XploreUSA Volunteers Help Shortleaf Pine

On Thursday, July 13, we welcomed a group of XploreUSA students to our Community Farm for a workday in the Shortleaf Pine reforestation area. The teen volunteers consisted of international exchange students along with some of their American host siblings. XploreUSA is a day camp which offers several language classes, fun activities, and meaningful weekly volunteer projects. The volunteer projects for this day included thinning of non-native invasive plant species and seeding Kentucky 31 Fescue grass and perennial flowers.

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Girl Scouts Lead Farm Tour for Silver Award Project

On Wednesday, July 5th, SAHC AmeriCorps member Haley Smith and communications interns Tamia Dame and Fisayo Bashorun helped two local Girl Scouts fulfill a special goal – earning their Silver Award, the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can ear. Scouts Kylie and Gates had only one task left to complete before obtaining the award: leading a project which would leave a lasting impact on their community. The most meaningful way to do this, they decided, was to pass down the valuable lessons about land trust work to younger generations in a hands-on environment. Read more

Protecting Your Body on the Farm

On Sunday, June 25, we hosted an educational farm workshop titled “Protecting Your Biggest Asset on the Farm: Your Body” led by Jamie Davis from A Way of Life Farm. This is the second year we have hosted this informative workshop to teach farmers (and others) best practices for protecting crucial parts of our bodies from injuries related to tedious physical work. Jamie, a native of Polk County, NC, shared his background with injuries, along with tips for caring for one’s body. Read more

Evergreen School Farm Tour

Thanks to our visitors from Evergreen Community Charter School for coming out to tour the Discovery Trail at our Community Farm. Productive farming and a healthy, sustainable environment go hand-in-hand — and our Community Farm provides a trendsetting model to learn best management agricultural practices. We offer guided, educational farm tours throughout the year for groups of all ages. To find out more about the workshops and tours we offer through our farm and new Education Center, contact Chris@appalachian.org.


SAHC’s Community Farm work is funded in part by a grant from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2016-70017-25341  for Farm Pathways:  Integrating Farmer Training with Land Access. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sparrow Hill Farm

The hearty pineywoods cattle on our Community Farm have interesting personality quirks, according to farmer Gina Raicovich. The herd has been growing, with eight cow-calf pairs currently thriving. Gina has diversifed her Sparrow Hill Farm agricultural enterprise and is looking for grazing land for the herd after her time in our Farmer Incubator Program.

“It’s been really fun to watch how they function as a herd,” says Gina. “They are very good natured and have basic instincts that seem more like a free-range herd. I watched one mother give birth, and then every other cow came over and licked the baby, helping out while the mother recovered. I haven’t seen other cattle do that. At other times, I’ve seen them take turns as one mom ‘babysits’ all the calves while the other cows graze. They can be very inquisitive and charismatic, too.” Read more

YMCA Horizons group visits Community Farm

Although the skies loomed dark, rain held off long enough for students of the YMCA Horizons after school program to tour our Community Farm Discovery Trail on March 30. Chris Link, our Community Farm & Food Associate led the group of about 30 AC Reynolds Middle School kids to learn about resilient Pineywoods heritage breed cattle, crop rotation, winter vegetable production, stream restoration, erosion prevention, and shortleaf pine. Read more

FBRA Girls Volunteer at Community Farm

We welcomed the French Broad River Academy Girls for a volunteer work day on our Community Farm on March 2. The middle school students explored the farm on an educational hike led by Chris Link, our Community Farm and Food Associate. Then they volunteered in the vegetable production area, doing bed preparation to transition from the winter to spring growing season. The girls volunteered in the greenhouses, caterpillar tunnels, and fields on the farm. They were particularly excited to find some remaining carrots to harvest! Thank you for your volunteer service! Read more

Project POWER visits Our Community Farm

A cold morning brightened up on November 18th just in time to indulge a large group of AmeriCorps members on a tour of our Community Farm. Chris Link, SAHC’s Community Farm Manager, and Travis Bordley, our Roan Volunteer Outreach Associate, hosted 26 AmeriCorps members from Project POWER, which stands for “Putting Opportunity Within Everyone’s Reach.”
Project POWER is a local division of the national AmeriCorps program. Members of Project POWER work exclusively in Buncombe Country and with at-risk youth in schools, non-profits and faith biased organizations. SAHC and Project POWER have been fostering a relationship to connect people with the environment and outdoor experiences on conservation properties.

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FBRA volunteers build trails at Community Farm

fbra2This month,  twelve 7th grade boys from the French Broad River Academy (FBRA) volunteered at our Community Farm. We are grateful for assistance from these positive, hard-working students! Service learning is a vital piece of the FBRA curriculum, and they partner with us several times a year to help out with various projects at the Community Farm.

We had a challenge for the student volunteers: we needed to re-grade an erosion-prone section of the Discovery Trail and build a retaining wall on the up-slope side. The boys got to work right away, with half of them using tools to carve out a small wall and re-grade the dirt along the trail. The other half teamed up to carry logs for the wall as our farm manager, Chris, felled and bucked a few already-dead trees on the property. Read more

Farm Pathways

protectbody_squareSAHC, Organic Growers School (OGS), and WNC Farmlink have been awarded a $600,000 federal grant over three years to continue developing Farm Pathways: Integrating Farmer Training with Land Access.

Farm Pathways was selected this year as one of 37 projects across the nation to receive funding from the US Dept. of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), which aims to educate, mentor and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers. Read more