ASAP’s Local Food Research Center has a new report: The Growth and Transition of Sustainable Production Practices in WNC. The report explores changes in the growing practices of local farmers from 2008 to 2016. We find that over this time period more farmers produced food for local markets using sustainable production practices; non-certified organic was the most commonly used practice. Find out more by reading the full report.
Find out more information and register now at our Workshop and Trainings page.
What an incredible weekend! Thank you to all the farmers, volunteers, visitors, and sponsors who contributed to making this a very special Tenth Anniversary. We loved running into visitors over the weekend and hearing about your experiences! If you would like to share more stories and feedback from the tour, please take our short survey. We’ll select one survey entrant to win a free pass to next year’s Farm Tour.
A hands-on conference for practitioners, researchers, and influencers to empower the practice of healthcare to support healthy eating.
The 2018 Healthy Eating in Practice Conference will be held August 26-29, 2018, at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC, jointly provided by ASAP, Duke University World Food Policy Center, University of North Carolina Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, and MAHEC.
For more information, visit www.healthyeatinginpractice.org.
For nearly a century farming in Western North Carolina revolved around tobacco. Rows of burley tobacco were commonplace throughout the region, and for generations farmers relied on this cash crop each season. That all changed with the passage of the tobacco buyout in 2004. A new report from ASAP’s Local Food Research Center finds that the region has all but lost tobacco but local food has emerged as a promising new direction for mountain farmers.
As recently as 1992, over half of the farms in the most tobacco dependent counties of WNC reported growing tobacco. Since then nearly 4,000 farmers have had to find other crops or stop farming altogether. “Tobacco was the driving force for the culture, economy, and landscape of the region for most of the last century. It speaks to the resilience of farmers and communities that we are seeing new opportunities emerge in local food,” said Charlie Jackson, ASAP director and one of the authors of the new report.
The report, “The End of Tobacco and the Rise of Local Food in Western North Carolina,” analyzed data from the USDA’s Census of Agriculture to examine the region’s remarkable transition away from tobacco and toward food production and local sales. The findings are striking. Tobacco is no longer an important crop and in its place farmers are growing food for local markets. Though the region did experience a dramatic loss of farms with the end of tobacco, the census period just after the 2004 buyout shows the region’s farm loss leveled off with a rate far less than the state and US loss rates.