Days 251-254: NC Pt II: the motherload that is Asheville

Going in, we knew that Asheville, NC, would be a hotbed for environmentalism, and we were not disappointed. We were welcomed into the elegant mountaintop home of our new friends, Stephen and Suzie, and were immediately taken under the wings of two of the most sustainable people I have ever met, Bob and Isabel. Here is one of Bob’s amazing sandals that he has been wearing and repairing for the last 5 yrs, made from spare tires and seat belts…

Isabel set up an evening party for YERT at Pearson Drive Garden, one of three community gardens featured in Asheville’s Bountiful Cities Project. It was a really nice potluck, we got to meet a bunch of sweet folks, showed some videos, shared stories and heard what locals are doing. We even had a sign language interpreter there with some deaf people, who suggested that we consider finding a sponsor for ‘CLOSED CAPTIONING for the hearing impaired’ on our videos – something I personally had not thought of before and which we would love to offer.

Isabel drove us to Earthaven – self described as “an aspiring ecovillage in a mountain forest setting near Asheville…dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living, and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture.” We were shown the ropes by Isabel’s teacher and revered permaculturist, Patricia Allison. Both women pointed out that what may look like a garbage dump to the untrained eye, piles of paper and cardboard lying about the garden in seemingly haphazard fashion, is actually nourishing the ground, creating rich new soil. Compostable outdoor toilets have a separate section for PEE!, which is then collected, diluted and used to further fertilize the improving soil. Like The Farm in Summertown, TN, this intentional community is an example of attempting to live sustainably in community….

Another example is the Ash Village Institute, in Asheville city limits. (Isabel also brought us here!) We met Janell Kapoor, another student of Permaculture and tasted several of her many flavors of meade – a naturally fermented honey wine – (ok, I didn’t) before hearing all about Kleiwerks, her natural building website, and getting a tour of their demonstration house, refinished completely naturally. We were inspired to hear how the neighborhoods are taking to their totally green neighbors!

The last things we were treated to by our amazing Bob and Isabel were 1. the totally cool grocery selling all surplus organic stuff at very affordable prices, 2. REAL dumpster diving!! which is mainly hitting grocery dumpsters for perfectly good food being tossed in the dumpster, while it is still clan and edible… and 3. the biggest Goodwill store I have ever seen…it has a huge back section where clothing is sold $1.10 per pound. That is where Ben stepped on the scale for fun and stepped right off again when he realized how much sympathy weight he has gained since my pregnancy…

We can also look forward to video with Professor Andrew Jones. I slept through the entire thing on his couch and cannot comment except that he is an exceptional host who knows how to treat a pregnant lady (feed her bread…Thank you, Andrew!) and that his son is very honest. When I told him I was growing a baby, he said, “Is that why you’re so big?” Yes. Yes, it is. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Days 251-254: NC Pt II: the motherload that is Asheville

  1. HEY!
    This is Katy. I was interviewed in Asheville, NC. I just wanted to say how much fun I had talking to you guys. Julie, I wish I could’ve gotten to meet you. Good luck with everything!

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