Value-Added Community Farm Kitchen

Recently at the Education Center at our Community Farm, preparations have been underway for the development of a new industrial-grade kitchen. For the past three years,  Community Farm Manager Chris Link has been guiding the transformation of space once used for dog kennels into an valuable resource.  We have created a value-added kitchen with Energy Star appliances, put in a larger well and septic systems, and installed photovoltaic solar panels. Using Madison County’s value-added kitchen as inspiration, we developed a kitchen layout that provides easier accessibility for farmers and a more convenient way to change raw materials into value-added packaged products; the kitchen will have high energy efficiency and lower costs, being financially accessible for community members. Read more

Alexander Chapel Baptist Church Visit

Around the corner from SAHC’s Community Farm and other conserved farms in Alexander, community members are working to preserve an historic African-American church and cemetery. In conjunction with our “It’s Your Backyard” event in April, outdoor recreation ambassador Daniel White (The Blackalachian) led a bike ride from the Community Farm to the church, raising awareness about the significance of the site in local African American history. Read more

Prescribed Burn for Shortleaf Pine

This Spring, we used a prescribed (controlled) burn of 13 acres to help manage our shortleaf pine reforestation project at our Community Farm.

This prescribed burn will help restore the shortleaf pine by removing undesirable, competing plant species and giving the slower-growing shortleaf pine a chance to re-establish. Shortleaf pine is a fire-dependent and fire tolerant species, meaning that the species actually depends on fire in order to reproduce and thrive. Read more

From the Farm: January 2019

Our Community Farm Manager, Chris Link, blogs about updates from our Community Farm:

Greetings, all — from the winter quiet on the SAHC Community Farm in Alexander!

We enjoy the break in buzzing activity that comes every January. Not completely dormant by any means, this season for planning and taking stock is valuable in its own right.

While I can wax poetic about the meditative frosty mornings and the fun flurry of animals moving around (one resident fox is quite obvious in the still and monochrome landscape), there’s much work to be done on our ongoing projects here. We’re planning work in the stream restoration area which improves our water and habitat, preparing community kitchen space which will open to the public this spring (along with our new event venue!), and organizing many educational workshop offerings — including a controlled-burn to support the fledgling short-leaf pine habitat.

Headwaters Market Garden will be getting early spring crops seeded and growing in February.

We’re also hoping to expand our team of incubating farm businesses who grow and/or raise animals out here!  If you need to take the next step in your farm business, our Farmer Incubator Program is set up to support you.  We have many types of infrastructure for varying enterprises, staff technical support, access to the Organic Growers School Farm Beginnings training, social media and marketing support.

Click HERE to apply today.

Half Pint Farm

New participants in our Farmer Incubator Program, Claudie Babineaux and Sarah Bostick have been doing very physical labor for years. However, they frequently run into people who challenge the idea that two petite ladies can accomplish such work. In naming their farm business “Half Pint Farm,” they decided to ‘own it’.

“This name, Half Pint Farm, really works for us because people have always challenged our ability to do things because of our size,” shares Sarah. Their farm name also relates to scale of production — Claudie and Sarah have both worked in intensive farming on 5-10 acre parcels in the past, primarily in Florida and Maine, but they now want to focus on a smaller scale. They are using their first year in our Farmer Incubator Program learn about the particulars of farming in the Southern Appalachians, such as how soil and weather behave with certain varieties of produce.

“We have experience in farming, but not here in the mountains,” says Sarah. “We aspire to own our own farm, and it’s important to do a lot of learning before investing in our own land. We plan to use our time in the program to learn about the intricacies of farming in this soil — in this climate and landscape — because it’s really different from what we’re used to.” Read more

From Kudzu to Cover Crops

Our Community Farm continues to serve as a model — balancing agricultural production with environmental responsibility while providing educational opportunities.

Farmer Incubator Program

Will Salley and Savannah Salley of Headwaters Market Garden use a unique French method of bio-intensive vegetable production on small acreage. Currently in their first year of full-time farming, they have wholesale and restaurant accounts. They will return to the downtown Asheville City Market in the Spring, to host a booth on Saturday mornings. Next year, they plan to expand their operation with mushroom and egg production. Read more

Aloft Downtown Asheville Volunteers

We’d like to give a HUGE thank you to the terrific team of volunteers from Aloft Downtown Asheville who came out to work on our Community Farm on Tuesday, October 17. This energetic crew arrived ready to get their boots dirty and do some good! They helped our Headwaters Market Garden incubator farmers harvest carrots, beets and kale, wrapping up summer production in the fields and preparing to transition to cold-weather operations. Read more

Farmer Education Workshop: Tractor 101 for Women

explaining tractor engineOur first tractor operation and maintenance workshop geared specifically for women was a hit! Led by local farmer Danielle Hutchison of Beacon Village Farm, the workshop provided a safe environment for women to learn how to maintain and use tractors on their farms. Attendees ranged from college students to retirees in their 60/70s — including apprentices, landowners, and growers who sell at local markets.

tractor and group view

For 3 1/2 hours, the group actively engaged in discussing safety and tractor maintenance, with lots of hands-on interaction. Danielle created an open learning environment to encourage participants to ask questions. Read more

Headwaters Market Garden

We welcome Will and Savannah Salley of Headwaters Market Garden, new vegetable producers on our Community Farm. Their operation focuses on growing seasonal mixed vegetables and culinary herbs. Will and Savannah recently returned to the Carolinas after living in Maui, Hawaii and are launching their new  market garden business through participation in our Farmer Incubator Program.

Read more

Farmer Education Workshop: Irrigation for Small Farms

In July we hosted an informative workshop on irrigation for small farms at our Community Farm to educate farmers and others about optimizing water use. This workshop — led by Community Farm and Food Associate Chris Link, WNC FarmLink Director Suzanna Dennison, and Chris McWhorter of the W.P. Law Agriculture Division — covered important questions to ask when considering irrigation, irrigation system components, and the mathematics required to calculate accurate measurements for an irrigation system. Read more