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Food, Farm & Market

Here’s a more literally “juicy” section that contains information especially about foods produced in our region, foods with enhanced freshness and nutritional value. You’ll find offerings about what’s going on with the local food industry in the WNC mountains.
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project     Slow Food Asheville     Asheville Independent Restaurants     Foodtopia Asheville   

OrganicGrowersLogo 1

*WHAT’S UP: WNC Organic Growers Upcoming Events and Programs – Spring Conference

Organic Growers School is the premiere provider of practical and affordable organic education in the Southern Appalachians, building a vibrant food & farming community by boosting the success of organic home growers and farmers in our region. Our hands-on training, workshops, conferences and partnerships inspire, educate, and support people to farm, garden, and live organically.

MountainTrue Farming Map

USE OUR MAP to Support Local Sustainable Farmers Near You and Madison BioBlitz!

Protect Our Rivers By Supporting Sustainable Farms

Many small farms in our mountain region have lost business due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, large-scale meat operations in North Carolina are one of the leading contributors to water pollution in the state. Buying from sustainable local farms now is a way to not only feed your family but to protect our environment.

We’ve compiled a map of farms in our region that feed us while using practices that support healthy rivers, lakes and streams. Check out the map to find sustainable farms in your local watershed, and sign the pledge to support sustainable farms here.


What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Eating Meat

By Grant Stoddard in Eat This, Not That!

Whether you like it or not, you can’t change the facts: Our country is about to face a serious meat shortage. Between meat processing plants shutting down and grocery stores limiting the amount of meat you can buy, there’s definitely a strain on an important facet of the food supply chain. Even Wendy’s is limiting the burgers they sell! However, while meat may be in short supply, did you ever think about what would happen to your body if you stop eating meat? CLICK TO CONTINUE


Create a Garden Anywhere with Straw Bales

Create a Garden Anywhere with Straw Bales
By Melinda Myers

Add productive garden space and raise your planting bed with straw bale gardening. This technique allows gardeners to create raised bed gardens on a patio, lawn or any area with poor compacted soil. Straw bale gardening has been around for centuries, but thanks to Joel Karsten’s book “Straw Bale Gardens” it has gained new popularity.

Elevated gardens allow gardeners to easily plant herbs, vegetables and flowers anywhere.

Extend the Harvest this Season

Didn’t get enough gardening in this season? Don’t worry there is still time to grow garden-fresh vegetables and herbs this fall and winter.

Purchase transplants and seeds that will grow and flourish in the cooler fall and winter temperatures. Lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, root vegetables, edible pansies and calendula as well as cole crops, like broccoli, are a few to consider.


ASAP: Winter Farmers’ Markets

Bundle up! With pandemic precaution still critical, winter farmers tailgate markets are mostly staying outdoors (or partially indoors with ample airflow). Though there are fewer of these markets, you can still find a solid mix of seasonal fruits and veggies. Expect to see plenty of storage crops, like sweet potatoes, potatoes, apples, winter squash, turnips, beets, and carrots. Some farms make use of greenhouses or high tunnels to continue producing salad mixes, lettuces, and dark, leafy greens throughout the colder months. Meats, eggs, cheeses, bread, and artisan foods are also widely available.


ASAP’s Farmers Markets Report

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project

ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. 

There are more than 100 farmers markets (also called tailgate markets) across the Appalachian Grown region. In addition to providing support for all of these markets, ASAP manages Asheville City Market, which was established in 2009 as a learning lab to pilot new programs and provide more opportunities for farmers, particularly those unable to access existing market options.


Women Trainers Lead the Way in Sustainable Agriculture

Development experts believe gender equity will be critical to global food security in the coming decades, as the world’s farmers struggle to produce food for a rapidly growing population on a shrinking area of arable land. In Latin America, one in five farmworkers is a woman, and in East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, half of all agricultural laborers are women. Yet despite being just as skilled as their male counterparts, women in developing countries have less access to resources (such as credit), and therefore lower crop yields.

Crop Performance in Farming Systems Trial at Rodale Institute

In its 35th year of existence, the Farming Systems Trial (FST) at Rodale Institute continues to demonstrate, through scientific research data, that organic farming is superior to conventional systems with regard to building, maintaining and replenishing the health of the soil. This is the key to regenerative agriculture as it provides the foundation for its present and future growth.
FST is America’s longest running, side-by-side comparison of organic and chemical agriculture. It was established in 1981 to study what happens to soil health and agricultural productivity when transitioning from conventional to organic agriculture. Organic agriculture practices result in higher soil organic matter (SOM) contents and, in turn, higher nutrient- and water-supplying potential to crops. Read full report!

Recipe: Marian’s Chocolate Pie

My mother and my sister, who was like a mother to me in the early years of my life, were both wonderful cooks and were especially talented at making delicious, tempting sweets that would curl any sweet tooth. I am sharing this particular recipe in honor of my sister who recently left this world of existence. I will share other recipes in the future that belong to my mother, my sister, and/or me.

This is the best chocolate pie I have ever eaten. In fact, once you eat a piece of this pie, the taste of all other chocolate pies will pale in comparison, to the point that you may opt out of eating a piece of any other chocolate pie. All of this is to say, be careful if you choose to prepare and eat a piece of this pie because it may well spoil all others for you. Caution — my mother and my sister both measured amounts by eye and hand, seldom by measuring spoon or cup. When it says an amount below it means heaping, e.g. 1 Tab. is 1 heaping tablespoon.

Mix together in a 4 quart pan:

1 cup sugar
4 Tabs. cocoa and add 2 cups pet milk*
2 Tabs. flour 1 tsp. salt

Mix the above together thoroughly, then begin heating the mixture, stirring to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Better yet, use a double boiler for cooking.

Once the pan mixture has warmed, put 3 egg yolks (save the egg whites for the meringue) in a dish and lightly whip them; then gradually add several spoonfuls of the above warmed mixture and mix well with the yolks. Then add the dish mixture to the pan mixture very gradually, stirring constantly in order to keep the mixture from clumping (you have to be very vigilant with this and even then you may get some clumps). Cook until it bubbles, then quickly add 1 large Tab. butter and 1 tsp. vanilla; stir in, and then pour into a baked, slightly browned pie shell.

Take the 3 saved egg whites and beat until they peak when you spoon at it; add 1 cup sugar (or Splenda) and, if desired ¼ tsp. cream of tartar. Ice the top of the pie with this meringue mixture and brown lightly in a 425 degree F. oven.

Save the cooking pan for someone to “lick.” As kids we would lick the pan so clean that it almost didn’t need to be washed!

*You can substitute fat free or 2% milk, but it is not nearly as good.

As for the pie shell, the best pie shell is a homemade pie shell, but the ones from the grocery store will do. Home made pie shells are best because you can make them very short, flaky and tender (yum, yum). Here is a recipe for such a pie shell:

Mix together:
2 cups un-sifted flour or 2 ½ cups sifted flour
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup cold water
2/3 cup Crisco or those healthier substitutes that are now available

You can cut in the Crisco using 2 knives or mix with a pastry blender.

You may want to chill the dough for 10 to 15 minutes; it is so short that it is a little hard to work with, so chilling helps sometimes.

Roll out on a floured surface and fit into the pie pan. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Start crust out at 425 then within 3 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. and bake until lightly browned; this allows the crust to set and then be browned.


Welcome to the Organic Growers School Conference Library

Each year, we host over 70 classes and hands on workshops for anyone and everyone with a stake in the local food movement. There are so many classes to choose from that you rarely get to see everything you want. Many of our speakers are kind enough to provide their powerpoints or handouts to be included in our Spring Conference Library. Scroll down to find topics, and click on the class title to download items from that class. Click here for the OGS Library

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