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Regional Collaboration Showcases Agriculture in Western North Carolina

A collaborative initiative launched by Buncombe County Farmland Preservation has made it possible for several smaller WNC counties to showcase agriculture in their communities.

Soon after Buncombe County joined the Visit NC Farms App in the summer of 2021, Farmland Preservation Program Manager Ariel Zijp began to look for a way for smaller, surrounding counties to benefit from the mobile app’s impact. “The City of Asheville’s local foodshed extends well beyond County lines into the entire WNC region,” notes Zijp. To showcase how interconnected and important our agriculture community is Zijp reached out to surrounding counties to collaborate on a regional approach to enable them to join the Visit NC Farms App. “Our neighboring counties were familiar with the App, but initially faced challenges in joining and highlighting agriculture in their communities. We were able to use our resources and success with the App to build partnerships and enable five new counties join the App,” said Zijp.

Haywood, Madison, Mitchell, Jackson, and Swain counties will all be able to feature their agribusinesses via the Visit NC Farms App. Henderson County will soon be joining as well, independent of the regional approach, completing WNC’s representation. "Ariel's initiative to work with several of our surrounding counties on a regional approach to the Visit NC Farms program is exactly the type of cross-county collaboration that benefits the people and farms of Western North Carolina," said Buncombe County Commissioner Terri Wells.

Visit NC Farms App, developed by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS), provides a consolidated list of agribusinesses and farms in the County along with the products and services that they offer. In addition to promoting farms and farmers markets in Buncombe County, the App aims to increase agricultural viability by providing a platform for businesses that may not traditionally be considered a part of the Agricultural community. Visit NC Farms App benefits tourism, connects locals to healthier food options, and connects residents and visitors to the beautiful rural landscape in WNC.

To learn more about our local ag community and scene, download the app today.

For more information on the program contact: 

Ariel Zijp

Farmland Preservation Manager

Buncombe Soil and Water Conservation District

Ariel.zijp@buncombecounty.org

828-250-4794