth graders adopt “kinderbuddies” that they read to and create craft projects with. And in the summer of 2015, Aurelia and Mary Claire will step up as Earth Path’s first “Moon Mystics,” reaching back to help new goddesses rise up on their journey toward womanhood. The technical skills and knowledge future generations will need to live powerfully and solve the world’s problems are as many as the leaves on a tree — but those colorful leaves will need strong branches to cling to. The life skills they learn as children will stay with them into adulthood — in their bones, consciences and convictions. Jordan Foltz is a staff contributor at Mountain Xpress.

A convenient illusion: On average, the city of Asheville produces 22,400 tons of trash per year. What’s the cost of all that waste? Local experts say the things we throw away are affecting not just our environment but our culture as well. Photo by Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt

the consequence of waste Buncombe’s discarded problem is piling up Story By AIyAnnA SezAk-BlAtt Week in, week out, our trash is bagged, tied, dragged to the street, left behind in cavernous dumpsters and promptly forgotten. The cycle is hypnotically simple: take it out, toss it in and worry about it no more. But this isn’t magic — it’s a convenient illusion that prevents us from seeing the true costs of what we so casually throw away. And the cycle of waste often comes with unseen but enormous societal, economic and environmental tolls. In the summer of 2013, the city of Asheville conducted an extensive study of the trash collected through its residential pickup service. As reported by Richard Grant, solid waste services manager for the city, samples were taken from each city garbage route, generating a thorough report of what exactly is thrown away. The results were shocking. In an average year, the city produces 22,400 tons of trash. Of that amount, 5,824 tons — 26 percent — is compostable. Another 18 percent of that trash is recyclable — leaving only 56 percent as true waste, fit only for the landfill. That means, according to Grant, if we composted all our organics and placed our recyclables in their proper bin, we could reduce our waste by 44 percent. But there are bigger issues here than the state of waste at the local level. A broader look shows far-reaching cultural factors that have brought us to the mess we’re in.

Where the rubber meets the road “We’re often not thinking about all the big picture, larger issues,” says Leah Greden Matthews, an applied environmental economist and professor of economics at UNC Asheville. “We often don’t imagine or fully account for the societal costs when we’re making household decisions on waste or recycling.” That’s where the rubber meets the road, she adds. One of the greatest costs of a wasteful culture is the land condemned for public use and converted into landfills, Matthews notes. “We need physical space — land allocated to waste, which has an opportunity cost associated with it,” she says. “If we didn’t have so much waste we would not need to reserve that land area for our waste disposal.” Landfills, especially older ones established without enforced regulations, bring the added and exceptional costs of potential environmental contamination and the probability of impaired water quality, Matthews continues. Then there is the cost embodied in the waste itself, especially if the material is reusable. In the case of metals, paying to extract more virgin material often far outweighs the cost of converting existing material. Laura Wright, head of the literature department at Western Carolina University, writes about the cultural roots 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


f e at u r es | by Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt of waste in her blog, The Vegan Body Project. Wright says that it’s easy to ignore the tremendous cost of waste because there is “nothing in our cultural rhetoric about being responsible for the things we consume.” “Everything that’s out there is about consuming more and consuming all the time, because it’s not in the interest of a capitalist system to curb consumption,” she notes. Excessive waste and the blasé way in which we disregard what we no longer want or need are encouraged on a cultural scale, Wright adds. “We are a consumer culture,” she notes. “We have so much of everything that’s cheap, easy to get and always at our disposal.”

the end of the line

Waste not, want not: Danny Keaton of Danny’s Dumpster estimates that the tons of discarded food he collects to turn into compost is less than 5 percent of the total food waste in Buncombe County. Photo by Hayley Benton

Perched on high ground in Alexander, the Buncombe County Landfill stretches from Lower Flat Creek to Panther Branch Road. It’s 600 acres all told, 95 of which are actively being filled. The landfill is 18 years old and is divided into 10 cells — with five already full, or “capped.” The site takes in roughly 500 tons of trash per day. On a bitter-cold day in January, Kristy Smith, bioreactor manager of the site, stands near the leachate lagoon that holds rainwater drained through the landfill’s capped cells. Both the cells and lagoons are double-lined with plastic to prevent groundwater contamination, and leachate is regularly tested before being recirculated through the cells or sent to the wastewater treatment plant. As the garbage in the capped cells decomposes, methane gas is produced and harvested for the landfill’s Gas to Energy program. “The methane is captured and directed into a generator where it’s combusted,” Smith says. “The energy produced is put on the electrical grid and sold to Progress Energy. We produce enough to power 1,100 homes in the community, and that will grow as the landfill grows.”

“Everything that’s out there is about consuming more and consuming all the time.” — Laura Wright, author and professor

It’s a 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from cell six. From here, the five capped cells look like grassy knolls with gas extraction pipes, like odd little periscopes, protruding from the earth. The ground itself is made of compacted trash, now 40 feet tall. Tractors compress the garbage, maximizing the space to its full potential. How much time does the landfill have left? That depends on “population growth and recycling habits,” says Smith, but she’s hoping for another 20 to 25 years. So how did the Alexander site become a landfill? Not quietly. In the early ‘90s, as the old landfill on Riverside Drive in Woodfin grew to capacity, Buncombe County citizens came together in what Claudine Cremer, owner of Meadow Cove Farm, describes as a “4 1/2-year battle” over the proposed Alexander location. The issues at hand included desecration of historic farmland, potential groundwater contamination and location inequity. “We in North Buncombe felt that we were bearing an unfair load of waste management,” Cremer says. “We had already hosted the landfill, we had the [Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County] plant, and now, just a few miles up the river, was going to be the new landfill. It was almost as if that corridor had been picked as a sacrifice zone.” 22

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

f e at u r es | by Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt The citizens ultimately lost their battle, but Cremer says there was a greater issue at hand — the perception that another landfill could always be added. “We were going from one landfill to another landfill without re-examining what we were doing,” she asserts. “The state had determined the proper hierarchy of waste management, and that was to reduce, reuse, recycle, compost and then landfilling, as a last choice. Our feeling was that we needed to start at the top of that chain and work our way down, only to landfill what could not have been taken care of by those other means.” The Alexander location, tucked away in the far northern corner of the county, is also problematic in and of itself, says Eric Bradford, clean communities coordinator at Asheville GreenWorks. “We’re almost inconvenienced by where our landfill is located, because we picked a place that’s far away from everyone else,” Bradford says. “Think about if you live in Black Mountain — you’re on the other side of the county. You can pay for someone to pick it up or take it yourself — those are your two options.” The city of Asheville provides residential trash and recycling pickup to homes with up to four units for a charge that automatically comes out of the resident’s water bill. Buncombe County offers its residents access to trash and recycling pickup for a small fee — usually around $14 a month, with collection companies like WastePro, Republic or Waste Management. According to Bradford, however, only 50 percent of the county signs up for that option. A small contingent still burns trash or dumps it illegally on public or private land. To combat the matter of illegal dumping, GreenWorks plans to install cameras “in areas where we know trash is accumulating,” Bradford says.

the food that we throw away In the 2014 fiscal year, the landfill took in 80 tons of raw and unpackaged food waste from commercial sources. That may not seem like much when compared to other sources — construction and demolition waste, for example, accounted for 20,770 tons. But keep in mind, there is no procedure for tracking how much wasted food contributes to the 113,000 tons of household trash the city alone collected that year, a fact confirmed by Smith. In America, 40 to 50 percent of all food produced is wasted, as reported by The Post Harvest Project. One grocery store in one week’s time will throw out up to a ton of food, as confirmed by Recycling Works Massachusetts. This doesn’t factor in the energy it takes to grow food, to package it, to ship it and to prepare it — energy that goes to waste along with the tossed-out food. As with all waste, cultural-level factors are contributing to the amount of food we throw away, says Amy Lanou, chair and associate professor of health and wellness at UNCA. “Our government plus the corporate food system has pushed it to that place in order to get us to buy more than we need,” Lanou says. “They don’t care if we eat it or not, they just want us to buy it.” When we separate food from its source, it’s easy to take it for granted, Lanou adds. “[The food] we buy now is not what our grandparents bought. Even if they didn’t grow it, they still bought from farmers who were working near them.” Wright adds that animals in particular have become “this absent thing” and subject to the same cycle of thoughtless waste. “We’re so detached from the process that turns them from living creatures to meat in front of us that they become consumable objects, wasted in the same way that everything else is,” she says. But that uneaten food doesn’t have to go to waste — in fact, some are finding ways to profit from the organic matter we throw away.

On a misty afternoon, Danny Keaton, owner of Danny’s Dumpster, looks out onto three long windrows made of rich dark soil, watching as steam rises from the earthen heaps. On 6 acres that he leases from the city off Azalea Road, Keaton makes a living turning food waste into compost, which is then sold back to the community. In one week, he receives 40 tons of food waste hauled in from 120 different places, including Mission and Pardee hospitals, schools, restaurants and the grocery stores Whole Foods/ Greenlife and Earth Fare. Keaton hopes to expand the operation by buying land, ideally 20 to 30 acres. But though his business is linked to food waste, Keaton says he hopes to see more Buncombe County residents learning to compost and reducing the amount of food they’re tossing out. “Should we really be hauling 40 tons of food waste from only 120 locations?” Keaton reflects. “That sounds like a lot, but what comes here is a drop in the bucket — less than 5 percent of the food waste in this area, I bet.”

Curbie for recycling Barry and Nancy Lawson are early risers, up and at work with the morning sun. They own Curbside Management, commonly known as Curbie, Buncombe County’s only recycling facility. Curbie’s home is a warehouse in Woodfin that’s been turned into a streamlined recycling and sorting machine. Here recyclables from the city of Asheville and surrounding areas as far as Yancey, Transylvania and Graham counties are processed. “WastePro, Waste Management, GDS, Republic all bring their recyclables here,” says Nancy, leading a tour of the facility. The immense depository is filled to the brim with overflowing mountains of cardboard, office paper, aluminum cans, glass and

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f e at u r es | by Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt

Asheville sustainable restaurant Workforce | Asheville, NC

In America, 40 to 50 percent of all food produced is wasted. One grocery store in one week’s time can produce up to a ton of food waste.


get it! story By mAX hunt Photo By PAt BArCAs

alia todd has watched Asheville’s food culture grow into one of the biggest draws to the area. But while that growth meant economic prosperity for some, Todd says it often came at the cost of inequality, low pay and unfair working conditions for the approximately 11,600 restaurant employees in the city. So Todd and fellow worker Jessi Steelman, with support from Just Economics, began to form connections to identify issues and find ways to address them. “As the city grows, local businesses open multiple locations and tourism expands, we felt that restaurant workers needed to be a part of that,” Todd explains. From that effort was born the Asheville Sustainable Restaurant Workforce, formed in May 2014, which seeks to unite employees, business owners and consumers around the concerns of restaurant workers in Asheville and WNC. “When it comes to organizing, it’s about building relationships,” Todd says. “We want to figure out what’s important to restaurant workers in the area. We would like to ensure that everyone, including businesses, are equal in their practices and adhere to the law.” ASRW currently claims over 350 members and has produced a video on


plastic bags. All this, Nancy points out, is only three days’ worth of material. In the course of a month, Barry estimates that they take in “over a couple thousand tons.” Once the material is hauled in, the science of sorting begins. Plastic is separated from cardboard, glass is broken by metal discs, a magnet is used to collect the cans and a low-voltage eddy current pings and propels aluminum cans into place. All of the plastic sorting is done by hand.

restaurant worker rights. Much of the group’s energy is focused on clearing up state and federal laws pertaining to workers’ rights within the industry, including confusion surrounding the minimum wage of tipped employees and how wages are distributed among workers. “There’s a lot of ambiguity around the law,” Todd notes. “We seek to first and foremost clear up those laws. That’s an easy way to get everyone on the same page.” Todd adds that ASRW’s outreach is not exclusive to employees, and the group hopes to build alliances with businesses that are in compliance with the law. In fact, as ASRW closes in on its one-year anniversary in 2015, the group will shift its focus from building membership to expanding outreach to business owners and diners. “We live in a community that is interested in sustainability — where their food comes from, how it’s treated,” Todd notes. “People should be just as interested in who’s preparing and serving it. “Traditionally, there has been a great divide between labor and business,” she adds. “We don’t think it has to be that way. Asheville could be a leader in making sure everyone has a seat at the table.”

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

The industry as a whole, Barry says, has changed rapidly in the past few years. It used to be that all material, once sorted and bundled, was driven to regional facilities for processing. Now, however, that material travels much farther than ever before: it’s driven to Charleston and then shipped across the world. “We send material to India, Indonesia, South America, to Korea and to China daily,” Barry says. “If you were to ask me three years ago, I would have said that 99 percent of our material was [traveling] within a six-hour radius.” Recycling, though, is a very high-energy production, and whether it’s economical depends on the material itself. Back at UNCA, Matthews notes that while it may be attractive to assume that recycling is always cheaper than using virgin material, that idea is “a bit simplistic.” Unfortunately, “it’s not economically always better to recycle,” she says. But recycling does prevent material from being entombed in the land. As Nancy points to the forklifts pushing condensed stacks of paper and crushed plastics, she notes that the facility’s No. 1 goal is “to keep whatever we can from going to the landfill.” “We’re constantly looking for new markets and new places to send our stuff so it can be made into something else,” she adds.

Back to the source All this stuff — the packaging that comes with our food, the plastics that wrap our every purchase — are products of our consumer culture. But what can be done? “Let’s face it,” Barry says. “You and I both buy stuff every day, and it comes with large footprints. If we can reduce the packaging, or at least reduce the material that can’t be recovered, then that’s making a difference.” But of course, change never comes easily. Keaton observes, “If everyone grew their own food and they realized how long it takes to grow their salad, then it would definitely open people’s eyes. But, as our population increases, it feels almost like a tidal wave. It seems overwhelming; it seems too big to fix.” Then again, “It’s got to start somewhere,” he adds. Standing atop trash piled 40 feet deep, Smith notes it ultimately comes back to personal responsibility — our habits and our choices to compost, to recycle, to consider the consequences of what we buy and what we throw away, even when it’s inconvenient. “That’s pretty much where it has to start,” she says. “At the source.” Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt is a staff contributor at Mountain Xpress.

one step at a time Asheville tries to keep pace with rising demands for sidewalks, bike lanes Story And PhotoS By jAke FrAnkel Amid rising interest in transportation alternatives, local activists have been stepping up efforts to make Asheville safer for walking and biking. But while some strides have been made that are worth celebrating, the path to greater advances seems to be lined with historic neglect and budgetary hurdles. The city still has a long walk ahead to fulfill its 2004 goal of building 108 miles of sidewalks. In the last decade, Asheville has constructed only about 18 miles worth, according to a city report released last year. Despite the slow rate of growth, the report does highlight some key improvements. For example, a mile-long stretch of worn grass and rocky paths along Tunnel Road — previously known as “the goat trail,” where veterans walk each day between the Veterans Restoration Quarters and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center — has been paved. But overall, says Asheville City Council member and longtime sidewalks advocate Chris Pelly, the average construction rate of 2 miles per year hasn’t been sufficient. In fact, in a letter he penned to fellow Council members, Pelly noted that for the next five years, the city has about $550,000 slated for new sidewalks — enough to build only about one mile per year. “Despite clear and demonstrated need, the pace of

progress seems to be slowing,” Pelly wrote. “We are effectively relegating many growing neighborhoods to decadeslong waits before residents can walk safely on their own streets.” A recent survey commissioned by the North Carolina chapter of the American Planning Association found that living in walkable communities is a top priority for the millennial generation, a young demographic highly sought by cities for their growing economic clout. It’s no surprise, then, that the local business community has been increasingly supportive of multimodal advocacy organizations such as Asheville on Bikes. “I think that for our business community, as they begin to value more and more walkability and bikeability — [for them] to help with some of these challenges is going to be critical,” says Mike Sule, AoB’s executive director. Over the last two years, the city’s Neighborhood Advisory Committee hosted meetings in each sector of Asheville, which encompasses 50 neighborhoods. When attendees were asked to rate their concerns, a lack of sidewalks topped the list, according to Pelly, who serves on the committee. Pedestrian and bicycle counts tallied by the city indicate that the amount of walkers and bikers has dramatically increased since 2009 in a variety of areas, including those around Charlotte Street, Kimberly and Clingman avenues. 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


f e at u r es | by Jake Frankel In the wake of a high-profile pedestrian fatality on Merrimon Avenue earlier this year, City Council held a retreat where it declared that new sidewalks should be a higher priority. But specific funding wasn’t determined. Pelly has proposed that the city commit $500,000 a year toward construction. “I believe there is broad and significant pent-up demand for sidewalks and pedestrian improvements,” Pelly says in his letter. “If not now, then when? … Two miles a year is inadequate to the demands of our growing city.”

“We are effectively relegating many growing neighborhoods to decadeslong waits before residents can walk safely on their own streets.” - Chris Pelly, Asheville City Council Meanwhile, the city is working on drafting a Multimodal Transportation Plan that is geared to “look at the system in a comprehensive way and will measure mobility deficiencies citywide and will develop and establish a priority system.” Scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015, the process will involve several public meetings to solicit feedback. The overarching goal is “to create an effective and progressive plan that encourages health-oriented and sustainable transportation, reduces barriers to access transportation and connects residents and visitors with the places they want and need to go with improved safety, efficiency and accessibility,” according to the city transportation department’s website.

Completing the streets Sule and his group are trying to mount pressure on the city to make sure the transportation plan prioritizes bike lanes and greenways. In the past five years, he says, Asheville “has made considerable leaps and bounds taking on multimodal issues.” Those efforts included designating several miles of bike lanes and painting streets with bike-friendly “sharrow” markers, as well as opening new sections of greenway. The improvements helped earn Asheville a bronze rating by the League of American Bicyclists, which evaluates cities across the country for their bikeability. And Sule hopes that rating will go up to silver in coming years. A major improvement will be the expansive makeover of the River Arts District, which will include a wide array of interconnected sidewalks, bike lanes, parks and greenways. The city is partnering with a range of private parties and government agencies on those projects, funded in part by a $14.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. More comprehensive partnerships like that will be instrumental in making further progress, says Sule, who notes that many of the area’s roads are actually overseen by the N.C. Department of Transportation rather than the city. The state agency adopted a “Complete Streets” policy in 2009, which directs it to “consider and incorporate” modes of transportation other than single-passenger vehicles when designing new projects or making improvements. That’s an improvement for a department Sule sees as having a “history of marginalizing bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure.” 26

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

f e at u r es | by Jake Frankel

Watch your step: In 2010, hundreds of people marched down Tunnel Road advocating for the construction of a sidewalk between the Veterans Restoration Quarters and the VA Medical Center. That sidewalk has since come to fruition, but a report shows that Asheville is falling short of its goals.

However, the stated policy is still a long way from making the NCDOT “an exemplary model” when it comes to implementation, Sule adds. And his assessment is shared by Paul Black, director of the French Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organization, which helps direct major transit decisions across the region. “NCDOT is … not in the sidewalk business, so there is no easy way to provide sidewalks outside of city limits, even where the land use really needs them.”

For the next five years the city has about $555,000 slated for new sidewalks — enough to build only about one mile per year.

In an attempt to increase bike safety on a dangerous incline, the state DOT did approve a climbing lane on Haywood Road, but didn’t contribute any of the roughly $100,000 in funding the construction required. Instead, the money for the lane, which gives slower-moving cyclists a designated area to climb the hill seperate from other traffic, came from the city and New Belgium Brewing, which is building a major new facility nearby at the edge of the River Arts District.

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f e at u r es | by Jake Frankel

ride-along: Each spring Asheville on Bikes organizes a St. Patrick’s Day community ride to help bring the riding community together and show support for multimodal infrastructure improvements.

Sule has a long list of other DOT streets he’d like to see improved with bike lanes and sidewalks. The stretch of Riverside Drive from Amboy to Tunnel Road, and Broadway near downtown, top the list, as well as the rapidly developing South Slope area of downtown. Meanwhile, residents of the Hazel Mill, Merrimon, Five Points, Charlotte Street and New Haw Creek neighborhoods have been particularly vocal recently in their push for new pedestrian infrastructure. In 2012, Buncombe County passed a Greenways and Trails Master Plan to eventually build about 83 miles of pathways around the area. Many would link existing parks, greenways, residential areas and schools; several follow waterways such as the Swannanoa and French Broad rivers. But a 2010 feasibility study for one of the proposed corridors suggests that the price could be high. Building an 18-mile greenway along the Swannanoa River/ U.S. 70 corridor from the John B. Lewis Soccer Complex on Azalea Road in Asheville to Ridgecrest, east of Black Mountain, would cost an estimated $10.3 million. It’s hard to say where that kind of money might come from. Since passing the plan, the county has yet to build a single mile of paths. The ongoing lack of county action is a sore subject for Sule and others. “I think there’s tepid political support for that at the county level,” he says. “There is absolutely more that I’d like to see done.” So it seems that for major multimodal progress to keep pace with demand, activists will have to put pressure on politicians to start doing a better job of putting their money where their mouths are. “The biggest challenge for anything in the transportation realm is lack of resources,” notes Black. Jake Frankel is a staff reporter with Mountain Xpress.

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mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

A change is gonna come: Gary Ball was the co-owner of Ball’s Machine & Manufacturing until — faced with declining revenue — he decided to move the multigenerational facility out of the manufacturing sector and into the solar sector, with a new venture called Solarnomics. Photo by Pat Barcas

the business of alternative energy The key to the future of a self-sustaining economy in N.C. Story By PAt BArCAS Alternative or clean energy is defined as energy coming from sources such as wind, biomass, hydroelectric and alternative fuels. For a long time the industry has been considered futuristic, unestablished, maybe even a little strange. But with efficient and affordable advances in technology, juicy state and federal tax incentives, and the ability to keep both jobs and cash local, alternative energy is no longer a fringe provider but a serious plan for the future. Data collected by the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association shows that the alternative energy sector contributed $4.8 billion in annual state gross revenue in 2014. All that revenue is a result of local jobs that are booming. According to NCSEA, from 2012-2014, employment in the alternative energy industry increased from 15,200 to 22,995 fulltime-equivalent jobs in North Carolina — which means an annual increase of 25 percent.

Solar’s hard-won battles Solar power is the big growth sector for the state, owing its success (a 34 percent share of the clean energy revenues) to rising technology, plunging costs and some of the best tax breaks in the country. There is currently a 30 percent federal tax incentive and a 35 percent personal renewable energy tax credit in North Carolina. The state tax credit, implemented five years ago, includes a maximum rebate of $10,500 per installation of solar photovoltaic systems of any size and has catapulted North Carolina into the No. 4 state in the nation for solar energy installations.

For some Buncombe residents, like Gary Ball, North Carolina’s progress is also propelling personal change. Ball owned and operated Ball’s Machine & Manufacturing Co. in Candler for most of his adult life. The shop was a multigenerational family business that once serviced more than 100 industrial companies. But by 2008, the company’s business was reduced to just 30 industrial clients, and Ball realized the need to diversify. Ball started a new endeavor, called Solarnomics, seven years ago and saw sales increase steadily every year, while business at his machine shop either stagnated or went down. Ball pulled the plug on the old business, auctioning off thousands of dollars of equipment to fully focus on the solar industry — namely making support poles and roof structures for panel arrays. Ball partners with FLS Energy in Asheville for electrical services and installation, but he says the solar installation itself is amazingly simple. “This is like a big Tinkertoy set,” he says. “The hardest part of installation is digging a hole in the ground.” His systems are all made in America, and in some states, such as Mississippi and Louisiana, don’t even require an electrician to fully install them. Solarnomics also installed the mounts for solar car charging stations in downtown Asheville, ready to replenish the batteries of electric vehicles. In addition to all this, the company is making friends in some unexpected places. In Ball’s large shop in Candler sits an 8 feet tall mock-up of the oil derrick Solarnomics has been working with off-site. The company provides the solar systems for a major oil company’s rigs. The solar power is used to propel the pumps that draw oil out of the Earth — quite the juxtaposition. 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


f e at u r es | by Pat Barcas

the Collider | Asheville, NC


get it! story AnD Photo By PAt BArCAs

For a business to succeed long term, it has to tackle challenges from a number of factors — supply and demand, market trends, technology and workforce changes, just to name a few. But here’s one you maybe didn’t think of: climate change. The Collider, a new business venture opening in Asheville, will calculate climate change data and present trend predictions as an asset for businesses. The group will mine the massive data stores at the National Climatic Data Center, located right across the street from The Collider office on the fourth floor of the Wells Fargo building downtown. Located in Asheville since 1993, the NCDC is billed as the world’s largest active archive of weather data with 150 years of climate information available. The data collected by NCDC, though a huge resource, remains largely untapped by businesses planning for what future climate patterns may bring. Will a particular region be mired in drought in a decade or face punishing rainstorms? Will it be snowier than normal or experience a warming trend? The projects and businesses that can benefit from long-term climate data are limitless, from construction of a new building to farming, shipping


routes, landscape design, water systems, health care and disaster management. robin cape, project accelerator at The Collider, says the consultant nonprofit group is not in it for the politics of climate change. The goal is to observe facts and create an indispensable business model. “It’s a frank discussion,” Cape says. “When people see climate change discussed in a noncharged environment, they realize it can impact assets. The first step is asking, ‘What does climate change have to do with me?’ Then ask, ‘What are your exact needs?’” Even small climate factors can radiate out and greatly impact how a building is constructed, the budget of an area’s firefighting unit or how irrigation and water systems are built. The Collider is all about helping businesses become more efficient at predicting and adapting to future climates — and potentially saving millions of dollars. The venture, a privatepublic partnership, plans to open this fall and will house an 11,000-squarefoot workspace that has room for 100 employees. The group also plans to hold educational outreach sessions for students and citizens.

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

“The solar panels can provide about 90 percent of the power the derrick needs,” Ball explains. “I had one oil guy tell me, ‘Don’t tell anyone we’re using solar panels out here.’” Whether or not the oilman was joking, the realization that homes can operate as their own fully independent unit, free of a grid at the mercy of big energy pricing and policy, is a huge step forward for society, says Dave Hollister, president and chief executive officer for Sundance Power Systems in Weaverville. Hollister says the economic model that solar power operates on is basically the opposite of traditional, “dirty” energy sources such as coal, oil and nuclear. “With solar, you pay a lot upfront right now, but the fuel is free forever and is unlimited,” Hollister notes. “There’s no way dirty fuel can compete with that. Their model is you pay a little upfront, but the cost goes up over time and can eventually skyrocket as the fuel gets scarce.” Sundance was founded in 1995 with the core mission to help people and the planet, but also to turn a profit. The company started working with wind, solar and radiant floor heating systems, but during the last five years, as photovoltaic systems have dropped in cost by half, Hollister has focused only on solar. The drop in cost has been supercharged by another factor Hollister says has bolstered sales, something that transcends politics — the fact that a pricey solar panel system can now add equity to a home’s value.

“With solar, you pay a lot upfront, but the fuel is free forever and is unlimited. There’s no way dirty fuel can compete with that.” — Dave Holliser, Sundance Power Systems “The value of the system can now be placed on the value equity of your home,” said Hollister. “This adds more value to the house than what you’ve put into the system. This is now officially acknowledged by appraisers, which was a hard-won value by us.” Consumers can now add solar panels to their home for roughly the same cost as a moderately priced new car, eliminating or drastically cutting their energy bills and potentially getting that money back (and more) through the increased value to their house should they decide to sell. Adding another cherry on top, solar-powered homes have the advantage of selling faster in an underperforming national market. “Green homes have proven to hold their value and sell faster during the market crash that we just experienced,” says Maggie Leslie, director of the Western North Carolina Green Building Council. The 260-member, nonprofit educational organization is dedicated to building sustainable, energy-efficient communities. Leslie said green homes, which have been in demand more and more, not only use less energy, but also bring other benefits to the consumer. “Typically, the cost is about 1 to 2 percent higher to build a green home, but the cost is quickly recouped,” Leslie explains. “At a minimum, this is about quality construction and also includes air quality audits, pest barriers and green materials.”

Fuel for thought Solar does have the ability to charge a car, but a transportation sector that could really keep jobs in North Carolina is the biofuel industry, currently expanding at a rapid rate locally at Blue Ridge Biofuels.

f e at u r es | by Pat Barcas

Power up: Solar systems are “like a big Tinkertoy set,” says Gary Ball of Solarnomics. “The hardest part of installation is digging a hole in the ground.” Photo courtesy of WNCGBC According to Woody Eaton, co-owner and CEO, the company processed 30,000 gallons of bio-fuel in their first year. Flash forward ten years: Blue Ridge Biofuels recycled 400,000 gallons of bio-fuel from discarded cooking oil in 2014 alone. The oil itself, which is used in diesel engines without any modification, is a golden, french-fry-smelling liquid that boasts 100 percent biodegradability, increased fuel economy and is 85 percent cleaner-burning than traditional diesel. It is less toxic than table salt, and the current cost per gallon is about 50 cents higher than diesel (which had dramatically dropped in price at the time of this report). “Biodiesel is great for the local economy,” Eaton says. “North Carolina imports every gallon of fuel, except biodiesel. When we focus on domestically produced fuel, the money stays in state.” Eaton reports that North Carolina is one of the largest biodiesel consumers in the country, with growth potential looming larger on the horizon. It has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any fuel, which should attract the attention of anyone wishing to limit their ecological footprint. “This is one of the easiest, quickest ways to reduce carbon emissions,” says Eaton, mentioning that his company’s biggest customers are owners of small diesel cars. “People can easily make the choice to reduce their carbon emissions; it’s as easy as switching fuels.” For providers, the fact that alternative energy can cut the tether to large energy corporations and empower the masses, all while helping the environment and providing local jobs and revenue, is tantalizing.

At the crossroads While the growth in solar energy is remarkable, it isn’t entirely smooth sailing for alternative energy. The federal residential renewable energy tax credit is set to expire at the end of 2016, and the 35 percent state refund is set to expire at the end of 2015, possibly going away forever. “It would be insane to eliminate this tax credit, unless you eliminate tax credits for all other forms of energy,” says Ned Doyle, producer and host of the “Our Southern Community” radio program for the last 15 years. Doyle coordinated the Southern Energy and Environment Expo from 2001 until 2010 and speaks regularly around the region on sustainable topics for groups, colleges, events and seminars.

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f e at u r es | by Pat Barcas

Fill ‘er up: Paul Nunan of Blue Ridge Biofuels collects from a tank at Warren Wilson College. Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Biofuels Although there is much talk about alternative energy subsidies, Doyle says no special treatment is given to solar and wind, and in fact, many more tax breaks are awarded to coal, nuclear and hydraulic fracturing energy methods. Doyle adds that state and federal lawmakers are “lunatics” if they want to intentionally slow down an industry that is poised to be on a runaway train to success, solving a lot of social and economic problems along the way. With solar power, Doyle says, jobs are contained within the state or region. Money isn’t whisked away to energy concerns across the world. The money goes to installers, electricians and equipment suppliers in America.

“People can easily make the choice to reduce their carbon emissions; it’s as easy as switching fuels.” — Woody Eaton, Blue Ridge Biofuels “We’re at a crossroads now,” Doyle says. “All the technology is available today. With conventional fuel sources, people are seeing the writing on the wall, and they’re pushing back. There’s a measurable shift underway, and that’s why there may be a confrontation politically this fall.” Back at Hollister’s shop, the idea that solar technology can spark a shift in society, or even a social revolution, hangs in the air. He says the United States is on the cusp of something major, akin to the social and fiscal implications of the introduction of the automobile or development of the Internet. “Solar doesn’t privatize profits and socialize the losses,” Hollister says. “I feel that every customer who has made the choice to switch to this energy is a hero of the planet. This is a poignant and crucial time for solar energy to change humanity’s relationship with our future and with the planet. It’s really that important.” Pat Barcas is a contributing writer and photographer with Mountain Xpress. 32

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

Feed the need: Local groups are waging a battle on food insecurity from multiple fronts, yet the need for assistance continues to rise. Recent studies have found that more than 100,000 people in WNC struggle to feed themselves or their families. Photo by Carrie Eidson

hunger stops here WNC’s war on food insecurity Story By CArrIe eIdSon Lynne Hillis was in her late 50s before she ever ate a winter squash or fresh beets. It wasn’t that she didn’t have an interest in healthy eating, but living on Supplemental Security Income means a limited budget for the Swannanoa resident — a budget that doesn’t allow for a lot of fresh produce. “Vegetables are more expensive than meat,” Hillis notes. “Even with food stamps, I can’t go buy vegetables.” For Hillis, recent cuts to food assistance funding and changes in eligibility meant that she experienced a $100 per month reduction in her food stamps, followed shortly by another $5. It may seem like a small amount, but Hillis says the effect was devastating. “I wish people could know how terrible it feels that $5 is important to me,” she says. “My budget is so tight that all the money I spend is on things I absolutely need.” Hillis was able to find food assistance — and access to fresh vegetables — at Bounty & Soul, a pop-up produce market held at three locations in the Black Mountain area. The market offers food from MANNA FoodBank as well as excess produce from local grocery stores, growers and gleaners. If it wasn’t for Bounty & Soul, Hillis says, “there are days where I would be totally without hope.”

Bounty & Soul volunteer Karen Leonetti says stories like Hillis’ aren’t uncommon — but it’s also wrong to assume that everyone experiencing food insecurity in Western North Carolina is in an identical situation. “Food insecurity has many different faces,” Leonetti notes. “It’s not just someone living on $700 a month. It’s also people who have lost their jobs, who are inbetween jobs, who are newly divorced or who had to get out of a dangerous or uncomfortable situation. “Everyone has a different reason,” she adds. “We’re all just trying to find ways to make it work.”

the unseen problem According to MANNA FoodBank’s 2014 Map the Meal Gap study, food insecurity affects 15.3 percent of WNC, or an estimated 108,280 individuals — including more than 38,000 children. Feeding America’s 2014 Hunger in America report found that 60 percent of the households surveyed in WNC had a monthly income of $1,000 or less. “I’ve heard several stories from moms who don’t eat so their children can eat,” says Allison Casparian, founder and executive 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


f e at u r es | by Carrie Eidson director of Bounty & Soul. “I think people really have no idea. It’s not that people don’t care — they just don’t know. The face of hunger in this country, and especially in this area, doesn’t look like what many of us expect.” It may be difficult to reconcile that lack of awareness with the fact that the Asheville area has received national attention as a food-insecure area. A 2012 report from the Food Research and Action Center found the Asheville metropolitan statistical area had a food hardship rate higher than several other, significantly larger, metropolitan areas — including Miami, Houston and Los Angeles. In fact, Asheville’s rate was the ninth-worst in the nation. So what is food hardship? According to FRAC, it’s when a person does not have enough money to buy food for himself or his family. And while that may seem clear on paper, food activists like Casparian say many people still have a hard time recognizing food hardship even when it’s right in front of them. “I had one person who came to Bounty & Soul to witness what we do, and she pulled me aside and said, ‘These people don’t need food,’” Casparian notes. “She said to me, ‘They drive, they own cars. How can they need food?’ And I realized we really need to educate on what the working poor look like. “People think that if you own a car, if you have a job, then you should be fine,” Casparian continues. “Of course, many of my clients have cars — they have to get to their jobs. And at the end of the month, they are still choosing between buying gas for that car or buying food.” But Casparian adds that addressing food insecurity isn’t just about providing food. It’s not just that we feed, it’s what we feed, she says, adding that it’s time to “take on the mantra of caring about the food we give out.”

“I’ve heard stories from moms who don’t eat so their children can eat.” — Allison Casparian, Bounty & Soul “When you don’t understand food or what it can do for you, it’s just food,” she says. “From that perspective, food can be anything — fresh carrots or a bag of Cheetos. Knowing about nutrition empowers people to take back their life and their health.” At the Bounty & Soul markets, Casparian leads classes that cover nutrition, healthy cooking, exercise and wellness. For Hillis, those classes enabled her to discover a passion for container gardening,

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as well as new ways to cook vegetables — and she credits that new diet and time spent in the sunshine with lowering her high cholesterol. Casparian calls these classes, and the friendships that have formed around them, “the little something extra” that is so important to her clients’ well-being. “That little something can be knowledge — knowing you can go home and do something for yourself, for your health,” she says. “It can be that conversation they have with the person next to them that makes them happy instead of depressed, lets them know they are part of a community. It’s the connection around the food that is most important.”

From the field to the table Providing healthy food to those who need it most is the mission of Gardens That Give WNC, a group of community gardens that share the common goal of growing food for donation. The effort, launched four years ago, now reaches across several WNC counties, connecting gardens in Asheville, Black Mountain, Swannanoa, Sylva, Cullowhee, Spruce Pine and Yancey County. According to Susan Sides, executive director of The Lord’s Acre community garden in Fairview and a founding member of Gardens That Give, when a community comes together to grow food, it combats food insecurity on two levels. Not only does more local produce get to WNC’s food pantries and open kitchens, but more people become aware of the need experienced by their neighbors. “What we try to tackle is community, bringing people together,” Sides says. “Information isn’t always the problem — it’s inspiration too. Part of what we do is find ways to bring people together who are not normally together. In our society, we talk to our friends, we share on social media. But we get more headway when we meet face to face, in the same room, in the same garden, and have real discourse.” What does it take to be a garden that gives? Only the desire to help, Sides says. The gardens that currently make up the organization range in size from small plots to several acres. Some grow solely for donation, while others retain some of their yield for community supported agriculture subscribers or for the growers’ own tables. Some are faith-based, some are connected to universities. But all are united in growing food for others and spreading the movement. In 2015, Gardens That Give, aided by Sides and interns at The Lord’s Acre, aims to produce an information booklet with simple steps that walk potential growers through starting a donation garden. It will include everything from gardening tips to ways to connect with food assistance resources. The idea is to encourage more donation gardens, not just in WNC, but across the country. “I haven’t seen many organizations like Gardens That Give,” notes Sides. “I believe there are lots of donation gardens happening all over, but they aren’t connected. Having that connection allows us to share resources, to share information. I want to see this spread as far as it wants to go.” In addition to producing the booklet, the organization will host its second annual garden tour in the summer. The event invites the public to visit and learn from donation gardens throughout the region, hopefully taking the idea back to their own fields. “The more work you do, the more you begin to see happen,” Sides says. “Our goal is to build leadership within the community and create more gathering spots where people can rise up and learn from each other.”

raise the flags Several organizations in WNC are working to combat food insecurity. But are they working well together? The all-volunteer

f e at u r es | by Carrie Eidson group Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council aims to connect and coordinate the many hunger-fighting efforts underway in the city and county. “We’re looking at ‘How are we doing?’” says Mary Lou Kemph, general facilitator for the A-B Food Policy Council. “We’ve got all these different nonprofits going in different directions. We need to pull them together, have people look at the impact, measure it and figure out if we’re making a difference.”

“Our goal is to build leadership within the community and create more gathering spots where people can rise up and learn from each other.” — Susan Sides, Gardens The Give WNC Since forming in 2011, the group has worked with the Asheville City Council and the Housing Community Development Committee to encourage more gardening and farming in the city and the county, Kemph says. The A-B Food Policy Council makes public policy recommendations and supports community partners. The group also drafted the Food Action Plan, which was adopted by City Council in January 2013. Since its adoption, the plan has prompted policy changes allowing hoop houses and greenhouses (up to a certain size) to be built without permits, individuals to set up farm stands in their yards and farmers markets to operate in residentially zoned areas. In past years, the group has focused on determining the direction of the initiative and recruiting members. But in 2015, Kemph says, the food council will shift its sights to accurately measuring impact. Part of that effort will involve coordinating with Buncombe County on its Community Health Improvement Process, which measures several health indicators, including nutrition, with an “online scorecard” that allows the city and the county to track and share data. “This gets at the big questions: ‘How do we measure what we’re doing? How do we know if it’s having any kind of impact? Are we even making a difference?’ We need to know all that if we are going to continue,” Kemph says. In the last year, representatives from the A-B Food Policy Council also journeyed to Winston-Salem for the first annual gathering of North Carolina food policy councils. At that meeting, the Asheville-Buncombe group was recognized as a leader in food councils and asked to become a mentor for newer groups, Kemph adds. “There are all kinds of food policy councils that are springing up all over the state, but they’re very new,” she continues. “We’ve only been here for three years, but that makes us one of the oldest. The other councils are looking to us because we’ve already gotten something done.” In 2015, the group will work to strengthen connections between other regional food policy groups, including the WNC Food Policy Council, Catawba County Food Policy Council, Caldwell Food Policy Council and Toe River Food Security Network. The A-B Food Policy Council will also lobby to have edible vegetation planted on the proposed greenways in the River Arts District.

liberation through cooperation: The workerowners of Ujamaa Freedom Market, from left, Olufemi Lewis, Calvin Allen and Stephanie Freeman. Photo by Cindy Kunst

Read more about Bounty & Soul & Gardens That Give WNC in Xpress’ online profiles mountainx.com/guides 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


f e at u r es | by Carrie Eidson But Kemph adds that for real work to be done, more people must become aware of the hardship around them. “We’re really still battling food insecurity,” she says. “It’s not just, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have some edibles in the park?’ There’s a much bigger issue. People going about their daily living, going to work, taking care of their kids — I don’t think they’re really aware of what’s happening for the less fortunate.”

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mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

Remember the FRAC study ranking the Asheville area as the city with the ninth-highest food hardship rate in the country? Now contrast that with the seemingly endless national media mentions given to the city’s gourmet local food scene. “For us to be glorifying that we’re this ‘Foodtopia,’ well, it’s not really like that,” says Olufemi Lewis, co-founder and worker-owner of Ujamaa Freedom Market. Ujamaa is a mobile market that brings local foods and premade sandwiches, as well as cooking demonstrations, nutritional information and books on self-empowerment and improvement, to Asheville’s low-income neighborhoods, including public housing communities. The idea behind Ujamaa, explains worker-owners Lewis, Calvin Allen and Stephanie Freeman, is to provide handups, not handouts. The endeavor isn’t grant-funded, and the food isn’t free. The market is a cooperative business, one that aims to offer jobs to people who face employment barriers, including poverty or criminal backgrounds. But Ujamaa is also about overcoming a lack of access — addressing food insecurity in Asheville’s many urban areas that are classified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as food deserts. In several of Asheville’s low-income neighborhoods — such as the public housing developments around the Edington Center in the Southside community — the only food sources are gas stations, if there are any at all. “Where I live in North Asheville, there are four grocery stores right by me,” Freeman says. “But when you go to a community like Hillcrest, there’s nothing. There’s Earth Fare, and it’s uphill both ways. In order to create the food, the nutrition, the education, you have to have accessibility.” The education piece, admit the worker-owners, is an uphill battle. “There’s a different relationship with food in these communities,” Lewis notes. “‘Food comes in a bag, a box or a can.’ We have to show them how to cook food properly, or how eating fruits and vegetables raw can be nutritious. “I do understand the culture of our society and where we’re at,” she adds. “I just hope that people will have enough in them to make the changes and choose better options. But we need to have better foods available for them in order for them to make that choice.” The worker-owners hope to see more food security and wellness resources coming directly into communities, eliminating the need for residents to travel to get support — a sometimes impossible task if access to transportation is limited. That direct and continued interaction will allow a community to feel directly connected to its own advancement, Lewis says. “If you want to improve the health of a community and the health of individuals beyond just a class or a food pantry, there have to be better efforts to get the community involved,” she explains. Once people take control of their own well-being, Lewis adds, they become empowered. The worker-owners say that spirit of empowerment — part of Ujamaa’s stated mission of “liberation through cooperation” — is what inspires communities to call for improved equality in other areas as well. “Food issues, housing issues, systemic racism — it’s all linked,” Lewis says. “We have to address all the issues that keep people oppressed.”

It starts with the culture: The Culture Change in Aging Network is one of several local groups developing models to empower elders to age in community, says facilitator Linda Kendall-Fields, right. Photo by Carrie Eidson.

the modern elder Reclaiming what’s sacred in life’s later stages By jordAn Foltz Throughout history, elders served societies worldwide, preserving tradition and bestowing the wisdom to foster regenerative, balanced communities. But in recent decades, our culture has shifted from venerating wisdom and experience to prioritizing youth and innovation. Likewise, our society has come to view elders as a liability rather than a vital resource. However, as the boomer generation moves into elderhood, many are realizing what’s at stake when elders are lost from the social fabric. They’re aghast at the realities of our current model of care and are sparking a movement that seeks to redefine the later stages of life — not just for the benefit of elders but for the enrichment of all generations.

lost in the dream The 1950s saw the beginning of a post-World War II cultural tide, where economic prosperity lured young Americans away from their hometowns to follow the American dream. At the same time, medical advancements were dramatically increasing life expectancy. Combined, these two factors meant that, for the first time, mom and pop were growing old alone. “Hospitals started becoming the place to go when the elders could not live at home,” explains Aditi Sethi-Brown, palliative-care physician at CarePartners’ Solace, a hospice facility for those unable to live at home. She describes this pervasive cultural shift as “the medicalization of aging,” where growing old and dying changed from being seen as sacred, dignified and natural to diseases to be combated.

Sethi-Brown describes how the nursing home industry first developed in order to accommodate frail elders as hospitals could not continue as a long-term housing solution. In the ‘70s, around 13,000 of these facilities popped up throughout the country, establishing an infrastructure that has carried on through the present. “The whole idea [in nursing homes] is to make sure people are safe,” Sethi-Brown says. “So they stick them in the hallway in a wheelchair so they don’t fall, and they end up staring at the walls. Fear of being sued causes a lot of this. … Facilities are afraid to allow more vibrancy because vibrancy entails dynamism, and dynamism entails risk.” Sethi-Brown is a member of The Council On Dying to Live, a local group of professionals who work to find solutions for the current systems of elder care, which they all agree is riddled with problems. Members say the root of the dysfunction stems from a cultural fear of death itself. If we reintegrate the premises of inevitability and dignity back into our understanding of death — if we face death bravely — then we would not end up sacrificing quality of life as we battle, deny and try to conquer that fate. The current cultural mindset, they say, equates quality of life with material capability and consumption, and with that, our life’s purpose has slipped into the material realm as well — racing the clock and trying to achieve some permanence and meaning through how much we can experience and consume. Rather than ignoring and fearing our transition out of this world, members of CODTL ask that we view death as an inescapable reality that, when embraced, encourages us to live our lives to the fullest. 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


f e at u r es | by Jordan Foltz With salary and Social Security loss combined, McLimans says in the years caregivers spend looking after their loved ones they lose an average of $350,000 in potential income. And since caregivers often find themselves in that role quite suddenly, it’s not uncommon that they lose their jobs as well, she adds. Often, people who find themselves providing care don’t identify as “caregivers,” which presents a problem when it comes to utilizing the resources available to them, explains Sandy Norbo of CarePartners Adult Day Center. “I always say that education is the biggest piece — right in the beginning,” she says.

“In our region, roughly one-third of the population are older adults, and when you count in the folks that are caregiving, you’re talking about over half the population.” Across the generations: Elders are a wealth of stories that connect us to our context and where we come from in ways that Google and Wikipedia can’t touch, says Nancy Lindell of CarePartners, who helps to organize the nonprofit’s Adult Day Health / Day Care program. Photo courtesy of CarePartners “We put elders in places we don’t want to visit,” says CODTL member Greg Lathrop, “rather than honoring what is left for them to share with us about wisdom and living.” What's more, in a world where doctors play God and youth equals power, Lathrop explains, many elders are simply afraid of voicing what they want. “What do you want?” Lathrop recalls asking his grandmother, as the rest of the grandchildren deliberated putting her in a nursing home. “She said, ‘They tell me I have to go to a nursing home.’ And I said, ‘With respect, Grandma, that’s not what I asked you: What do you want?’ She said, ‘Well, … if I go to a nursing home, then I’m going to die.’” Lathrop says he had to ask her three or four times before she was brave enough to say, “I want to go home.” In fact, many families don’t want to choose a nursing home for their parents, but economic circumstances often press them to make that decision. “In health care in America right now, it’s ultimately a question of, ‘What does your insurance pay for?’” Lathrop says. “You can’t stay home because Medicare and Medicaid will only pay for you to be in a facility. … It’s not working, and at some point, we have to enter into a more cooperative community model.” Without the help of insurance, many adopt the role of caregiver themselves. “In our region, roughly one-third of the population are older adults, and when you count in the folks that are caregiving, you’re talking about over half the population,” says LeeAnne Tucker, director of Aging and Volunteer Services at Land of Sky Regional Council. LOS’ Family Caregivers Support Program, run by Carol McLimans, offers $1,000 of annual assistance to families for professional care. Even at the lower-end rate of $20 an hour, McLimans says, the fund only affords families 50 hours of inhome care each year. The caregivers themselves are at risk, McLimans adds, “because they’re often only providing for the person they are caring for — forgetting about their own health and becoming extremely stressed.” 38

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

— LeeAnne Tucker, Land of Sky Regional Council

the coming wave A 2010 Pew Research Center study finds that baby boomers are turning 65 at a rate of 10,000 per day. North Carolina’s State Data Center projects that this trend means Buncombe County’s population over 60 will climb from about 60,000 to almost 100,000 over the next 20 years — and North Carolina’s population of individuals ages 75 to 84 will increase by 102 percent. The current system is ill-prepared to handle this shift, and the boomer generation is not eager to have their elder years compromised by systems that they’ve had plenty of time to see fail. The boomers are the first generation in the nation’s history to see their parents experience late old age in such huge numbers, and as they see themselves approach that phase of life, some are starting to brainstorm ways to create a more sustainable, enriching and affordable way to live. “They’re going, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t want to live in assisted living!’ But dealing with my own parents in their situations, I’m realizing that aging in place isn’t the whole answer either,” says Linda Kendall Fields, who heads the Culture Change in Aging Network of Buncombe County. “And so alternate concepts are emerging called ‘aging in community.’” Fields highlights three models for aging in community that are starting to sprout up around the country. The first is shared housing, which she describes as the “‘Golden Girls’ model,” where seniors live together in communal property. The second model, community-owned co-housing, spans generations. Of this model, which includes West Asheville’s Westwood, Fields says, “What’s happening is its members are aging, and the community is starting to ask questions like, ‘What happens when someone here has a stroke or starts to develop Alzheimer’s? How far does this community stretch, and how do we build in that kind of care?’” The third example she describes is called Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities. NORCs can be any given neighborhood and don’t require communal ownership of property. A neighborhood can become a NORC if its residents do strength-based assessments on how they can help one another and set up barter and support systems to meet varying needs. “Generally, there needs to be some small, core group that’s committed to leading that,” Fields says, though she notes that there is software available that residents can utilize to support NORC development.

f e at u r es | by Jordan Foltz The CCAN holds public meetings the third Wednesday of every month to address the “Living Environments” criterion of Buncombe County’s Aging Plan, part of an effort to make sure all the county’s seniors have the support they need for healthy lives. “We have people walking into their 60s, 70s, and 80s without the savings that their parents had,” Fields explains. “And they’re going to have to figure out how to do it without the government and without their pensions.”

Finding elderhood Aging in community is about more than just a network of support to meet elders’ basic needs — it’s also about a network where elders themselves are needed. Seniors today don’t just face a difficult system when it comes to housing or care; but they also face the existential dilemma of finding purpose, usefulness, an intergenerational connection and meaningfulness in today’s world. We generally take it as true that age brings wisdom, but with a generation of elders hanging onto their youth, we lose the value and importance of those with the greatest messages to share. “What is very foreign to American culture is the importance of elderhood as a distinct, developmental stage,” Fields says. “Instead, there’s this concept of never-ending adulthood.” Sethi-Brown adds, “We pride the 80-year-olds who can run a marathon. We put billboards up about it … and so other people who can’t run marathons at 80 are not considered as successful.” If current cultural norms push elders to achieve value through youthfulness, not only are they lost in a search for identity and purpose, but we lose them as a source for inherent and unique abilities like wisdom — because with today's dependence on technology, society no longer relies on wisdom to survive. What was once sage advice may now be seen as irrelevant, outdated, overshadowed by innovation — causing fewer seniors to cultivate wisdom altogether.

“We have people walking into their 60s, 70s and 80s without the saving that their parents had, and they’re going to have to figure out how to do it without the government and without their pensions.”

From the letters, more than 100 people signed on to attend an open forum at OLLI in early March 2015. However, in the pursuit of this more traditional role, Elders Fierce for Justice, and boomers in general, may find that the role as it once existed is gone for good. Rather than reclaiming it from the past, they may need to redefine it in a way that meets modern needs. The traditional elder fits perfectly into a society whose very survival depended on the renewal of customs and ethics that kept communities in balance. To achieve that balance, however, modern American culture is pressed to branch away from conventional ways of being and thinking, repeatedly eliminating the usefulness of “how it used to be.” As the elder role is redefined, it’s necessary to involve the many generations in discourse and decision-making, as one generation’s youth will become another generation’s elders. “I think surviving in and of itself is a kind of wisdom,” says OLLI’s director, Catherine Frank. “You can say, ‘Here’s what we did.’ But as an older adult, I think you have to be open to the idea that there are other ways, and listening to younger people [and recognizing], ‘That’s not exactly the struggle we fought, but it’s part of the struggle. And here’s what we learned, and here’s what I can bring to the work that needs to be done.’ Even if that isn’t just wisdom — that kind of exchange is really important.” If we’re looking for a way to engage with elders, the opportunity isn’t difficult to find, notes Wendy Marsh of Buncombe Council on Aging. In fact, aging services are always in need of volunteers. “There isn’t as much interest in helping older adults as there is in helping other groups of people,” Marsh says. “I think people have a hard time seeing their own futures.”






Born in 2014 from discussion groups at UNC Asheville’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the group Elders Fierce for Justice grew out of a sense of urgency to take action and rediscover the role that lies beyond adulthood and career. “There’s an expression at OLLI that a large number of people there are PIPs: Previously Important People,” says Steve Kaagan, one of the founders of Elders Fierce for Justice. “[Without their careers], they don’t have a role anymore. All of us had decided to really change our narrative and that what we wanted to do was to reclaim the role of elder.” The group kicked off its outreach with a series of op-eds in the Asheville Citizen-Times. The first letter, written by Mahan Siler, opens: “A new idea is rising to expression in our community. Persons over 65, officially retired from a variety of professions, are coming together and rediscovering the traditional role of elder in the service of a more just, healthy and compassionate community.”

J. Weiland

— Linda Kendall Fields, Culture Change in Aging Network of Buncombe County

21 North Liberty Street 828.251.9125

Asheville, NC 28801

www.legertonarchitecture.com 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


pa r t ner p r o f i le s

Appalachian sustainable Agriculture Project | Asheville, NC Photo CourtEsy of AsAP

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project is pleased to be a partner for the 2015 Get It! Guide. ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. ASAP developed the Appalachian Grown program to support Southern Appalachian farms and build a community-based food system. With Appalachian Grown, ASAP aims to expand local markets for area farms and provide a way for the public to easily identify products from local farmers. You’ll find it on products and packaging, as well as displayed by participating grocers, restaurants and other businesses. Our research shows that our region wants our food purchases to support the local community, local economy and local farmers. When


mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

using the Appalachian Grown logo, we know the food featured is authentically local; it is grown or raised on a family farm in our Southern Appalachian region. More than 800 family farms, nearly 500 business outlets and dozens of farmers tailgate markets are Appalachian Grown certified, and those numbers are growing. Find a list of Appalachian Grown partners in ASAP’s annual Local Food Guide, published every April. With more than a million printed and distributed in the last 10 years, the Local Food Guide is the definitive resource for local food in Western North Carolina. The guide can also be found online at appalachiangrown.org. Why buy local? Why should you ask for Appalachian Grown? Our choices matter: • Keep value in the local economy: Buying local is about more than where we spend our dollars: It’s about supporting what we value in our community, like fair pay, sustainable agriculture, healthy food and strong local economies. • Build community resilience: Buying local supports a diversity of innovative and interdependent businesses that make it possible for communities to both survive and thrive in good times and bad. • Strengthen community ties: Purchasing products made or grown by our neighbors builds relationships that strengthen the economy while creating opportunities for greater civic engagement. • Create the food system we want: When we buy local, we exercise our power to change the food system to one that is more transparent and more supportive of our farms, workers, environment and the entire community. • Celebrate local character and heritage: Buying local ensures that our farms and local businesses remain vibrant and productive and contributes to preserving our scenic landscape and unique culture. Appalachian Grown: Ask for it by name!

partner p r o fi le s

Asheville Grown Business Alliance | Asheville, NC

Photo By CArriE EiDson

With Asheville seeing unprecedented growth and tourist traffic, 2015 will bring new challenges and opportunities for the Asheville Grown Business Alliance grassroots campaign. “We want to foster a more in-depth conversation about what we want this community to look like 40, 50 years down the road,” says Franzi Charen, the organization’s founder and director. AGBA is pushing for growth that brings about more workerowned businesses and more living-wage employers, and fills in gaps in regional supply chains to create a more collaborative and interdependent economy. We are dedicated to a maker system of economics — one where production and manufacturing, from crafting to farming to designing — is encouraged in addition to a retail or tourism-based economy. We wish to connect those who develop tools within our community to replace consumption as an end in itself. We are committed to promoting a local economy aligned with principles of collaboration and a triple bottom line, and we recognize the deep connection between quality public schools and a thriving economy. This year will be an exciting year for the Asheville Grown Business Alliance. Our community fundraiser, the Go Local Card, is slated to have its best year ever with 400 participating businesses. Since its inception in 2012, this powerful little card has raised over $50,000 for our public schools and nonprofits. In 2015, we plan to bring back our Local Socials — events where business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, or really anyone interested in the local economy, can converge and discuss ideas to shape our future. In the spring, we served as a main sponsor for Self Help Credit Union’s conference, “Bringing it Home: Building a Local Economy for Everyone” held at A-B Tech’s Enka campus. In the fall, we plan to re-launch AdvantageWest’s Venture Local conference as the Venture Local Fair in the South Slope. And during the summer we plan to attend the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies conference in Phoenix, Ariz., and the Good Business Summit in Charleston, S.C. We are interested in looking at other cities and regions who have created training and incentives to form worker cooperatives. We want to learn from companies that have switched to Employee

Stock Ownership Plans, allowing retiring baby boomers to sell their companies back to their employees. Over 20 states have initiated studies on public banking and other creative ways to keep municipal dollars out of Wall Street and invest it back into our community. We aim to learn from what others are doing and bring back ideas to Western North Carolina. Our anchor institutions are our largest and most stable employers. They can be instrumental in plugging the leaks in our economy, incubating small businesses, revitalizing neighborhoods and utilizing innovative employee ownership models. We would love to help explore initiatives like the Cleveland Model, which uses the power of these institutions to grow the local economy. Asheville Grown is also putting together an official advisory committee made up of business owners and leaders in the local movement. Bringing together folks from organizations like Mountain BizWorks, Just Economics, A-B Tech, Eagle Market Street Development Corp. and Asheville Independent Restaurants, we hope to knit together our collective efforts to become stronger and more influential than ever before. At Asheville Grown we will continue to work toward our goals of: • Influencing leaders to shape policy that values and takes into consideration the impact on and of our locally owned, independent businesses. • Helping to broaden the basis of ownership, affluence and influence. • Encouraging the diversification of our economy beyond a tourism-dependent model — connecting and growing supply chains. • Courageously leveraging our community’s assets and the power each of our organizations has to create radical resilience and prosperity for everyone.

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


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Veterans healing farm | Hendersonville, NC

B Lab | San Francisco Photo CourtEsy of B LAB


get it! story By CArriE EiDson Photo By AmAnDA KishLAr, CourtEsy of Vhf

Veterans Healing Farm is a nonprofit community farm in Hendersonville. The farm grows vegetables and hops and even has a community supported agriculture program. But founder John Mahshie says that farming is really just a means to an end. The real goal of Veterans Healing Farm is therapeutic — it addresses the high rate of veteran suicide by helping returning veterans reintegrate into civilian life. “The military is very tight-knit,” says Mahshie, himself an Air Force veteran. “There’s a lot of community opportunities because everybody is going through a similar experience, and even when you’re relocated, the new community is very welcoming. It’s not as easy to plug into a new community in civilian culture.” Like many veterans, Mahshie says he also experienced isolation when he left the service. But he soon realized the rejuvenative value of the exercise, healthy eating and time spent in the sun that comes with farming. Not to mention the potential for interaction with others. At Veterans Healing Farm, Mahshie invites civilians, other veterans, families, students and seniors to work at the farm, introducing returning veterans to a diverse selection of their new community. “It’s a natural fit


for this sort of healing,” he says. Though Mahshie studied horticulture after his time in the service and started his own agriculture-based business before founding VHF, he says the goal of the farm isn’t to teach veterans to become farmers. “Other programs emphasize occupation, teaching veterans a skill set that they can use as a basis for a new career, but what we create is an environment that focuses on personal development,” Mahshie says. “If you have someone who is emotionally, mentally or psychologically unhealthy, and all you give them is financial health, then the money can actually lead to bigger problems down the road. You have to help them heal in those other areas first.” And perhaps more importantly, Mahshie says, Veterans Healing Farm’s new garden (three times larger than their CSA plot) grows food entirely for donation — giving veterans a sense of purpose and a reason to break out of isolation and connect with others. “These folks have a strong desire to serve,” Mahshie says. “They are very missionminded; they want to give back. The new garden allows them to serve people in need, and it allows us to build relationshipswi thth em.”

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

Business is one of the most powerful forces on earth, having the potential to create systemic impact for everyone. While government and the nonprofit sector are a necessary and important part of creating change, they are insufficient to address today’s greatest challenges. Business must step up and play a larger role. The successful company of tomorrow must create value for society, not just shareholders. For much of the past 50 years, the purpose of business was to maximize profit. However, this traditional and outdated view is severely limiting, if not destructive, and has failed to provide the shared and durable prosperity that most of us seek. To address today’s greatest challenges, we need to harness the power of business as a force for good. We need a global movement that enables millions of people to support businesses that do well while doing good. The B Corporation movement is putting this theory into action, and Asheville has been a budding hub. Today there is a growing community of over 1,200 certified B Corps, from more than 35 countries across 120 industries, all working together toward one unifying goal: to redefine success in business. B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. This helps build their most important asset – trust, which can in turn attract customers, talented employees and capital. The community of certified B Corps includes well-known brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia and Etsy, as well as local Asheville companies like the recent expansion of New Belgium Brewing


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partner p r o fi le s Company, New Earth (in partnership with New Mountain Asheville and Asheville Music Hall), Big Path Capital and Highland Craftsmen Inc. However, any company can start creating a positive impact. The B Corp movement is for everyone, from public utilities like Green Mountain Power, to large, public multinationals like Natura and small tech startups, such as Kickstarter.

join the movement to use business as a force for good Now is the time to get involved and create true change. Today’s consumers are more willing to support brands that are taking a step toward building a better world. In fact, the 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study indicated that where price and quality are equal, 89 percent of consumers would switch from their current brand to a brand that is socially responsible. Equally important, the next generation of employees wants more than just a salary – they want to work for the right purpose. A report by the Brookings Institute found that in the U.S., “Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of millennials said they would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love, than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring.” There is also great local momentum in Asheville. Michael Welchel from the founding B Corp, Big Path Capital, shares: “B Corp is helping put in place the infrastructure that is so critical for the mainstreaming of impact investing. We see the trends that investing for profit and impact represents one of the largest investment opportunities of our era.” There are now weekly lunches on Fridays in Asheville for B Corps and interested companies to talk through how to best use business as a force for good and guidance toward the B Corp certification process. Adrian Zelski, co-organizer and owner of New Mountain Asheville, says, “I feel like in 15 years, 20 years, people are going to ask why a business isn’t a B Corp.” New Mountain Asheville has been home to numerous B Corp gatherings showcasing panels of thought leaders, live music and movie screenings, all to illustrate a better way to do business. Andy Fyfe from B Lab’s Community Team says, “I had the chance to visit Asheville late last year. It’s inspiring to see the leadership initiative of the local B Corp family there. What’s more exciting is what’s to come. Asheville’s very special.” With these forces in place, there has never been a better time to join the movement. Whether you are an entrepreneur, employee or consumer, there’s a way to get involved. Please join us! Have your company take the first step by measuring its impact at bimpactassessment.net and help spread the word about a better way to do business. To learn more, visit bcorporation.net and #BtheChange.

Wholesale & Retail

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www.surefootbuilders.com surefootbuilders@gmail.com • 828-242-0925 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


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Bee City usA | Asheville, NC

Blue ridge food Ventures | Candler, NC


get it! story AnD Photo By AiyAnnA sEZAK-BLAtt

Phyllis Stiles’ earliest memories are of bugs: of a writing spider spinning its web in shrubbery, of a prickly locust exoskeleton on a tree. It’s no wonder then that she would found Bee City USA and become an advocate for insects of all kinds, especially pollinators. The world as we know it depends on pollinators, Stiles says. “Imagine going to the grocery store and finding almost no vegetables, almost no fruit and almost no nuts. Imagine if 80 percent of the world’s flowers were gone, because 80 percent depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. Imagine a world without honey!” Stiles first heard “the call of the bees” in 2006, when colony collapse disorder made national news, and beekeepers across the country experienced massive losses in their hives. Stiles and her husband attended “bee school,” a weekend course sponsored by the Center for Honeybee Research and the Buncombe County Beekeeping Chapter. “I was captivated,” she says. “When you become aware of their complex society, of how smart, how organized and how efficient they are, it’s hard not to be impressed.” As reports of colony collapse grew worse, however, backyard beekeeping just wasn’t enough for Stiles. “I thought


of Margaret Mead’s saying, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.’ And I thought, ‘OK, I want to do something.’” In August 2011 at the monthly Buncombe County Beekeepers meeting, Stiles made an announcement: She wanted to get the city involved in sustaining pollinator communities. Local citizens rallied beside her, and on June 26, 2012, Asheville City Council voted unanimously to become the inaugural Bee City USA. The initiative, with over 80 active volunteers, works to plant pollinator gardens across the city, encourages pollinator-friendly landscape design, identifies native plants that best support pollinators and advises pesticide-free practices. The Bee City model has taken flight in cities across the country, including other cities in North Carolina, as well as Oregon and Maine. For Stiles, this work is a confirmation that passionate local communities can create change. After watching a video of an Ashland, Ore., city council meeting on becoming a Bee City in December 2014, Stiles, moved to tears, thought, “Oh my God, this is really happening! Margaret Mead was right. I so believe that to be true.”

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

Photo By JAyson im

When a group of AdvantageWest economic developers and agribusiness consultants came up with the idea to create a food business incubator in the region, such a concept was relatively new. It was more than a decade ago, and only a handful existed across the country — and none in North Carolina. At the Blue Ridge Food Ventures shared-use commercial kitchens, located in leased space on the A-B Tech Enka campus, farmers would have a place to make value-added products. That is, in addition to selling fresh tomatoes or berries at a tailgate market, they could also create products with a longer shelf life, such as hot sauces and jams. With the equipment and resources needed to make and market products, the facility would be another addition to AdvantageWest’s job creation initiatives. Experts would help with food safety regulations, packaging and marketing.

partner p r o fi le s Back then, no one could have imagined that Blue Ridge Food Ventures would become one of the best-known facilities of its type in the country or remain the largest in the Southeast to this day. Since its official opening in 2005, Blue Ridge Food Ventures has helped launch more than 250 small businesses. Nearly 100 currently operate out of the facility on regular or seasonal schedules each year. On average, 70 jobs are supported through the productions at the facility. Blue Ridge Food Ventures is used by an array of artisan food entrepreneurs, chefs, bakers, caterers, mobile and food cart operators — and a farmer or two — producing $1.5 million of goods annually. Products range from hot sauces, chocolate truffles, nut butters, seasoning mixes, salad dressing, bagels and jams to tempeh, kombucha, chutney, soda syrups, energy bars, vegetable protein (“wheat meat”), gelato and more. Many of these products can be found in retail outlets across the country. In addition, BRFV also offers co-packing services — that is, contract manufacturing — and operates an offseason community supported agriculture program that distributes locally grown produce during the winter months, providing subscribers with fruit and veggies purchased from local farms during the growing season. Blue Ridge Food Ventures now boasts the only shared-use, Good Manufacuring Practices-compliant natural products manufacturing facility in the U.S., allowing entrepreneurs to produce, for example, medicinal herbs, dietary supplements, natural cosmetics, extracts and tinctures. One product made from locally grown goldenseal was manufactured at BRFV for use in drug trials conducted by the National Institutes of Health. In other words, Blue Ridge Food Ventures has far exceeded expectations. But there’s more to consider than just the facility’s contributions to the local economy, says BRFV Executive Director Chris Reedy. “We add diversity to the food system. You can go to any tailgate market in any town and buy a fresh tomato. But there are few towns where you can find a restaurant that serves not just local meats and produce and locally brewed beer, but also locally produced ingredients, such as hot sauces, mustards and tempeh. Because of Blue Ridge Food Ventures, there’s an added dimension to the food system. Even larger cities and food destinations such as Charleston don’t have the diversity of products that we have. “We are grateful to the visionaries who created Blue Ridge Food Ventures,” continues Reedy. “As important, we deeply appreciate the continued support of the WNC community. Our work in helping entrepreneurs add to the vibrant local food economy would not be possible without your help.”

Open A GoLocal CD!

Invest Intentionally! With a minimum deposit of $500 to open our GoLocal Certificate of Deposit, you can help fund local businesses, community economic development projects and home-ownership opportunities across Western North Carolina. FREE GoLocal Discount Card with every GoLocal CD opened!



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828-254-9848 • 299 Haywood Rd, Asheville 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


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Just Economics | Asheville, NC

Local & bulk honey Beeswax candles Beekeeping Bee products classes & & gifts supplies. Nucs & Queens

425 Weaverville Road Asheville, NC 28804

Photo CourtEsy of Just EConomiCs

Habitat Re-Imagined www.habitatreimagined.com habitatreimagined@gmail.com


Echo Hills Cottages Visit our model Home and Community in West Asheville • High Performance Homes • Permaculture Landscape • Shared Gardens • Community Spaces • Intentional Neighbors


mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

We specialize in creative and high performance design that conects your personal, relational, and environmental values in small Healthy Homes and Sustainable Community development

What is the definition of a “successful” business? Is a business successful as long as it turns a profit? Do concerns about employees, our community, our environment or our economy factor in to the definition of success? Traditionally, business was solely focused on the shareholders and owners. Profit was king and all that mattered, and success always equaled profit. However, we’ve seen the results of a headlong dedication to making money at any cost. We’ve seen massive separation between employers and employees when that relationship is not respected equally on both sides. We’ve seen communities and economies atrophy when their core businesses moves overseas. We’ve seen the results on our rivers, mountains, forests and wildlife when they are not factored into the business equation responsibly. And we’ve seen the effects on our national economy when entire industries move overseas, solely to make more money for shareholders. It is time for the definition of success to include many more aspects of our community, and Asheville is seated in an ideal spot to create that new definition. The Living Wage Certification Program that Just Economics facilitates is designed not only to celebrate and reward an employer that provides a living wage to all his staff, but also to provide tools and incentives to create new living wage employers in our community. But that is not all; the program also encourages consumers to support those employers in our community that share our vision of a just and sustainable economy that works for all in Western North Carolina. It is certainly a piece of this new definition of success. The Living Wage Employer Certification Program was designed to positively affect a business’ bottom line in many ways, including reducing turnover, which leads to reduced training costs and recruiting costs while increasing employee productivity, morale and overall dedication to the business. Living wage certified employers have found that investing in their employees provides an excellent return; this touches almost every aspect of their business. Employees who are

partner p r o fi le s provided a living wage are happier, healthier, less likely to call in sick and more invested in the daily operations. This investment is rarely lost on the customer. This is where we all come into the mix. The ripple effect of living wages on our community affects us all. When a local retailer provides a living wage to her staff, those employees are more likely to have the means to also spend in our local economy, supporting other local businesses. A well-known, close relative of this concept was the business model of Henry Ford. Ford committed to paying his staff enough for them to buy their own cars, which also impacted his turnover rates and morale, but ultimately allowed his employees to be able to afford his own products. Likewise, employees that make a living wage can spend their own proceeds locally, increasing local consumer spending. This positively impacts every business in our community and in turn, every member of our community — including you, the reader. Money talks! Your hard earned dollars are ballots that you can use daily. Every day in our community, more and more conscientious consumers are spending their dollars intentionally, supporting those businesses that share their ideals and philosophies of what our community should look like. Business owners listen when it comes to your buying decisions; consumer demand is a powerful force! By supporting businesses that we align with, we have the ability to change the landscape of our local economy, to decide which businesses flourish and which we’d rather not have here. We vote every day with our dollars, and by shopping with those businesses that provide a living wage to all their employees, you send a clear message of support. Living wage certified employers deserve to be lifted up, to thrive. Together, we can make this a daily reality right here in WNC.

Coalition of Latin American organizations (CoLA) | Asheville, NC


get it! story By ViCtor PALomino Photo CourtEsy of CoLA

If you search for the word “cola” in the Royal Spanish Academy’s dictionary of the Spanish language, you’ll find more than 18 definitions. But in Western North Carolina, COLA is known as the Coalition of Latin American Organizations (COLA, for its acronym in Spanish), a nonprofit dedicated to connecting, strengthening and organizing communities to take action for immigrants’ rights in WNC since 2001. COLA’s beginning focused on providing tools to groups already working with Latinos and new immigrants in WNC, including “Immigrant Reality” workshops, where residents of WNC could see the “face of the immigrant community,” says bruno hinojosa, codirector of COLA. Hinojosa immigrated to Asheville from Mexico with his family in 2001. He started as a volunteer interpreter for the organization, participating in workshops that COLA created to increase multilingual spaces. From there, Hinojosa helped to organize marches and advocate for issues like opposing North Carolina House Bill 11, which would limit access to higher education for undocumented students. “We raised our voices locally and statewide,” Hinojosa says. “Some people have lived here 10 years, or most of their life, and for them not to be considered as residents, or able to attend college, was wrong.” Ten years after COLA was

founded, Hinojosa and alex villanueva were hired as codirectors of the organization. Under their leadership, the organization has changed its focus to serve the people in the immigrant community. “It’s still a new experience to explain what COLA is,” Hinojosa says of COLA’s outreach to the community. “When they see my face, they see someone who has gone through the same things they are going through. They can relate to the organization; they have a connection.” Today, COLA focuses on helping people understand and navigate the presidential mandate on immigration, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents programs. The organization also helps to find solutions for people who don’t qualify. “Sometimes it feels like we are always fighting something, some anti-immigrant law,” Hinojosa says. “People are afraid to come out and speak of the reality they’re living. But, when they see others that are doing it, it empowers them.” The future of COLA depends on the people of WNC ensuring that the immigrant community’s needs and voices continue to be part of the fabric of the country, Hinojosa notes. Victor Palomino is a Latino community organizer and the creative director of CHIVA.

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


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Green opportunities | Asheville, NC

We work where it counts: GO’s service area is composed of neighborhoods marked by chronic joblessness, generational poverty and lack of opportunity.


get it! story By mAX hunt Photo CourtEsy of GrEEn oPPortunitiEs

For Joshua young, his moment of clarity came near the end of a seven-year prison stint. “I said, ‘Joshua, what are you really going to do with your life?,’” Young recalls. “I’d disappointed myself, I’d disappointed my mother, and I knew if I kept on this road, this was going to be my life.” After release, Young reached out to Green Opportunities in an effort to build skills and learn more about the job process. For a convicted felon, the transition was a difficult one. “I was isolated; I let pride get in my way,” Young says of his early days at GO, adding that he sometimes worried he wasn’t getting anywhere. “Now I’m learning to let pride go, because if you don’t ask, you don’t learn anything.” Young persevered in the GO program. He learned skills that allowed him to return to school, and more importantly, he says, GO gave him a fair chance. “They’re there to help,” Young notes. “No matter your race or background, if you’re ready to change, GO is there.” These days Young stays busy with his education, keeping a full course load


each semester at A-B Tech. He recently joined the Minority Student Leadership Academy and says he’s looking forward to earning his welder’s certifications this summer. “You’ve got to have hope,” Young says. “It’s like the mustard seed: You have to water it to keep it growing. That’s what GO’s helped do for me. I know the day’s coming when I can walk across that stage and they hand me that piece of paper.” GO also provided Young with a pillar of support on days when he doubted his progress. “The GO program inspires me, just by going there,” he says. “They remind me of what I’ve accomplished, how far I’ve come, and that allows me to go to the next step.” Though he still has a long road ahead, Young says he sees the importance of that journey. “I take full responsibility for the things I did,” he says. “I knew right from wrong, and I chose wrong. But now? “Now I’m choosing right,” he says. “I still straddle the fence, but I’m making the effort. That’s the difference.”

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

Our Service Area Poverty Rate 42.0% Unemployment 17.8%

North Carolina Poverty Rate 15.5% Unemployment 8.8%

Training a new workforce: GO programs offer multiple career tracks in the green collar economy. Through a combination of training, community outreach and engagement, and career placement, we help to break the cycle of poverty.


of participants have significant barriers to employment:

Lack High School Diplomas Lack Work Experience

37% 35%

Are Ex-Offenders


The community benefits overall: It’s about more than just job training. As a result of our programs, community assets and activities add up to a big payback on the local level.

Community Engagement

Community Service


partner p r o fi le s

Lending portfolio as of 12/31/14:

2014 LOANS


61 new loans

$3.3 million


$1.1 million


166 loans

Clients Coached 312 2014 COACHING

Loans By County







6 4





Types of Businesses 4%

Food & Tourism Other




Manufacturing Construction

11% 15%


Professional Services Retail Healthcare

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


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Thanks! for your partnership

Avonlea learning community is a progressive, nonprofit school with multiaged classrooms. Our schoolhouse is nestled on 180 acres of farm and forestland which offers plenty of room for outdoor and project-based learning. Foundational Academics Project-Based Learning Focus on Critical Thinking Emphasis on Cooperation Social Justice Community Service Life Skills and Entrepreneurship Mon-Thur 9 am - 4 pm 828.484.8617 avonleaschool.com



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mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

partner p r o fi le s

Clean Energy for us | Asheville, NC

NO-COST MEASURES In the winter, the thermostat is turned down when not at home or going to bed.


get it!

Shades are drawn on sunny days in summer and after sunset in winter. The fireplace is not lit when the heat is on if it doesn’t have doors. LOW-COST MEASURES A rainbarrel is installed for outdoor watering. Air filter is changed. Holes, leaks and gaps through walls, ceiling and floor are sealed using caulk or spray foam. HIGHER-COST MEASURES WITH A LONG-TERM PAYBACK Inefficient appliances are replaced with ENERGY STAR® -rated appliances. Install a photovoltaic system (PV) Older toilets are replaced with a WaterSense 1.28 gallon per flush toilet.

Assess your house. Use the ENERGY STAR Home Advisor tool online to help you: www.energystar.gov/campaign/assessYourHome Visit www.dsireusa.org for a comprehensive list of incentives.

story By hAyLEy BEnton Photo CourtEsy of CLEAn EnErGy for us

In 2013, katie bray, program director of Clean Energy For Us, began a local campaign called Solarize Asheville to make solar energy easy, accessible and affordable. After seeing a similar initiative pop up on the West Coast, the plan was to jump-start the local market for solar energy by offering neighborhoods the opportunity to grouppurchase solar panels and bring down the individual’s cost. The program, Bray says, was a success, with 370 homeowners participating in its first year. “At the same time,” she continues, “there was a lot of interest from other cities in North Carolina to run solarize campaigns — Solarize Asheville was the first solarize campaign in the South.” Bray helped other campaigns get started in Charlotte, Durham and Carrboro, and the idea spread to other areas of the state. With the expanded territory and new campaigns, the organization, under the new name Clean Energy For Us, offers discounted solar pricing, free energyefficiency audits, vetted

contractors, and equipment and education on everything to do with clean energy. Basically, “we save you time, money and work,” Bray says. The campaign is timely, too — Bray says there is a certain sense of urgency for registering to go solar this year. “In North Carolina, there’s a tax credit to get back 35 percent of what you pay for solar, but that expires at the end of this year,” she explains. The credit was originally in place when the cost of solar was exponentially more expensive, but with recent drastic reductions in solar energy’s cost, states are putting less and less money into helping fund those costs.” To sign up for Clean Energy, homeowners should provide information on utility usage and the square footage of the home, as well as an address so that satellite imagery can make sure the home has a good “solar window,” Bray says. Other than that, just “fill out that form, and we’ll take it from there,” she concludes. Hayley Benton is a staff reporter at Mountain Xpress.

2015 | mountainx.com/guides






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mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

Green Opportunities Employer Partner

“Appalachian Grown,” Certified Farms and Partner Businesses

Green Restaurant Association Member

Accepts the Go Local Card

Certified B Corporation


Blue Ridge Food Venture Certified Local



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l istinGs

Mountain Bizworks Client

WNC Green Building Council Member

Living Wage Certified Employer

The contents of this directory are intended for informational purposes only. The certifying partners and Mountain Xpress do not endorse or recommend the products or services mentioned herein, and disclaim any and all warranties, express or implied, in any way related to advertisements, events, businesses, organizations or other information presented within the Get It! Guide.

l i s t i nG s | Arts / Building


Arts, Crafts & DIY Supplies/Services

mill. We make and sell yarn and other fiber supplies. Wholesale and retail.


All businesses are online: mountainx.com/guides

for full listing profiles

Studio b cuStoM FraMing & FinE art h EchoviEw FibEr Mill e h j 76 Jupiter Road, Weaverville 28787 855-693-4237 • echoviewfibermill.com We are an eco-friendly LEED Gold Leaf certified animal fiber processing

61 N. Merrimon Ave. Suite 109, Asheville 28804 225-5200 • galleryatstudiob.com Fine custom framing specializing in museum, shadowbox & textile framing. 40 years experience & trade certified. Featuring artwork by local & national artists.


a resilient community!

Building construction, improvement & repair Architects

120 Bradley Branch Road, Arden 28704 258-2000 • a-b-construction.com A&B has been committed to quality and efficient building methods since 1981. We are green, we are local, we are ready. Your plans or ours.

Building—green builders

lEgErton architEcturE, P.a. f j 21 N. Liberty St., Asheville 28801 251-9125 • legertonarchitecture. com Legerton Architecture specializes in the design of residential, institutional, commercial and community projects. Sustainable and energy-efficient design is integrated into all of our projects.

dEltEc hoMES f

tiMbErlinE cuStoM hoMES, llc f P.O. Box 15111, Asheville 28813 776-1511 • timberlinecustoms.com

PadgEtt & FrEEMan architEctS, Pa f

Building materials

30 Choctaw St., Ashevile 28801 254-1963 • pfarchitects.com

oSada conStruction f j

SaMSEl architEctS f

138 Charlotte St., Asheville 28801 606-5295 • osadaconstruction.com

60 Biltmore Ave., Asheville 28801 253-1124 • samselarchitects.com

69 Bingham Road, Asheville 28806 253-0483 • deltechomes.com WNC’s premier green builder since 1968. From round to modern styles, we offer high performance homes that can achieve any level of energy efficiency.

habitat rE-iMaginEd f Wellspring Lane, Asheville 778-0461 • habitatreimagined.com We specialize in creative and high performance design that connects your personal, relational, and environmental values in small healthy homes and sustainable community development.

Builders, general contractors SurE Foot buildErS inc. f

a&b conStruction & dEvEloPMEnt, inc. f

48 Florida Ave., Asheville 28806 242-0925 • surefootbuilders.com Sure Foot Builders provides beautiful, unique, Green-Built, Energy-Star Certified homes and renovations throughout Asheville. Our focus is on high-quality craftsmanship and communication with aggressive pricing.

highland craFtSMEn’S bark houSE c 534 Oak Ave., Spruce Pine 28777 765-9010 • BarkHouse.com Beautiful Outside and Within Inspired by nature, we up-cycle and refine RAW™ (Reclaimed Appalachian Wood Waste) for architecture and art.

JadE Mountain buildErS f Asheville 216-3948 • jademountainbuilders.com Jade Mountain Builders is a team of 35 Craftsmen who pride themselves on taking an ecologically sensitive approach to building homes.

Full business and organization profiles online! mountainx.com/guides 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


l i st i nG s | Building / Education Heating and cooling aShEvillE gEothErMal inc. h f j Jag & aSSociatES conStruction, inc. f j

Thanks! for your partnership

Serving all of WNC • 712-6786 ashevillegeothermal.com

33 Mineral Springs Road, Asheville 28805 252-4205 • jaggreen.com

Mountain houSing oPPortunitiES f 64 Clingman Ave., Suite 101, Asheville 28801 254-4030 • mtnhousing.org

Mountain MEadowS on crookEd crEEk, a grEEn coMMunity f 2129 Crooked Creek Road, Mars Hill 28754 • 230-0755 ashevillemountainmeadows.com

thErMacraFt Solar SolutionS, inc f P.O. Box 8833, Asheville 28814 285-8825 • thermacraft.com Thermacraft specializes in custom designed solar hot water and radiant floor heating systems to fit any size project. Serving WNC since 1988.


young Painting j rarE Earth buildErS, inc. f 105 Creative Cove, Canton 28716 492-0534 • RareEarthBuilders.com Building green for 15 years +, REB works laser-focused on one project at a time and doesn’t leave until the client is 100% satisfied.

P.O. Box 19244, Asheville 28815 299-0619 • youngpainting.com Asheville’s premier full service residential and commercial paint contractor. Visit www.youngpainting. com and www.garagefloorexperts.com for more information.

education & learning & children’s services

Just Economics justeconomicswnc.org

Childcare & early education

Colleges & universities

lEnoir-rhynE univErSity j

nanny nanny Poo Poo j By appointment, Asheville 28801 279-3319 • avl.mx/032


mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

36 Montford Ave., Asheville 28801 407-4263 • lr.edu The Sustainability Studies program at Lenoir-Rhyne University is a unique program focused on science, business, social justice, and public policy within the sustainability field.

l i s t i nG s | Education / Environmental Continuing education & lifelong learning

aPPalachia School oF holiStic hErbaliSM h j 2 Westwood Place, Asheville 28806 350-1221 • HerbsHeal.com The Southeast’s oldest herbalism school, and West Asheville’s premier holistic health center. Featuring a free community wellness library, locally sourced apothecary, and customized care.

Farmer and Home-Grower Education

MycEliuM h In Asheville and National 646-709-6075 • mycelium.is Mycelium is an intergenerational learning laboratory that hosts experiments in education and cultivates a learning network of change agents. To learn more, visit www.mycelium.is.

rootS + wingS School oF art and dESign h j i 573 Fairview Road, Asheville 28803 545-4827 • rootsandwingsarts.com Roots + Wings nurtures and encourages the natural creativity within students of all ages through innovative design, dynamic art education and community collaboration.

386 Kenilworth Road, Asheville 28805 545-9681 • heartspeakpeace.com HeartSpeak: Listening & Speaking from the Heart. The Connection Practice workshops, Empathy Circles, teacher training, coaching, parents & kids classes. Communication skills we all need!

48 Talmadge Court, Asheville 28806 242-5919 • feastasheville.com FEAST Asheville promotes healthy eating through hands-on cooking and garden education, increasing the number of students who grow, prepare and eat fresh vegetables


Youth services

50 S. French Broad Suite 213, Asheville 28801 253-1470 • bbbswnc.org Big Brothers Big Sisters is a nonprofit that matches at-risk youth with a caring adult mentor. Make a difference and volunteer today!

SacrEd SPacE Painting, aShEvillE’S intuitivE Painting Studio h FEaSt aShEvillE e

P.O. Box 17804, Asheville 28816 772-5846 • organicgrowersschool.org

big brothErS big SiStErS oF wnc j

Creative workshops, classes, educators

hEartSPEak h

organic growErS School e

70 Woodfin Place, Suite 307, Asheville 28801 •252-4828 sacredspacepainting.com Experience the Passion and Aliveness of your own Creative Spirit! Painting opens the heart and cleanses the soul! Great for beginners and seasoned artists!

Schools—private, charter, homeschooling aShEvillE MuSic School h i 126 College St., Asheville 28801 252-6244 • ashevillemusicschool.org

oPEndoorS oF aShEvillE inc j P.O. Box 8726, Asheville 28814 777-1135 • OpenDoorsAsheville.org OpenDoors of Asheville connects local children living in poverty with a network of support, enrichment and education opportunities helping them break the cycle of poverty.

environmental Energy conservation and green power

Energy audits conSErvation ProS h f j

bluE ridgE EnErgy workS, llc f

We come to you, Asheville 713-3346 • conservationpros.com We can improve the comfort, safety and efficiency of your home. Energy Audits. Insulation. Crawlspace Encapsulation.Home Health Solutions. Air Sealing. Duct Sealing. Moisture Control

1178 Chestnut Grove Road, Boone 28607 355-9143 • brewgreen.com BREW, LLC, in the NC High Country, focuses on reducing fossil fuel use by installing energy efficient sprayfoam insulation and renewable energy systems. 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


l i st i nG s | Environmental bluE ridgE bioFuElS h f j 109 Roberts St., Asheville 28801 253-1034 • BlueRidgeBiofuels.com

Thanks! for your partnership

lucEnt grEEn tEchnology f 860 Riverside Drive, Asheville 28804 • 575-9337 lucentgreentechnology.com Making homes/businesses so fresh and so green. We offer Superior eco-friendly products and free consultations. Drastically improve your health and energy efficiency in any environment.


aShEvillE gEothErMal inc. h f j Serving all of WNC • 712-6786 ashevillegeothermal.com WNC’s Geothermal experts, we only do geothermal. Designed by PE, CGD, IGSHPA Trainer, Accredited Installer on staff. Excellent quality/quiet renewable energy heating/cooling systems.

Mountain BizWorks www.mountainbizworks.org

aShEvillE Solar coMPany f j We come to you • 552-4851 ashevillesolarcompany.com We are a family-owned residential and light commercial solar installation company, focusing on sustainable idealism, a personal customer experience, and an unwavering commitment to quality.

GetItGuide16@mountainx.com mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

1178 Chestnut Grove Road, Boone 28607 355-9143 • brewgreen.com BREW, LLC, in the NC High Country, focuses on reducing fossil fuel use by installing energy efficient sprayfoam insulation and renewable energy systems.

Solar contracting SErvicE f 1200 C Hendersonville Road, Asheville 28803 277-7663 • sunstuffenergy.com

SolFarM Solar co. h f

Know of a group or project for next year’s Get It! Guide? Send them to us @:


bluE ridgE EnErgy workS, llc f

We come to you 215-6007 • solfarm.com Financially and environmentally succeed with solar energy. Free energy/system payoff, in 6 to 8 years. Loans available.Solfarm.com

Sugar hollow Solar f j 6 Sugar Hollow Lane, Fairview 28730 776-9161 • sugarhollowsolar.com A full-service renewable energy company specializing in solar electric, solar thermal & radiant heating. Our mission is to sweeten the current energy & business paradigms.

l i s t i nG s | Environmental

What do you think about sustainable living? Share your comments online: mountainx.com/guides

Asheville Vegan society | Asheville, NC

Equinox h f j 37 Haywood St., Ste.100, Asheville 28801 • 253-6856 equinoxenvironmental.com Blending our unique skills and personal touch with sustainable solutions for land planning and landscape architecture projects and protecting or restoring land and water resources.

long branch EnvironMEntal Education cEntEr e

SundancE PowEr SyStEMS f j 11 Salem Hill Road, Weaverville 28787 645-2080 • sundancepower.com Proudly voted WNC’s No.1 alternative energy company, Sundance Power Systems brings experience and integrity to residential and commercial projects. Family-owned, local and committed to community.

Environmental & ecological consultants & educators

278 Boyd Cove Road, Leicester 28748 683-3662 • longbrancheec.org Come hiking! Berry picking! 1,400 acre ecological sanctuary, wildlife mountain habitat. Whoever finds Love and Beauty in wild nature is reborn a thousand times! Yes!

Junk dealers & removal services Junk rEcyclErS f We come to you 707-2407 • junkrecyclers.net Recycling/composting biltMorE iron & MEtal co. j 1 Meadow Road, Asheville 28803 253-9317 • biltmoreiron.com

a hEalthiEr hoME f We come to you 243-5192 • ahealthierhomenc.com Does your house sustain your health? Mold, odors, dust, pollutants, pests, and off-gassing compromise your wellness. Rick’s environmental inspections are thorough, solutionbased, non sales-oriented.

aShEvillagE h Asheville 774-9421 • ashevillage.org

EnvirovEntion f We come to you 243-5192 • EnviroVention.com Maintaining optimum wellness during serious illness is difficult. An EnviroVention™ identifies, addresses problems in your home environment which complicate symptom management. Solutions-based, non sales oriented.

danny’S duMPStEr j k 60 Huckleberry Cove, Leicester 28748 380-9094 • dannysdumpster.com Danny’s Dumpster is a sustainable waste hauler and compost processor serving Western North Carolina. Offering service to businesses, schools, and events.

Water Filtration/ Conservation aqua Pro by littlE grEEn Frog f We come to you 255-0772 • aquaprosolutions.com We know water. Whether your goal is to save water, clean your water, or treat your water, we have a solution for you. Call today.


get it! story AnD Photo By AiyAnnA sEZAK-BLAtt

“I was a poster child for carnivores,” says John green of a time before he met his wife, ann green. “I was literally grilling meat seven nights a week.” Ann, a devoted vegetarian and vegan all of her adult life, was seemingly the polar opposite of John. “It was very difficult for me to wrap my head around it,” Ann says. “He was everything I needed in a partner, except for the [non]vegan thing.” John, before Ann, had never questioned the practice of eating meat. In the early ‘70s he completed a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences at the University of Atlanta. At the time, he says, there was a major shift happening in largescale animal husbandry, with an increased interest in raising more meat with fewer resources. “You went to school to learn how to get the most pounds of meat at the least expense, no matter how inhumanely the animals were treated.” When John moved in with Ann, he shifted to an exclusively plant-based diet and started reading about the industry of meat in America. “It’s like a circuit breaker in your brain that’s off, and when a person or thing flips that breaker on,

it’s like the lights come on,” he says. “You realize that these units have feelings, they feel pain and suffering — and then they’re marketed as being healthy.” John’s switch to veganism had another effect as well. Years later, he began experiencing chest pains while mountain-biking and was rushed to the hospital. John’s doctors discovered one of his arteries was 95 percent blocked and a stent was placed to restore blood flow. The doctors attributed the change in diet with saving John’s life. If he hadn’t made the switch, John says, “I probably wouldn’t be sitting here right now.” Today, John and Ann serve as board members of the Asheville Vegan Society, which meets for weekly gatherings and monthly potlucks. The Greens say the Vegan Society is for the “vegcurious” and the strict vegan alike, open to anyone who wants to learn more about the benefits of a plant-based diet. “It’s wonderful to be a vegan in a nonvegan world and be with a group of others who are of like mind, where you can share your thoughts and really speak freely,” Ann says. “It’s a feeling of closeness and family.”

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


l i st i nG s | Farm

Farm-Related Beekeeping services/supplies

Dairy, Produce, Meat, Flowers, Other Goods

bEE cool bEE SuPPly, llc e


728 Capps Road, Pisgah Forest 28768 • 393-8794

for your partnership

hickory nut gaP FarM e h

wild Mountain bEES e h

57 Sugar Hollow Road, Fairview 28730 628-1027 • hickorynutgapfarm.com 100% grassfed beef, pasture-raised pork & chicken, organic apples & berries, local goods & farm animals. Store open Monday-Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 12-5

425 Weaverville Road, Asheville 28804 484-9466 • wildmountainbees.com Your LOCAL source for everything bees. Offering a complete selection of beekeeping supplies, bees, queens, classes, local & bulk honey, beeswax, beeswax candles & gifts.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs)

JEhovah raah FarM e 170 Joe Mooney Road, Clyde 28721 779-0397 • JehovahRaahFarm.com

WNC Green Building Council www.wncgbc.org

long vallEy Eco-biotic FarM cSa e

canE crEEk aSParaguS & coMPany e Fairview, Fairview 28730 628-1601 • CaneCreekCSA.com More than 10 years Community Supported Agriculture farming experience growing asparagus plus 90 other vegetable varieties. Convenient pickups. Mid-April thru mid-November every other week commitment.

296 Long Valley Lane, Marshall 28753 689-3606 • buyappalachian.org/ listing/long-valley-eco-biotic-farm

Sandy hollar FarMS 63 Sandy Hollar Lane, Leicester 28748 e 683-3645 • sandyhollarfarms.com We are a working farm – Choose and cut Christmas trees – blackberries – strawberries – raspberries – wool & wool products – pumpkins – apples.

mountainx.com: your online source to WNC 58

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

SunburSt trout FarMS® e 314 Industrial Park Drive, Waynesville 28786

l i s t i nG s | Farm / Food & Drink 800-673-3051 • sunbursttrout.com Sunburst Trout Farms is a 3rd Generation #FamilyGrown rainbow trout farm in Haywood County, N.C. Offering fillets, caviar, jerky, smoked trout, dip & more!

MillS rivEr FarMErS’ MarkEt e

5046 Boylston Highway, Mills River 28759 891-3332 • facebook.com/pages/ Mills-River-Farmers-Market/ 111947272161081 Mills River Farmers’ Market is a producer only market. Fresh produce, meats, breads, plants, value added products, and crafts. SNAP/EBT, Debit, Credit accepted.

Food & Drink Bakeries

Beer & brewing supplies wESt villagE MarkEt e h

thE SPicEwood FarM e h 2002 Riverside Drive, Suite 42-F, Asheville 28804 • 254-5455 thespicewoodfarmhoney.com Rich honeys from Western North Carolina packaged in unique and elegant glass bottles. Many varietals available, perfect for gifts or wedding favors!

771 Haywood Road, Asheville 28806 225-4949 • westvillagemarket.com

Breweries tranSylvania FarMErS MarkEt e 190 E. Main St., Brevard 28712 548-0660 transylvaniafarmersmarket.com

Roadside produce stands

highland brEwing coMPany inc. h

anniE’S bakEry e k

12 Old Charlotte Highway, Suite H, Asheville 28803 299-3370 • highlandbrewing.com

128 Bingham Road, Suite 300, Asheville 28806 505-8350 • anniesbread.com

grandad’S aPPlES e 2951 Chimney Rock Road, Hendersonville 28792 685-1685 • grandadsapples.com U pick, we pick apple farm with bakery, pumpkins, corn maze, cow train ride, and a few animals. Lots of FUN!

oSkar bluES brEwEry j

Tailgate markets

210 Haywood Road, Asheville 28806 774-5151 • urbanorchardcider.com

342 Mountain Industrial Drive, Brevard 28712 883-2337 • oskarblues.com

urban orchard cidEr co. e h

dolci di Maria e

EaSt aShEvillE tailgatE MarkEt e 954 Tunnel Road, Asheville 28805 910-515-9145 The East Asheville Tailgate Market is open Friday afternoons from May through September with local produce, meat, baked goods, jewelry and crafts.

wEavErvillE tailgatE MarkEt e 60 Lakeshore Drive, Weaverville 28787 weavervilletailgate.org Local produce, meats, milk, baked goods, crafts and more. Every Wednesday 2:30-6:30pm - Located beside the beautiful Lake Louise Park in Weaverville, NC.

Available at local grocery stores 669-8787 • dolcidimaria.com Italian-inspired, gluten-free & dairy-free delicious desserts (many vegan). At EarthFare, Greenlife, Whole Foods, Ingles, and the UNCA Tailgate on Saturdays. Wedding & Birthday Cakes.

• Family run for over 40 years

hoME FrEE bagElS a

• Homegrown, healthy plants (1,000 varieties)

Available at local grocery stores 577-7236 • homefreebagels.com New York style Artisan GMO-free malt bagels with a social justice twist employing the homeless. Look for us at local tailgate markets, groceries, cafes & restaurants.

• Unbeatable prices & sales + classes & events

www.paintersgreenhouse.com . 828-668-7225

10 S. Pack Square, Asheville 28801 252-4181 frenchbroadchocolates.com

SaFFron FinE FoodS e

Wed-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun 9am-4pm

• Variety of non-GMO veggies, herbs & fruits

FrEnch broad chocolatE loungE e h g i


Open March 1st – July 1st

• Annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, natives, aquatics, succulents, houseplants, baskets, huge ferns, pottery & garden art

Candy & chocolate

wESt End bakEry & caFE e h 757 Haywood Road, Ashevile 28806 252-9378 • westendbakery.com

371 Merrimon Ave., Asheville 28801 318-8584 • saffronfinefoods.com WNC’s premier green catering company, Saffron provides 100 mile menus, beautiful presentation and professional, accommodating service for any special event.

taStE & SEE Food truck h 38 N. French Broad Ave., Asheville 28801 301-5111 • tasteandseefoodtruck.com Taste and See sets off a flavor bomb with gourmet, local street food all over WNC with professional Catering available up to 1,000 people.

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


l i st i nG s | Food & Drink Coffee & Tea Shops & Coffee Roasters

thE MatE Factor llc h

Thanks! for your partnership

biltMorE coFFEE tradErS h 518 Hendersonville Road, Asheville 28803 •277-9227 BiltmoreCoffeeTraders.com

12 Old Charlotte Highway, Suite F, Asheville 28803 255-8300 • matefactor.com We are importers of Yerba Mate Tea and we manufacture products here in Asheville for stores and cafes accross the country.

Food delivery services

dobra tEa j 78 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville 28801 575-2424 • dobrateanc.com

Edna’S oF aShEvillE h j 870 Merrimon Ave., Asheville 28804 255-3881 • ednasofasheville.com

high FivE coFFEE h j i

Green Opportunities www.greenopportunities.org

190 Broadway St. #102, Asheville 28801 398-0209 • highfivecoffee.com Come see us at our new downtown Asheville location this spring on Rankin Ave. beside Tops for Shoes! (13 Rankin Ave.)

74 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville 28801 258-2004 • izzyscoffeeden.com One of ashevilles premier coffee shops - specializing in hand-crafted coffee beverages. Supporting local agriculture through 95% composted waste since 2010. Waste less, do more!

221 W. State St., Black Mountain 28711 • 669-0999 mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

We come to you 225-1900 • farmtohomemilk.com We distribute local Grass Fed GMO Free Creamline Artisan Milk, Yogurt & Ice Cream to fine restaurants, cafes and grocery stores. Also offering Home Delivery


izzyS coFFEE dEn h i

thE driPolator coFFEEhouSE j


FarM to hoME Milk e h i

hEndErSonvillE coMMunity co-oP e On the Corner of S. Charleston Lane & Spartanburg Highway, Hendersonville 28792 693-0505 • hendersonville.coop Cooperative grocer, natural & organic foods. Locally owned, dedicated to sustainability. Deli offers freshly made foods, sandwiches, salads, soups. Come see our expanded new location!

katuah MarkEt e h 2 Hendersonville Road, Ste. D, Asheville 28803

l i s t i nG s | Food & Drink 676-2882 • katuahmarket.com Katuah Market features the finest local and natural foods, a delicious hot/salad bar, sandwiches, desserts, and more, in a beautiful store and charming café.

225-4949 • westvillagemarket.com Natural foods, fresh organic produce, popular deli & juice/tea bar, wide selection of locally produced breads, groceries, cheese, meat, eggs, handcrafted items. Beer & wine.


658-8778 • bluemountainpizza.com Offering fresh, house-made pizza, beer and ice cream. Live music. Outstanding customer service. Committed to supporting our community through buying local and giving back.

232-4340 • slowfoodrightquick.com Voted Asheville’s best diner & best restaurant with local food emphasis, HomeGrown serves up delicious, affordable farm-to-table fare in a comfy setting! Come see us!

bouchon e g j k

king daddy’S chickEn & waFFlE e h k

62 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville 28801 350-1140 • ashevillebouchon.com

chEStnut rEStaurant e

444 Haywood Road, Asheville 28806 785-1690 • ashevillekingdaddy.com

48 Biltmore Ave., Asheville 28801 575-2667 • chestnutasheville.com

cornEr kitchEn e g rootS & FruitS MarkEt e 151 S. Ridgeway Ave., Black Mountain 28711 •664-0060 rootsandfruitsmarket.com We offer local, fresh, organic produce and food products. Local chocolates, honey, cheese, bagels, sauces. Sourcing from over 25 local farmers and vendors.

Health food stores FrEnch broad Food cooP e h j k 90 Biltmore Ave., Asheville 28801 255-7650 • frenchbroadfood.coop

acroPoliS Pizza rEStaurant h 140 Airport Road, Arden 28704 684-5737 • acropolispizza.com

aShEvillE Sandwich coMPany h i k

771 Haywood Road, Asheville 28806

king JaMES Public houSE e h j 94 Charlotte St., Asheville 28801 252-2412 kingjamespublichouse.com The King James Public House uses fresh local ingredients, serving quality craft cocktails and sustainable, progressive Appalachian cuisine in a laid back atmosphere.

Early girl EatEry e 8 Wall St., Asheville 28801 259-9292 • earlygirleatery.com

794 Haywood Road & 491 Sardis Road, Asheville 28806 • 252-0110 AshevilleSandwichCo.com Asheville Sandwich Co. offers fresh, unique sandwiches, salads, and local beers. Voted # 1 Sandwich Shop in Western North Carolina! Serving lunch and dinner. k

biScuit hEad e 

wESt villagE MarkEt e h

62 1/8 Lexington Ave., Asheville 28801 350-3741 • creperiebouchon.com 11 Biltmore Ave., Asheville 28801 239-2946 • curatetapasbar.com

791 Merrimon Ave., asheville 28804 350-8181 • avenuemavl.com

29 W. French Broad St., Suite 105, Brevard 28712 • 885-2599 healthyharvestnaturalfoods.com Highlighting holistic supplements; locally grown organic produce; organic and non-GMO groceries; local organic gardening seeds, honey, free-range eggs, meats, lunch wraps, baked goods and more!

crEPEriE bouchon h j

cúratE e g j

avEnuE M h

hEalthy harvESt natural FoodS & hErbal aPothEcary e

3 Boston Way, Asheville 28803 274-2439 • TheCornerKitchen.com

733 Haywood Road, Asheville 28806 333-5145 • biscuitheads.com Offering fun biscuit creations, seven different gravies, bacon of the day, mimosas, homemade jams and much more! 7 days a week

laughing SEEd caFE e g 40 Wall St., Asheville 28801 252-3445 • laughingseed.jackofthewood.com

glaSS onion—global italian e 18 N. Main St., Weaverville 28787 645-8866 glassonionasheville.com Our Mission: Support Our Local Community & Farmers! Seasonallyinspired Global Italian Menu Using Local, Organic & Sustainable Products. Open Everyday Lunch, Dinner & Sunday Brunch.

grEEn SagE caFE e g k 14 S Pack Square, Asheville 28801 239-9923 • greensagecafe.com

bluE Mountain Pizza and brEw Pub e 55 N. Main St., Weaverville 28787

hoMEgrown e h g i 371 Merrimon Ave., Asheville 28801

lEx 18 - SouthErn aPPalachian SuPPEr club & MoonShinE bar e h 18 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville 28801 575-9494 • lex18avl.com Asheville’s most romantic night spots: candle lit dinners, dancing and prohibition-era costumed characters. Renown for Southern Appalachian cuisine, hand-crafted moonshine cocktails and live jazz.

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


l i st i nG s | Food & Drink

Thanks! for your partnership

MEla indian rEStaurant e h 70 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville 28801 225-8880 • melaasheville.com Authentic North and South Indian cuisine in the heart of downtown Asheville. Sample our ever-changing daily lunch buffet or join us for dinner and drinks.

MoJo kitchEn & loungE h 55 College St., Asheville 28801 255-7767 • mojokitchen.biz Local, fresh, seasonal. Unique casual dining inside the One Stop/Asheville Music Hall. We are open for lunch, dinner and late-night as well as Sunday brunch.

tod’S taStiES j 102 Montford Ave., Asheville 28801 505-3701 • todstasties.com Tod’s is a quaint cafe located in Historic Montford serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner making everything in-house using local, seasonal products. Open 7 days.

wESt villagE MarkEt e h 771 Haywood Road, Asheville 28806 225-4949 • westvillagemarket.com

roMan’S dEli & catEring e h 75A Haywood St., Asheville 28801 505-1552 • romansasheville.com

Retail & Artisan Producers

nightbEll rEStaurant & loungE e j

Asheville Grown www.ashevillegrown.com

32 S. Lexington Ave., Asheville 28801 575-0375 • theNightbell.com

roSEtta’S kitchEn & thE buchi bar e h g i 116 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville 28801 232-7380 • rosettaskitchen.com

tablE rEStaurant e j 48 College St., Asheville 28801 254-8980 • tableasheville.com table focuses on fresh, farmto-table cuisine with homage to traditions and cultures worldwide, making everything in house for an unparalleled and exceptional dining experience.

thE Social h 1078 Tunnel Road, Asheville 28805 298-8780 • thesocialasheville.com


mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

aShEvillE Fungi e Check our website for new address, Asheville 424-9267 • shroomcentral.com Asheville Fungi is a local grower of fresh exotic mushrooms. A mycological supplier for the hobby and commercial mushroom grower alike. We provide consultation services.

bluE Moon watEr h 2002 Riverside Drive, Ste 42-F, Asheville 28804 253-6060 • bluemoonwater.com

l i s t i nG s | Food & Drink

haywood County Gleaners | Waynesville, NC

FrESh FiSh at hiStoric black Mountain inn h 1186 Old US 70 West, Black Mountain 28711 • 423-8142 Fresh Wild Caught Seafood from the N.C. Coast. Caught Thursday for Sale Friday 2-6pm, Sat 10am til the fish is gone!

SMoking J’S FiEry FoodS and FarM e a 36 Rootstock Road, Candler 28715 230-9652 smokingjsfieryfoods.com WNC’s largest specialty chile pepper farm/producer of: Fresh peppers, dried peppers, pepper mash, hot sauce, salsa, BBQ sauce. Farm appointments • NATM • AvilleCity Market

grEEn rivEr PicklErS e h j Online only • GRPicklers.com

Pick and PrESErvE e Online and select farmer’s markets, Barnardsville 28709 768-8042 • pickandpreserve.net We preserve handpicked berries in season for artisan, small-batch jams featuring local strawberries, black raspberries, blueberries, blackberries & rose hips. Rich with small-farm love!

Wine stores

Online only • 490-1840 northcarolinawinegifts.com North Carolina’s ONLY online wine store and quarterly wine club featuring the award winning wines from NC’s boutique wineries. Pick up or we ship.

Wineries & cideries

addiSon FarMS vinEyard e rootS e j i 166 W. Haywood St., Asheville 28801 232-2828 • rootsfood.com The Microbrew of Hummus, Roots uses only the freshest, cleanest, closest ingredients possible to give you a purely delicious hummus eating experience.


north carolina winE giFtS h

4005 New Leicester Highway, Leicester 28748 581-9463 • addisonfarms.net Addison Farms is a family owned and operated vineyard, winery and tasting room, located in the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains. 17 miles from downtown Asheville.

get it! story By CArriE EiDson Photo CourtEsy of thE hAyWooD County GLEAnErs

donna koger and Julie Powers first heard about the Haywood County Gleaners when they were volunteering at Green Thumb, a community garden in Waynesville. The pair signed up as volunteers and began their gleaning work in delivery — picking up excess produce from Haywood County farmers and growers and bringing it to those in need. “We got lost and all that fun stuff,” Powers says with a laugh. The Haywood County Gleaners were founded by Jim geenen with the help of The Society of St. Andrew, a national gleaning organization. The group currently works with 17 farms and farmers markets to gather leftover crops and donate them at 27 different sites, including senior centers and food pantries. Koger says that she knew some in Haywood County experience food insecurity, but her work with the gleaners made her realize the enormity of the problem. “You know that there are probably people worse off

than you are, but you don’t know the details or realize the numbers,” she notes. The gleaners are always looking for more farmers to add their fields to the gleaning roster, Koger adds. “It’s a great cause, and I see it doing a lot of good,” she says. “It’s exciting to be involved at the beginning because I think it’s going to keep growing and helping more people.” Powers, who heads up the group’s food preservation program, adds that the gleaners are increasing their efforts to save even more food through freezing, canning and dehydration. “Part of our goal as gleaners is to be able to serve more people,” Powers says. “We needed to expand past just picking and delivering.” In the coming year, the group will partner with three facilities in Waynesville to continue its preservation efforts: Open Door Ministries, Grace Church in the Mountains and Haywood Pathways, the facility built by “Extreme Makeover” host Ty Pennington and his crew.

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


l i st i nG s | Gov / Nonprofit / Entertainment

Government & Nonprofit Services

Music, Entertainment & Media Actors, talent, speakers, performing artists, training, instruction

aShEvillE downtown aSSociation j k 29 Haywood St., Asheville 28801 251-9973 • ashevilledowntown.org The Asheville Downtown Association is committed to the preservation and improvement of the central business district through programming, civic support and annual objectives.

girlS on thE run oF wnc j 50 S. French Broad Ave., Ste. 249, Asheville 28801 713-4290 • gotrwnc.org


Bars & clubs

grEEn oPPortunitiES (go) j k 133 Livingston St., Asheville 28801 398-4158 • greenopportunities.org An Asheville-based nonprofit organization providing job training for an inclusive economy and a sustainable future.

houSing aSSiStancE corPoration f 602 Kanuga Road, Hendersonville 28739 692-4744 housing-assistance.com

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

Storywindow ProFESSional StorytElling h We come to you 258-1113 • StoryWindow.com Ready for a Story? Be it corporate, family or main stage - sign up for coaching, attend entertaining workshops, or book Connie for an unforgettable performance.

32° icE bar & loungE h 140 Airport Road, Arden 28704 684-5778 • 32icebar.com

Jack oF thE wood Pub e 95 Patton Ave., Asheville 28801 252-3445 • jackofthewood.com

l i s t i nG s | Music, Entertainment & Media Entertainment providers

Instrument retail & repair

eco CERTIFIED Realtor

north carolina StagE coMPany h i

Jackie Tatelman

15 Stage Lane, Asheville 28801 239-0263 • ncstage.org


aShEvillE FacE & body art h


We Come to you 778-1360 ashevillefaceandbodyart.com

Piano EMPoriuM h

What do you think about sustainable living? Share your comments online: mountainx.com/guides

828 Hendersonville Road, Asheville 28803 277-5566 • pianoemporium.com New/Used Yamaha, Grands, Uprights & Digital Pianos. We Tune, Move, Restore, Service, Repair & Sell.

Find ongoing sustainability news in our weekly issues

DawnWilsonRealty.com “Jackie is a very attentive, professional, local, expert. She made it a fun experience connecting us with the home of our imagination and dreams.” Dan and Keri Gaddis

Theaters: cinema & plays FinE artS thEatrE h 36 Biltmore Ave., Asheville 28801 232-1536 • fineartstheatre.com

Locally Owned and Operated since 1929 • For all of your metal recycling needs. Biltmore Iron & Metal Co. will supply containers from 1 cubic yard to 50 cubic yards—or you can deliver directly to our facility where we will weigh your vehicle.

Looking for supplies? BIMCO is a treasure trove for local found-object crafters and designers. Come explore our extensive inventory and find what you need for your crafting, landscaping, or interior decorating needs.


BILTMOREIRON.COM 1 MEADOW ROAD, ASHEVILLE 28803 (828) 253-9317 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


l i st i nG s | Outdoors / Excursions / Lodging

Outdoors, Excursions & Lodging Bed & breakfasts and farm lodging

Thanks! for your partnership

navitat canoPy advEnturES h  hawk & ivy organic b&b rEtrEat e 133 N. Fork Road, Barnardsville 28709 626-3486 • hawkandivy.com

inn on Main StrEEt b&b e 88 S. Main St., Weaverville 28787 645-4935 • innonmain.com A romantic and eco-friendly bed and breakfast near Asheville and the Biltmore Estate. Enjoy mountain views on the porch during breakfast from our organic gardens.

Blue Ridge Food Ventures www.advantagewest.com


mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015


ShoJi rEtrEatS h 96 Avondale Heights Road, Asheville 28803 • 299-0999 • shojiretreats.com Stay in one of Shoji’s three unique accommodations and enjoy being surrounded by nature yet only six minutes from the vibrancy of downtown Asheville.

242 Poverty Branch Road, Barnardsville 28709 • 626-3700 • navitat.com Navitat is the area’s premier provider of tree-based zipline adventures. Now with two great tours to choose from and local discounts available every week!

Outdoor adventures & survival training wild Food advEnturES h We come to you 209-8599 • notastelikehome.org

Retreats & Travel destinations

rtx - rESort, travEl & xchangE, inc. j 521 College St., Asheville 28801 350-2105 • rtx.travel RTX is a vacation ownership exchange company with 80,000 members and approximately 50 employees in Asheville. We make vacation dreams come true!

l i s t i nG s | Animals / Retail 575-9144 • candconaturals.com Our mission is to provide truly all natural and affordable skincare products that are handcrafted using the finest ingredients. Nothing more, nothing less.

Boutique shops

Pets, Animals, Wildlife Pet kennels, boarding

aShEvillE goodS e h Online only 252-9175 • ashevillegoods.com

honEyPot h

Pet sitting, dogwalking, grooming, training

86 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville 28801 •225-0304 • avl.mx/0rk

bEd and biScuit PEt SPa j

PuSh SkatEShoP and gallEry h

1420 N. Fork Road, Black Mountain 28711 • 669-6578 Bedandbiscuitpetspa.com

25 Patton Ave., Asheville 28801 225-5509 • pushtoyproject.com

brothEr wolF aniMal rEScuE h 31 Glendale Ave., Asheville 28803 505-3440 • bwar.org

caninE ShEar hEavEn h j i

b.b. barnS h j

422 McDowell St., Asheville 28803 254-3386 • canineshearheaven.com The groomers at Canine Shear Heaven are the best in the business. Let us show you what quality grooming can do for your pet!

3377 Sweeten Creek Road, Arden 28704 • 650-7300 • bbbarns.com B.B. Barns has a fabulous selection of gifts in their expanded gift shop for any occasion and for anyone on your gift list. Free gift wrap!

What do you think about sustainable living? Share your thE SoaPy dog h 270 Depot St., Asheville 28801 350-0333 • thesoapydog.com

comments online:

c & co. all natural body goodS, llc h j 15A Broadway St., Asheville 28801

68 College St., Asheville 28801 259-5331 • thelaughingmermaid.com Handcrafted natural soaps, lotions and perfumes with an “Asheville Vibe.” We can make you feel good all over!


Find ongoing sustainability news throughout the year

Retail Bed & bath

thE laughing MErMaid SoaP coMPany h i

Bookshops & libraries


hEy baby craFt co. h Online only 678-778-9004 heybabycraftco.com

Bike shops & repair

SuSPEnSion ExPErtS h j 89 Thompson St., Unit N, Asheville 28803 • 255-0205 mtbsuspensionexperts.com Suspension Experts is a leading aftermarket mountain bike suspension tuning center. We service Cane Creek, Fox and RockShox and are a PUSH Factory Tuning Center.



Online only 800-813-9432 • biblio.com Biblio allows you to purchase books online from thousands of independent booksellers worldwide who list rare, collectible, and used books. Uncommonly Good Books Found Here! 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


l i st i nG s | Retail 254-4200 • shopvirtue.com Asheville’s favorite dress boutique! Everyday dresses, denim, fashion tops and more. Many items manufactured in the USA. Always in fashion, always affordable.

thE littlESt birdS h j i


Consignment shops

647 Haywood Road, Asheville 28806 253-4747 • thelittlestbirds.com


for your partnership

thE downtown MarkEt h

quantuM vintagE h

45 S. French Broad Ave., Asheville 28801 • 255-8858 downtownmarketasheville.net 6000 SQF of antique, vintage, upcycled and new, clothing, accessories, decor, furniture, books, records, global gifts and locally made jewelry, art, craft and products.

46 Commerce St., Asheville 28801 771-4757 • quantumvintage.com 75% Vintage + 25% New and Local = 100% Fun! Men’s and Women’s Clothing, Jewelry, Art, Barware, Collectibles, Gifts, Retro Décor, Records, Comics, Militaria, Etc.



Flora h

Appalachian Grown Business Alliance www.asapconnections.org

hiP rEPlacEMEntS clothing h j i 72 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville 28801 255-7573 • hipreplacementsclothing.com A classy little shop in downtown for guys and gals specializing in independent designers and local artisans curated with nostalgia of yesteryear. Swing by!

428 B Haywood Road, Asheville 28806 252-8888 • floraevents.com

Gift & stationery shops

rhEtorical Factory h j i 444 Haywood Road #102, Asheville 28806 424-1378 • rhetoricalfactory.com



14 Haywood St., Asheville 28801 254-3375 • spiritex.net

virtuE h 58 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville 28801


mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

duncan & york h 33 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville 28801 575-2441 • duncanandyork.com Duncan and York is a general gift store specializing in bringing the most unique variety of locally and US-made goods to downtown Asheville.

l i s t i nG s | Retail Home Furnishings

Kitchen wares thE unPaPEr towEl h i

aFFordablE bEdding inc h j 996 Patton Ave., Asheville 28806 254-5555 • gotoaffordablebedding.com 14 Years Local Owned. Delivery and Set Up Avail. USA Made Products. One of Asheville’s Oldest. Customers Love Us On Yelp.

Asheville GreenWorks | Asheville, NC

Online only theunpapertowel.com Reusable cloth towels that are meant to replace your paper towels. Many fun patterns to choose from to match your kitchen!

Sporting Goods


Jewelers & jewelry

get it!

loSt covE h 115B Elk Mountain Road, Woodfin 28801 490-9297 • lostcovejewelry.com

story AnD Photo By CArriE EiDson

SiMPlEShot Shooting SPortS h Online only 888-202-7475 • simple-shot.com The world’s premiere supplier of Everything Slingshots! Made in the USA for the World, right here in Western North Carolina.

Thrift stores rEd daiSy art dESignS h Online Only reddaisyartdesigns.com

mountainx.com: your online source to WNC

aShEvillE arEa habitat For huManity rEStorE h f 31 Meadow Road, Asheville 28803 254-6706 • ashevillehabitat.org

22 years in Business, Full Service Garden Center We grow 80% of our own plants, Perennials, shrubs, trees, annuals, herbs, & a great selection of glazed pots Your Satisfaction Is Our Guarantee 1320 Kanuga Road Hendersonville, NC 28739 696-8000 www.raymondsgc.com

dawn chávez became the executive director of Asheville GreenWorks in the winter of 2014. But though she may be new to Asheville, the Bronx native knows her stuff when it comes to environmental education. “Even though I was from the city, I had lot of exposure to the outdoors,” notes Chávez, whose childhood experiences in the urban parks of New York City inspired her to pursue a college career in environmental studies. “I really liked relating [my studies] back to the city and the urban environment — teaching other people about the opportunities to enjoy nature that are right at their doorstep,” Chávez says. Before moving to Asheville, Chávez focused on environmental education and job training for youths at both the Urban Ecology Institute in Boston and the Boston Youth Environmental Network. Much of that work tackled the barriers that keep both kids and adults from engaging with the environment. “There isn’t always the access to green space in every community, but sometimes we’re dealing with more of a mental barrier than a physical barrier,” she says, adding that people may feel unsafe or even

unwelcome in city parks and outdoor areas. “My approach to access is getting people actively involved in a space in a comfortable, low-risk way, like doing activities together.” Chávez’s experience in youth education will inform GreenWorks programs like the youth environmental internship and education programming in schools and after-school programs. She adds that in the coming year GreenWorks will also continue its outreach to all the neighborhoods of Asheville through the Everybody’s Environment initiative (a partnership with UNC Asheville), the Food Tree Project, partnerships with greenway organizations and by supporting the work of its many volunteer groups. In fact, Chávez says, GreenWorks’ volunteer base was one of the main things that attracted her to Asheville. “There was such an enormous outpouring of support,” she says. “I hadn’t seen anything like that in my 20 years of working in environmental nonprofits. Last year we had almost 200 projects and collected 18 tons of trash. When you look at the results, it’s just amazing, and that’s the work of our volunteers.”

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


L I ST I NG S | Services 828:DESIGN

Credit unions

Services Accounting & Payroll Services

Brokers & financial planning advisors

14 S Pack Square, #503, Asheville 28801 333-4529 • lbnoelcpa.com



Handyman services HIRE MY HUSBAND


We come to you • 683-7824

House cleaning services

Fuel Oil

MCINTEE LAW, PLLC H 1 Oak Plaza, Suite 209, Asheville 28801 708-7850 • mcinteelawpllc.com Solo practitioner representing individuals, small businesses, and nonprofits in Asheville and greater WNC. Office located in downtown Asheville, 1 block east of Buncombe County Courthouse.

SELF-HELP CREDIT UNION F J 391 S. French Broad Ave., Asheville 28801 676-2196 • self-help.org We are a full-service community development financial institution offering money market accounts, home, business, auto and signature loans and specialty social impact certificates of deposit.



32 Broadway St., Suite 120, Asheville 28801 254-9200 • 828design.com 828:design is a comprehensive graphic design studio specializing in digital, print, branding, user experiences and website design.



46 Haywood St. Suite 201, Asheville 28801 • 877-235-3684 investwithyourvalues.com Asheville’s only dedicated socially and environmentally responsible investment management and financial planning firm. We help you align your investments with your values!




191 Amboy Road, Asheville 28803 253-4591 • biltmoreoil.com

Graphic design GREEN HOME CLEANING H J We come to you • 582-2080 greenhomecleaning.com

l i s t i nG s | Services Internet web design services, hosting

organic PlanEt clEaning h j i

PurPlEcat nEtworkS, inc. j

We come to you •280-7315 organicplanetcleaning.com Organic Planet is an earth-friendly cleaning service fully equipped to accommodate any cleaning requirements. We specialize in residential, commercial and postconstruction cleanings.

60 Biltmore Ave., Ste. 220, Asheville 28801 • 250-9446 • purplecat.net

big Path caPital c Global services 251-4645 • bigpathcapital.com Leveraging one of the largest networks of Impact Investors, Big Path Capital assists purpose-driven companies ensuring mission preservation across financial transactions, including acquisitions and mergers.

We come to you 775-9944 • skycleanwindows.com Sky Clean provides full-service window cleaning and exterior building maintenance. From large commercial clients to local homeowners, we’re ready to meet your needs!

10 Biltmore Plaza, Ste. 202, Asheville 28803 372-0101 • hummingbirdins.com The Source for the South ♥ Hummingbird Insurance provides health, dental, vision, life and other insurance. Always free help! Our motto: “protecting what we love”

mountainx.com: your online source to WNC

16 years

of herbal education! Holistic Herbalist Program, Essentials of Herbalism, Advanced Clinical Program

& more!

Blending ancient traditions with modern wisdom

(828) 275-6221 BlueRidgeSchool.org

Sky clEan inc. j

huMMingbird inSurancE j


Investment Banks

Movers, moving & relocation


Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine

Corey Pine Shane, RH (AHG) Director Personal Consultations Available

Let Go of Your Stress…Relax. Experience Peace.

Bodhi of Life Massage and Thai Bodywork

thE oPEn box Moving SolutionS h 7 Creek View Drive, Asheville 28806 505-8008 • movingyougreen.com Full Service Eco-Friendly Moving and Storage • Fully Licensed and Insured, C-2498 • Local and Long Distance Piano Moving • FREE On-Site Estimates • 5% Go Local Discount

Printing services

grEEn light ink ScrEEn Printing j 730 Locust St., Hendersonville 28792 736-0287 • greenlightink.com Conveniently located in Hendersonville’s Historic 7th Avenue District, we specialize in eco-friendly, waterbased textile printing as well as traditional screen printing methods.

t” “Massage for the Mind, Body, Spiri

Schedule your next massage at

bodhioflife.com or call 828-808-7805 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


l i st i nG s | Services / Wellness & Spirituality Realtors

Wellness & Spirituality Acupuncturists

aManda borEn - town & Mountain rEalty f 261 Asheland Ave., Suite 103, Asheville 28801 713-7049 • avl.mx/0si

JackiE rockS at dawn wilSon rEalty f P.O. Box 502, Black Mountain 28711 713-5193 • dawnwilsonrealty.com Matching your dreams with properties through research and local GREEN knowledge. Helping you navigate the complexities. Check out my website to see what my clients say.

Taxis dEbra MarShall/ cEntury 21 Mountain liFEStylES j 2123 Hendersonville Road, Arden 28704 273-5305 • C21ML.com

aShEvillE bikE taxi, tourS & SPEcial EvEntS h 278 Hillside St., Asheville 28801 777-5115 • ashevillebiketaxi.com

thE yoga wEllnESS cEntEr h

whitE PinE acuPuncturE, inc. h 247 Charlotte St., Suite R3, Asheville 28801 • 545-2288 whitepineacupuncture.com We are a dedicated team of talented acupuncturists, committed to excellent and intentional care. Promoting inner peace is our passion. Peace is powerful.

Alternative health practitioners

1636 Hendersonville Road, Asheville 28803 • 774-5150 TheYogaWellnessCenter.com Providing one-on-one simple mindbody therapies, tailored to the specific health conditions of the clients, to address the root cause of their health issues.

Chiropractors dr. Matilda SiEnko at gEntlE FaMily chiroPractic cEntEr h 82 Arlington St., Asheville 28801 253-8900 • drmatildasienko.com

Dance—classes & instruction Studio zahiya i 90 1/2 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville 28801 •537-0892 •studiozahiya.com

Exercise facilities & movement classes claSiquE acuPuncturE & PilatES Studio h j i 157 S. Lexington Ave., Suite D&E, Asheville 28801 333-5053 • studioclasique.com Clasique offers both Acupuncture and Pilates —distinct but complimentary healing modalities, meant to nourish and inspire clients in mind, body, and spirit.

intEgral EyESight iMProvEMEnt llc h 35 Haywood St., Suite 207, Asheville 28801 910-859-1232 • integraleyesight.com Holistic eyecare using the Bates Method, Yoga, and Meditation to prevent and reverse vision problems. The natural alternative to glasses, contacts, or surgery.


mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

cliMbMax cliMbing h 43 Wall St. & 173 Amboy Road, Asheville 28801 • 28806 252-9996 • climbmaxnc.com Rock Climbing is fun and exciting for all ages. Climbmax Climbing offers services to all abilities and ages in a controlled and fun environment.

Eyecare thE EyE cEntEr/ viSionSourcE-aShEvillE h 1 Page Ave., Suite 118, Asheville 28801 253-3533 • SeeingAsheville.com Colorful and fashionable frames, contact lenses and thorough eye exams in a comfortable boutique on O. Henry Ave in the historic Grove Arcade.

l i s t i nG s | Wellness & Spirituality Spas

Health clinics

cornErStonE PhySical thEraPy & wEllnESS h 600 Julian Lane, Suite 660 & 670, Arden 28704 684-3611 • cornerstoneptnc.com Family owned clinic in South Asheville/ Arden offering comprehensive services in acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage therapy, nutrition, and physical therapy. Compassionate and welcoming environment.

Health products & services wESt villagE MarkEt e h 771 Haywood Road, Asheville 28806 225-4949 • westvillagemarket.com All natural lotions, soaps, salves, tinctures, supplements – many locally produced – to nurture your precious body – internally & externally. Every 3rd Thursday 20% off.

ShoJi rEtrEatS h

hoPE EdEn, lcSw h

96 Avondale Heights Road, Asheville 28803 299-0999 • shojiretreats.com Relax with a customized massage with Shoji’s well-regarded licensed massage therapists. Choose from a wealth of options: Swedish, deep tissue, Shiatsu, Thai and more!

107 Merrimon Ave., Asheville 28801 989-2514

aShEvillE’S Salt cavE h j

Nonprofits & charitable organizations

12 Eagle St., Asheville 28801 236-5999 • ashevillesaltcave.com Experience the miracle of salt therapy, balancing your body and mind while strengthening your immune system naturally. 45 min= 4 days at the ocean

unity hEaling artS h 15 Zillicoa St., Asheville 28801 225-5825 • unityhealingarts.com

Maternity care nEw dawn MidwiFEry

SEnSibilitiES day SPa j


201 Charlotte St., Asheville 28801 236-0032 • newdawnmidwifery.com Full-scope nurse-midwifery offering home and hospital births as well as care during and after pregnancy and for all phases of a woman’s life.

Medical specialists

59 Haywood St., Asheville 28801 253-3222 • sensibilities-spa.com

unitarian univErSaliSt congrEgation oF aShEvillE j

mountainx.com: your online source to WNC

1 Edwin Place, Asheville 28801 254-6001 • uuasheville.org

Massage therapists, bodywork

FaMily to FaMily j

aShEvillE MaSSagE & natural thEraPEuticS (aMnt) h

207 Charlotte St., Asheville 28801 251-2700 • familytofamily.org Our four board-certified, holistic physicians provide primary and consultative care for men, women and children of all ages including urgent care and traditional healing.


20 Battery Park, Asheville 28801 423-0106 naturaltherapeuticspecialist.com Asheville Massage & Natural Therapeutics: Physical / Mental / Emotional / Alignment. Therapeutic Bodywork: Scoliosis/Arthritis/Migraines/Stress/ Anxiety/Depression. Advanced alignment bodywork. $20 Off New Clients Only

thE PilatES Studio h

autuMn woodward MaSSagE thEraPy h

420 Periwinkle Drive, Asheville 28804 216-7655 • pilatesasheville.com

47 Orange St., Suite C, Asheville 28801 333-7315 • autumnwoodward.com

Proudly providing the Black Mountain area with best in local, organic, & ethical products while building a sense of community.

Counseling & Therapy

PEacEFul way MaSSagE & rEiki h

PoSitivE tranSForMationS h

131 McDowell St., Suite 202, Asheville 28801 • 423-3978 peacefulwaymassage.com

107 Merrimon Ave. #325, Asheville 28801 808-2860 • PositiveNC.com

•Farm-Fresh Eggs•Grass-Fed Meats Produce & Dairy from local farms •A wide variety of GMO Free & Gluten-Free products •Bulk goods •Natural Home & Beauty Products •On site garden!

151 S. Ridgeway Ave. Black Mountain, NC 28711 (828) 664-0060 rootsandfruitsmarket.com

connect with us!

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


l i st i nG s | Wellness & Spirituality Yoga

Find ongoing sustainability news throughout the year

802 Fairview Road # 100, Asheville 28803 299-7003 • hotyogaasheville.com This top quality studio for all levels features experienced instructors, friendly community, and offers Bikram and Hot Flow classes daily+ spacious lobby, changing areas &showers!

ShoJi rEtrEatS h 96 Avondale Heights Road, Asheville 28803 299-0999 • shojiretreats.com An outdoor, Japanese style hot tub retreat and massage spa, nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just six minutes from downtown Asheville.

aShEvillE yoga cEntEr and aShEvillE yoga donation Studio h j 211 S. Liberty St., Asheville 28801 254-0380 • youryoga.com

thE littlE volcano yoga MiSchiEF & Magic h SuPrEME Skin llc h 1095 Hendersonville Road Suite C-4, Asheville 28803 582-1965 • YourSupremeSkin.com Specializing in Result Oriented, Noninvasive, Anti-Aging Treatments for the Face & Body. Well known for the Popular ‘Lunchtime Lift’ facial with Immediate and Affordable Results.

62 Wall St., Asheville 28801 552-4713 • thelittlevolcano.com

wESt aShEvillE yoga j hot yoga aShEvillE— bikraM MEthod & MorE h

Asheville Massage Natural Therapeutics Open 7 days a week

602 Haywood Road, Asheville 28806 350-1167 • westashevilleyoga.com

Mention this ad and receive:

$20 off Therapeutic Massage new clients only

Services Provided by North Carolina Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapists

828-423-0106 naturaltherapeuticspecialist.com by appointment only

“I see Evan for scoliosis. By unwinding these patterns I have a more balanced posture, greater range of motion, and much less discomfort overall for a condition that has become significantly more pronounced as I’ve gotten older. Not only has the scoliosis not progressed since my work with Evan, it has actually improved without surgery!” –Mary Beth Gwynn 74

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

l i s t i nG s | Yard, Garden & Landscape Supplies, Services & Classes

Yard, Garden & Landscape Landscape contractors, design & maintenance

b.b. barnS h j 3377 Sweeten Creek Road, Arden 28704 650-7300 • bbbarns.com B.B. Barns is a four-acre destination garden, gift and landscape company hosting an exotic plant collection and a unique gift gallery with surprises around every corner.

Sow truE SEEd e h 146 Church St., Asheville 28801 254-0708 • sowtrueseed.com Providing gardeners and small farmers with the best non-GMO, openpollinated, heirloom, and organic vegetable, herb and flower seeds.

raMblE & root, llc h i

b.b. barnS h j 3377 Sweeten Creek Road, Arden 28704 650-7300 • bbbarns.com B.B. Barns Landscape Services: Landscape design and installation, hardscapes, driveways, water features, patios and decks, raised beds, fences, arbors, iron works, and garden maintenance services.

carolina nativE landScaPES f 913 Sand Hill Road, Asheville 28806 665-7234 • avl.mx/0qm

We come to you 712-3945 • rambleandroot.org Helping you cultivate local fresh produce residentially and commercially, we offer high quality edible landscaping, raised bed construction and urban farm design, installation and maintenance.

Lawn care & alternatives Eco Mow oF aShEvillE f We come to you • 545-3827 ecomowofasheville.com Environmentally-friendly lawn care service. Battery operated lawn mowing and general sustainable landscape practices. For a quieter and healthier community.

villagErS h haiku baMboo nurSEry e 20 Tuttle Road, Hendersonville 28792 • 685-3053 haikubamboonursery.net Beautifully maintained Bamboo Forrest. Bamboo Walking Tours featuring 25 Species on the 2nd and 4th Sundays. Reservation & Fee required.

278 Haywood Road, Asheville 28806 215-9569 • forvillagers.com VILLAGERS is an urban homestead supply store. We offer quality kitchen and garden tools, supplies and workshops that support sustainable living.


Permaculture living SyStEMS dESign

M r gardEnS e We come to you 333-4151 • mrgardens.net Provides edible/native landscape design and garden-coaching services to homeowners and businesses. Helps grow high quality, nutritious food, while creating healthy ecosystems on clients’ properties.


We come to you 669-1759 • livingsystemsdesign.net Seasoned permaculture educators Chuck Marsh and Zev Friedman craft life-changing educational experiences and contract with landowners to plan successful permaculture land projects of all scales.

Plant nurseries big PinE nativE gardEnS e 3751 Big Pine Road, Marshall 28753 649-2259

We’re ONLINE! mountainx.com/guides

linda’S PlantS & ShrubS e 256 Stepp Acres Lane, Hendersonville 28792 685-0738 • lindasplants.com LP&S offers the best in annuals, perennials, herbs and shrubs, as well as homegrown fruits and vegetables. Two locations: Hendersonville and WNC Farmers Market.


kEE MaPPing & SurvEying f 111 Central Ave., Asheville 28801 645-8275 • keemapping.com Kee Mapping & Surveying is proud to offer comprehensive professional land surveying and mapping services to Western North Carolina.

Plant Fit ashevillehealing.net at Asheville Healing

Coaching and Inspiration

for a Whole Food Plant-Based Lifestyle “I hit 50 & my doctor was becoming my ‘best friend.’ Then I found Plant Fit & got the support I needed. I now feel great, am eating better & seeing my doctor less.” ~Holly H.

3 Keys to Healthy Living: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner! Nancy POPE: 828.702.0515 Jackie TATELMAN: 828.713.5193 2015 | mountainx.com/guides



mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

how t o | by Cameron Huntley

how to lobby your local government Landscapes that are BEAUTIFUL natural

sustainable Residential, commercial and institutional landscapes based on one simple idea:

Timothy Sadler speaks with Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer at a City Council meeting. Photo by Jesse Farthing

Government is so pervasive and omnipresent that it may be easy to think that an individual voice will not be heard. But local activist Timothy Sadler doesn’t think that’s the case — in fact, he says, getting involved in local government is just a matter of learning the ropes. Learn the structure: Most people know of City Council or the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners — but there’s a lot more to local government. “Once an issue gets before the Council, it’s almost a done deal,” Sadler says. “By the time staff and board approves, it’s difficult for Council to object.” Boards and commissions conduct much of the local government’s affairs but are much less in the public eye. So how do you track them down? Do your research: Sadler recommends the city’s website (ashevillenc.gov), particularly the calendar section. Both the city and Buncombe County (at buncombecounty.org) list all sanctioned boards and commissions and offer meeting calendars. “A whole new world opened up when I saw there were all these categories of meetings, and the opportunity to give public input,” Sadler says.

Those without Internet access can call the county clerk (250-4105) or the city clerk (259-5601) for information. With rare exceptions, all board meetings are open to the public, and many have scheduled time for public comment. Don’t get discouraged: Sadler says one of the skills he had to learn when faced with the often molasses-like speed of government was patience. “It was frustrating to want to see things differently and not quite know how to go about it. What I would emphasize is to be patient. And meet people where they’re at.” Sadler believes that one person can make a difference, but “not right off the bat. You have to learn the dynamics. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon.” He adds that his perseverance has brought unexpected results. “I’ve made an unbelievable amount of contacts and developed relationships with people who I never would have been involved with,” he says. And, he says, it really does pay off. “Ultimately, it’s the people who show up who have influence.”

that landscaping should work with nature rather than against it.

We are dedicated to using native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and native stone in forms that harmonize with the natural landscapes of our region.

carolinanativelandscapes.com • 828-665-7234

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


ho w t o | by Michael McDonald

the American Chestnut foundation | Asheville, NC

how to become a donation hunter

Donation hunters like Billy Stewart provide meat to food relief agencies such as MANNA FoodBank. Photo by Carrie Eidson


get it! By GinA smith Photo CourtEsy of tACf

Just a few months ago, lisa thomson was happy with her position at a small college in central Florida. But having previously served for 25 years in a variety of roles with The Nature Conservancy, environmental conservation was in her blood. So when Asheville-based The American Chestnut Foundation approached Thomson recently about joining the organization as president and CEO, she felt it was an offer she couldn’t refuse. “I’m a lifelong conservationist, and this was a good fit for me professionally — plus I’ve always wanted to get to know Western North Carolina,” she says. “The stars all aligned.” And Thomson, who moved to Asheville in January to assume her post, has stepped into her new role at a turning point in the TACF’s more than 30-year history. Almost completely killed off by a blight, or fungal disease, in the early half of the 20th century, the population of American chestnut trees — which previously made up a quarter of all hardwoods on the East Coast — now, at last, has a real hope of reviving. Working since 1983, TACF scientists have conducted an intensive breeding program to backcross American chestnuts with their blight-resistant


Chinese cousins. Finally, their efforts have resulted in an American chestnut tree that can survive the fungus. Now TACF is ready to shift its focus. “It’s a really exciting time to join the organization and help take it to the next level,” Thomson says. “We’ve been such a science-driven organization, not necessarily a marketing or membershipdriven organization. ... We won’t abandon our science, by any means, but we need to get the word out that we are restoring the trees … [and the restoration] depends on how we can amass the volunteers to get plantings in the ground.” Thomson says she and many others find the positive nature and long-term vision of TACF’s mission to be very appealing. “So often in conservation we’re on the defensive — we have to fight something that’s threatening our mission. Here we’re on the offensive — we’re actually doing something that’s directly, positively impacting the environment. ... It’s so amazing that we’re doing something that visionary and that long term in this Twitter, 140-character world. It’s really refreshing to have a mission that’s slow, deliberate and real.” Gina Smith is a staff writer and editor at Mountain Xpress.

mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

For Billy Stewart, membership services coordinator for Backyard Bow Pro and local chapter coordinator for Farmers & Hunters Feeding the Hungry, hunting is about heritage and community. “Traditionally hunters would make a kill and bring it back to the community, not just keep it for themselves,” Stewart explains. “It is our responsibility, our heritage, to share what we harvest.” Donation hunters like Stewart provide meat for underprivileged families and food relief agencies like MANNA FoodBank. One deer processed into ground meat can provide up to 200 meals, Stewart says. For those wanting to join the effort, the first step is to complete a hunter education program. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission provides free hunter education courses throughout the year, which cover ethics and responsibility, conservation, wildlife and identification, first aid, specialty hunting and tree-stand safety. Courses are taught by wildlife officers, hunter education specialists and certified volunteer instructors. Schedules may be found on the commission's website. After passing this course, donation hunters must purchase an annual hunting license. In Western North Carolina, hunters should first purchase a basic

statewide hunting license, followed by a big-game hunting privilege license in order to harvest up to six deer — two bucks and four does. Hunters may purchase bonus antlerless deer licenses that allow harvest of two additional antlerless deer per license. Next, hunters need land to hunt, some of which comes from donation as well. “Some landowners will call and offer their land for hunting,” Stewart notes. “We have the landowner’s safety in mind long before we even knock on their door.” For nonhunting landowners, it’s a way to get overpopulated deer off their properties while feeding those less fortunate, he adds. Once a hunter has harvested a deer for donation, the animal must be taken to a stateinspected processing facility. There are three such facilities in WNC: Henderson’s Meat Processing in Flat Rock, Williams Meat Processing in Marion and Little David’s Meat Processing in Burnsville. The hunters should indicate a desire to donate some or all of their harvest to charity, and the facility will contact Farmers & Hunters Feeding the Hungry to facilitate the donation. Michael McDonald is a staff writer at Mountain Xpress.

how t o | by Edwin Arnaudin

how to be a sustainable employer Whichever way employers define “sustainable,” incorporating the effort into the workplace requires creative thought and effort. Let’s start with this definition: “able to last or continue for a long time.” For employers to maintain long-term success, their employees must be representative of their entire diverse community. To achieve these ends and encourage staff retention, Deborah Miles, executive director of the Center for Diversity Education at UNC Asheville, highlights three crucial areas of focus: • Examine hiring pipelines: How companies advertise and who is aware of job openings determines who applies. Keeping in mind that 70 percent of all jobs are gained through some sort of personal connections, pipelines may be broadened by establishing relationships at historically black colleges and universities, or sending announcements to a wider friendship circle. • Mentor: Identifying staff for leadership potential, learning employee aspirations and providing special opportunities for skills to grow are key in establishing diversity in higher-level positions. • Take accountability: In addition to performance in the above areas, are employers selecting diverse hiring committees, screening from conscious bias, providing a welcoming climate and monitoring how co-workers are getting along in the office?

Then there’s definition number No. 2: “involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources.” Ecofriendly benefits and services help make employees’ lives easier and encourage the long-term health of the world around them. • Provide free bus passes: In Asheville Transit’s Passport program, employers and schools pay one monthly bill that allows employees and students nocost bus rides when they show a corresponding ID. According to City Transit Projects Coordinator Yuri Koslen, Green Opportunities, UNCA, Grove Park Inn, Buncombe County and the city of Asheville currently provide this benefit to full time employees. • Encourage car pool networks: UNCA also offers the Zimride ride-sharing program to its students, faculty and staff for daily commutes and carpooling to destinations such as Charlotte and Raleigh. “Any time we can convert a few would-be drivers into multi-passenger commuters, we can reduce [the] amount of emissions, parking and traffic on the roads,” says John Ridout, transportation coordinator for UNCA. “It is a win-win for the user and the university.” • Create incentives for alternative transportation: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Green Machine program requires a pledge of five round trips per month for work, errands or another nonrecreational

675 Hour Massage Certification Offered Every April & October // Discounts Available, Register Early 600 Hour Ayurveda Counselor Certification Offered Every September $30 Student Clinics Offered Throughout the Year Call for an Appointment! CE for Massage Therapists Available ASHEVILLEMASSAGESCHOOL.ORG • 828-252-7377

Sierra Nevada’s Green Machine program encourages employees to use alternative transportation to get to work. Photo courtesy of Sierra Nevada

purpose via bicycling, walking, skateboarding, public transit or carpooling. “We really wanted to make sure the program was encouraging employees to rethink their transportation options and ‘step out of the car,’ if you will,” says Mandi McKay, sustainability coordinator for

Sierra Nevada. All participants are entered into quarterly drawings for various prizes, and a party is held each April with grand-prize drawings for two new bicycles. Edwin Arnaudin is a contributing writer at the Mountain Xpress.

A GREENER Approach

Residential and Commercial Moves Eco-friendly Packing Services and FREE Box Exchange Certified EPA Biodiesel Fleet Yes! To an Eco-Friendly Philosophy Courteous, Reliable, Permanent Staff Licensed and Fully Insured C-2498 Enjoy Outstanding Professional Practices




OPENBOXMOVING.COM 2015 | mountainx.com/guides


ho w t o | by Josh O’Conner

how to become an urban farmer

Urban farmer Sunil Patel (left) partnered with restaurateur charlie hodge to bring a “farm to glass” experience to Sovereign Remedies cocktail lounge. Photo by Cindy Kunst

Your local mycological supply store, offering a wide variety of products for all of your mushroom growing needs.

•colonized agar plates • liquid culture • grain spawn •sawdust spawn • ready-to-fruit 5 lb mushroom spawn bags • colonized mushroom dowel spawn for log inoculation • resource guides • equipment • classes & consulting We have a huge culture library so let us know what you are looking for. Online store offers FREE shipping in continental US.

shroomcentral.com 828.424.9267


mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015

With side lots, vacant spaces and rooftops transforming into agriculture enclaves hidden throughout the city, it may seem that urban farming has become the en vogue approach to agriculture across the country and in Asheville and Buncombe County. Becoming an urban farmer comes with a quick learning curve full of chances for success or failure. One of the first steps in the process is determining what you want to farm and where. There are a number of classes that can help you understand the mechanics of urban farming and also aid in selecting your crops or livestock. Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project supports farmers through marketing and training and hosts the annual Business of Farming conference to orient farmers to the business side of agriculture. ASAP also helps to create direct access to consumers through the Asheville City Market and Mountain Tailgate Market Association. More information is available at asapconnections.org. Buncombe County Cooperative Extension provides access to a number of learning resources regarding farming and gardening. The Extension also offers access to grants and courses on food preservation. More information is at buncombe.ces.ncsu.edu. Organic Growers School provides organic farming and gardening educational programs through annual conferences in the fall and spring, in addition to other learning opportunities throughout the year. Find out more at organicgrowersschool.org. Fifth Season Organic Gardening offers urban farming supplies and tools for indoor growing. Fifth Season also offers the ability to purchase supplies in larger quantities through its wholesale operation. More information is at fifthseasongardening.com. Living Only Through Urban Sustainability sells urban farm implements, animal feeds and aquaponic and hydroponic

supplies. LOTUS also offers a range of classes including vermicomposting, beekeeping, chicken keeping and introductions to hydroponics and aquaponics. Visit lotusfarmandgarden.com for more information. Sow True Seeds offers heirloom and traditional seeds that are open-pollinated, nonhybrid and GMO-free. More information is at sowtrueseed.com. Villagers retails tools, books, supplies and resources for homesteaders and urban farmers. Villagers also offers a number of workshops focused on subsistence living and life on the urban farm. Find out more at forvillagers.com. Among the many steps to tackling any urban farming venture is a mastering of the permitting requirements. Regulations may govern everything from structures, such as greenhouses or storage sheds, to permits on each type of animal being raised to enclosure inspections by animal control. Deed restrictions or homeowners association rules may also come into play, and, if you’re thinking about opening your farm to visitors, parking may even become an issue. Before engaging in any urban farming adventures, it’s best to run your plans by your local government to make sure you aren’t going to run afoul of any land-use or animal control regulations. Urban farming is still evolving and gaining popularity, and an ongoing step is staying involved in the conversations about farming resources and the policies that govern them. The Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council serves as a moderator and host of many of these discussions at meetings. You can find out more at abfoodpolicy.org. Josh O’Conner is a contributing writer at Mountain Xpress. He is an urban farmer and zoning administrator and planner for Buncombe County.

how t o | by Josh O’Conner

how to start a community tailgate market Community tailgate markets are a labor of love that offer communities a place to gather while also providing access to fresh, local foods. If you’re thinking about organizing a market in your neighborhood, consider these steps: • Find your spot: Tailgate markets depend on one of the central tenets of marketing — location, location, location. A thriving market needs a reliable source of foot and vehicle traffic to attract business. Churches, schools, municipal buildings and community centers are potential sites that tend to be centrally located and have large parking lots. These locations are often underutilized at various times, allowing for partnerships with markets. Buncombe County offers a website that shows aerial photography of area neighborhoods and contact information for the property owners. You can find this at gis.buncombecounty.org. In investigating the feasibility of starting a market, finding out the location of other markets in your area is a good first step. Oversaturating can put a strain on your vendors and split your customers. Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project offers a listing of local markets and their operating hours at

Community organizer carly Esslinger helped to start the Oakley Farmers Market in the predominantly low-income, food desert neighborhood. Photo by Alicia Funderburk

mountainmarkets.com. • Get your permits: Permitting is a crucial step for every market. Each local jurisdiction will have its own set of rules, but understanding zoning restrictions on markets can also help in narrowing down the list of potential locations. Starting the permitting process early will prevent any conflicts with the opening of the market. Local planning departments can be contacted at: • Asheville: 259-5830 • Biltmore Forest: 274-0824 • Black Mountain: 419-4300 • Montreat: 669-8002 • Weaverville: 484-7013 • Woodfin: 253-4887 • Buncombe County: 250-4830 • Get support: Markets are a community effort and require a great deal of support from those

living nearby. Since most fledgling markets have little to no budget, a diverse and loyal volunteer base is helpful. Markets will need a variety of services from professionals, such as accountants, lawyers and graphic artists. Assembling a board of community members with a lot of passion and availability is key. The board will need to go through the steps of starting the market and make key decisions regarding how the market should be run and organized. The Farmers Market Coalition offers a number of resources and hosts a Listserv for communicating with other markets. You can find this at farmersmarketcoalition.org. ASAP also hosts the Mountain Tailgate Market Association,

which provides an opportunity to network and collaborate with other markets. • Be patient: Tailgate markets tend to grow slowly over a number of years. Ideally a new market will recruit a handful of vendors who can do well with a first-season market. Over time additional vendors can be added allowing the market to grow along with the customer base. • Keep it local: Remember to keep the connection to the local neighborhood. Look for ways to gather feedback and hold events that encourage the market to be part of a celebration of the community. Josh O’Conner is a contributing writer at Mountain Xpress. He is a co-founder of the Oakley Farmers Market and current board member.

2015 | mountainx.com/guides


index of advertisers 64

Dobra tea


mountain meadows /

A-B technical College


Downtown market/sly Grog


Byrne Companies


Annie’s naturally Bakery


Eco mow of Asheville


mountain Valley spring Water


Artspace Charter school


fifth season/the splinter Group-Asheville hydrogardens 47

mushroom Central -

Asheville massage & natural therapeutics

Asheville fungi



french Broad Chocolate Lounge

navitat Canopy Adventures nC GreenPower

Asheville school of massage and yoga


Asheville sun soo traditional tae Kwon Do



Green Earth Developments LLC


new Earth muziq

Green river Preserve


notorious Coffee

habitat for humanity


roasting Company



self-help Credit union


sensibilities Day spa



soapy Dog, LLC



southern Appalachian


66 70


still Point Wellness



sundance Power systems


sure foot Builders, inc.



habitat re-imagined


open Box


Jackie tatelman


moveing solutions Painter’s Greenhouses Plant fit


Pot Pie shop


raven & Crone


raymond’s Garden Center


Blue ridge school of herbal medicine

65 71

Bodhi of Life therapeutic massage and holistic Wellness 71 Brother Wolf Animal rescue


Carolina native Landscapes


Chestnut restaurant


Corner Kitchen


Crystal Visions/ new Visions marketplace


Danny’s Dumpster


John C. Campbell folk school

2 36

Krull and Company


Leah B. noel CPA firm


Legerton Architecture


Lenoir-rhyne university


Liberty Bicycles


recover Brands

Little Green frog


red Daisy Art Designs


Living systems Design


red moon herbs roots & fruits market rosetta’s Kitchen & Buchi Bar


firefly Gathering

samsel Architects


Wild mountain Bees

Long Branch Environmental Education Center


mother Earth news fair/ogden Publications inc.


mountain xpress get it! guide | 2015


sovereign remedies

B.B. Barns

Jade mountain Builders

highlands Conservancy



Avonlea Learning Communtiy

Biltmore iron and metal Co.


scallywag’s Consignment

A healthier home

telco Community Credit union







West Asheville yoga



Wild Abundance /

Back Page

9 46

Grow Your Food! Know Your Food! Locally Owned ... Locally Grown: 25 Years!

Fruit Trees Nut Trees Fruit Bushes Herbs & Vegetables Seeds Visit bbbarns.com 3377 Sweeten Creek Rd. Arden, N.C. 28704 828-650-7300

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Get It! Guide (2015)  

Resilient Communities and Sustainable Living in Western North Carolina.

Get It! Guide (2015)  

Resilient Communities and Sustainable Living in Western North Carolina.

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