It’s 6:30 in the morning when 24 hours of travel ends with the plane’s landing in Bolivia, but even through the grogginess it’s not hard to see that we’ve arrived somewhere far, far away from Miami. Snow-crested mountains rise over the outstretched plateau. Drivers crowd the security exit, shouting “Taxi?! Taxi?!” At 13,323 feet above sea level, the air is thin and dry, with any activity more strenuous than a walk on flat ground leaving you gasping for breath.
But the trek wasn’t over. From La Paz we were headed to a children’s home in Tacachia, a town so tiny it doesn’t even show up on Google Maps. Getting there would involve a day of altitude adjustment in La Paz, three hours in a Jeep traversing 15 miles of steep and skinny dirt roads and reconciliation with the fact that the village’s lack of running water would mean outhouses and no showers for the next four days.
By Katie Reeder • SMN Intern
No hitting, punching, elbowing or tripping people — and definitely no biting or yelling at the referees. Fourteen-year-old Autumn Pine, or “Fall Out Girl” as she’s known on the track, will quickly tell you there are rules to roller derby.
Free lunch is becoming a more common phenomenon around Western North Carolina as school systems start adopting a new federal program aiming to increase kids’ access to food in high-poverty areas.
In a woodsy neighborhood up a winding mountain road from Franklin, late May is pretty quiet — at least from a human perspective. Many of the second-home owners who live there haven’t yet moved in for the summer, and with lots spanning as many as 40 acres, things are spread pretty far apart anyway.
But the avian summer move-ins are there in force, and if you’re a bird, you’d probably say the forested neighborhood is anything but quiet. It’s full of tweets and chirps and chirrs, pretty sounds that actually mean things are a-stirring in the bird community.
By Katie Reeder • SMN Intern
Demand for locally grown food is soaring in Western North Carolina, but recruiting — and retaining — the farmers to grow the goods has been a challenge. That’s a problem a trio of farm-centric groups is hoping to address through a $100,000 grant they just landed from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.
The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Organic Growers School and Western North Carolina FarmLink are collaborating to create Farm Pathways: Access to Land, Livelihood and Learning, a new program that will mentor beginning farmers and link them with the resources they need to succeed. It’s set to begin in 2016.
Debbie Milner has a simple philosophy.
“If I won’t eat it, I won’t sell it,” she said.
Standing next to a large display case at Sentelle’s Seafood in downtown Clyde, Milner points out all of the right-off-the-boat and shipped to Southern Appalachia products her family business offers.
Sharing food can be a simple thing. Like passing a bag of trail mix to the hiking buddy who forgot to pack lunch, or ladling an extra bowl of chili for the neighbor who stopped by at dinnertime.
David Joy doesn’t look like your typical writer. Then again, Joy isn’t your typical writer.
Stepping into Innovation Brewing in Sylva last week, I bellied up to the counter, ordered a drink and looked around for the whereabouts of my interview. Conversation swirled throughout the space about the impending Wednesday night snowstorm, with a few flakes already cascading down outside the foggy windows.
History will no doubt remember Paul Carlson as one of the great visionaries of our time in Western North Carolina. As the founder and long time director of the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee retires from his leadership role, we pause to reflect on the contributions he’s made.
Few men can claim a legacy in the Southern Appalachians as deep or long-lasting as Paul Carlson’s
Greg Geiger looked at it as a way to save money.
“I started brewing when I was a sophomore in college,” he said. “Honestly, I was a poor college student and making beer was much cheaper than buying it back then.”
Head brewer at Nantahala Brewing Company in Bryson City, Geiger’s initial interest in craft beer has molded itself into a bountiful and ever-emerging career, with several of his brews winning numerous awards at prestigious competitions.