Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project

The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, or more easier said as ASAP, has had a long a fruitful (pun intended, sorry) legacy within Western North Carolina. It is a 501 (c)(3) non profit organization serving this region through building bridges for local farm fresh product to the table. That may be a table at my home or in one of our great local restaurants.

Allow me to reprint some information from the ASAP website that explains who they are and what they do for us:

ASAP helps create and expand local food markets that will preserve our agricultural heritage, give everyone access to fresh, healthy food, and keep our farmers farming. Our mission is to collaboratively create and expand regional community based and integrated food systems that are locally owned and controlled, environmentally sound, economically viable, and health-promoting.

ASAP Vision
A future food system throughout the mountains of North Carolina and the Southern Appalachians that provides a safe and nutritious food supply for all segments of society; that is produced, marketed and distributed in a manner that enhances human and environmental health; and that adds economic and social value to rural and urban communities.

Why Buy Local
Locally grown and raised foods allow you to:

Eat fresher, better tasting, and healthier food
Help your farming neighbors stay in business
Sustain our rural heritage
Protect the natural beauty of the mountains by preserving farmland.
Encourage sustainable, environmentally-friendly agricultural practices.
Strengthen the local economy.

Well, that explains the jest of the organization. But they do so much more.

ASAP provides leadership and education to farmers, restaurateurs, locals and anyone who will listen on the benefits of using local products and how to get them from the farm to the table. They touch on every aspect ensuring that we have a local source of vibrant farms producing fresh healthy food in our own back yard.

From the Asheville City Market and the Mountain Tailgate Markets to forums and conferences to resources to make farmers better business people to promoting local restaurants that use local farm products; there is an entire arsenal used by ASAP in order to make the active local food scene in Asheville the creative dynasty that it is. Many of us take for granted the vast array of opportunities we have in Western North Carolina to source fresh local products. It took years of hard work from a huge list of folks to make this happen so easily for us today.

Take advantage of what we have in town. Here are the resources you need:

Use the ASAP website
Pick up the ASAP Food Guide
Visit a local market
Eat at a local restaurant that uses local farms

. . . enjoy the bounty of the Appalachian Mountains!

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