Posts

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.

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

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.

Read more

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.

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

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

Black Soldier Fly Digester Build Workshop

filling-the-digester“Black Soldier Fly” — the name resonates with fear and dread, and perhaps even conjures an image of winged, facet-eyed soldiers wielding guns. In reality, black soldier flies (Hermetia illucens) are useful native critters that chew through organic remnants, helping turn organic material into compost while producing tasty treats for chickens.

The black soldier fly is a non-pest tropical and warm-temperate region insect useful for managing small and large amounts of biosolids and animal manure. They are native to this region but do not like to come indoors — so you won’t find them buzzing around the dinner table. They do not feed as adults or spread disease like other flies. Although large and potentially scary-looking, since the females can be about the size of a large wasp, they do not bite humans or livestock. After black soldier fly residue is vermicomposted, it can be used as a soil amendment. Read more

Events

Worm Moon Night Hike

Date:  Thursday, March 21st
Time:  6 pm – 8 pm
Difficulty:  Moderate (4 on a scale of 10) — 2 miles roundtrip, elevation gain: 145′
Terrain: Dirt path (very few rocks/roots), stream crossing on stepping stones
Cost: Free but registration required

Join the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy at our Community Farm, with SAHC’s very own Community Farm and Food Program Associate Chris Link. The 135-acre Community Farm provides a joint model for environmental sustainability and productive agriculture. Participants will take a brief hike around the farm’s Discovery Trail and enjoy a beautiful sunset on the ridge. While we wait for the moon to climb, Chris will share a brief lesson on nutrient cycling and vermiculture on the farm. Moonrise will occur at 7:27 pm — and  we can all wriggle around in honor of the worms whose soil is beginning to soften with the approach of Spring!

Registration for this hike has filled – to be placed on the wait list email israel@appalachian.org