In Asheville, it’s never been easier to go green while getting your greens.
Green living through local and organic shopping and support of local businesses and farmland is gaining an ever-greater foothold in Asheville. The city’s proximity to farm-rich regions in Western North Carolina means the freshest organic, local produce and foods are readily available. Spreading that access to everyone is the goal of a number of food programs focused on local and organic produce and edibles sourced from area farms and food makers. If you’d like a convenient way to simultaneously go green and bring fresh local produce into your kitchen – and in the process help others to do the same – or if you’d like to learn more about how to strengthen area farms and build a healthier Asheville community, the following programs are a perfect place to start.
Mother Earth Produce
Mother Earth Produce Delivery is a family-owned, year-round delivery service of local and organic produce and edibles sourced from area farms and food crafters. The program partners with local farms and food artisans to bring sustainable vegetables, meats, dairy, eggs, bread and pantry items to Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. Mother Earth Produce increases the reach of the farmer, and sharply curtails your need to get in the car and go to the grocery store – in other words, it makes green living easy in more ways than one.
Mother Earth Produce’s contribution to the green movement goes beyond grocery deliveries, though. Graham and Andrea DuVall, the owners of Mother Earth Produce, have been donating produce to the FEAST program since Mother Earth Produce’s inception. The weekly fresh local produce allows FEAST to serve more than 1,000 students every week, providing hands-on cooking and garden education to area children in grades K-8.
Mother Earth Produce also partners with Asheville schools to strengthen real food awareness by creating opportunities for the schools to raise funds for healthy snacks and edible education objectives. The partnership benefits students in afterschool programs by providing items like local, organic apples, peaches, carrots, pears, Roots Hummus and Happy Cow Cheese. http://mountainfoodproducts.com
ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project)
ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive and link farmers to markets and supporters. It also aims to build healthy communities where farming is valued as central to the past – and the future.
ASAP focuses on a number of areas to support its mission, including providing marketing support and training to area farmers; connecting regional chef and foodservice buyers with the farmers who match their needs; spearheading a Local Food Campaign, which includes publishing a local food guide; and running Growing Minds Farm to School Program, which focuses on reconnecting children with where their food comes from. http://asapconnections.org
Mountain Food Products
Looking for a unique way to promote local products, Mountain Food Products started a Community Supported Agriculture program with members of the Asheville community. Traditionally, a CSA is between a farmer and a customer, and produce mainly comes from that one farm. But because they were already working with a number of farmers, Mountain Food Products decided to source produce for their CSA from all around the area, providing a diverse mix of products.
Since 2011, Mountain Food Products has been partnering with area businesses to deliver these local food boxes directly to workplaces, making local food accessible to hundreds of people. The program runs from May to November, offering a wide variety of fresh local produce, a list of which farm they came from and a recipe on how to cook what’s in the box. Mountain Food’s program aims to put food dollars back into the local economy, in the process strengthening the community and keeping it resilient against changing forces in the food industry. http://mountainfoodproducts.com