Press Release: For Immediate Release
February 22, 2013

Western North Carolina, a hotbed of local food, invites community leaders to join a Local Food Culture Immersion: Ashevillage Institute, a non-profit dedicated to sustainable solutions in action, is offering an immersive learning experience in one of the country’s capitals of the local food movement – Asheville, NC.

Asheville is widely recognized as one of the United State’s local food hotspots. It is the first Green Dining Destination in the country, with 16 green certified restaurants; the first Bee City USA; and the #1 Beer City. We have more than eighty farmers markets throughout the region.  Blue Ridge Food Ventures and others incubate vertical integration of locally grown whole foods into value added products. The Chamber of Commerce refers to the area as a Foodtopian Society. But what makes one town’s efforts to honor and grow its food culture so successful? How are other communities establishing their own local food culture? How can the pioneers of these movements work together to support communities across the country to do the same? The Local Food Culture Immersion will share Asheville’s wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm, success, and abundance with community leaders from other towns and cities. The goal is to cross-pollinate what’s working, and inspire participants to proliferate their own local food initiatives back home.

The Immersion will be comprised of field trips and tours, community panels, presentations, hands-on workshops, peer project reviews, strategic visioning sessions and, of course, plenty of feasting! The experience will be taught by a consortium of local “movers n’ shakers” in all things food and farming. Unique in its delivery and collaborative approach, this Immersion is stated to be a one-of-a-kind experience, focusing on value to community leaders hoping to establish or further their own vibrant local food culture.

The immersion will run twice in 2013: July 5 – 14 and September 13 – 22.

Each Immersion is limited to 14 participants for an intimate and personalized learning experience. Interested persons are encouraged to apply with one or two other leaders from their community, and have a food-related project to work on together following the Immersion. Participants will stay at the Ashevillage Sanctuary: Downtown’s EcoSweet Retreat, a premier one-acre, eco-urban demonstration site, residence, guesthouse and living-learning laboratory in downtown Asheville. A selection of delicious, local organic meals will be offered throughout the Immersion. Participants will leave well-fed, inspired, knowledgeable and ready to further their own local food culture.

For further information on Ashevillage Institute please visit: www.ashevillage.org. Follow us on Twitter @Ashevillage. Join the Facebook group. For inquiries or photos about the Local Food Culture Immersion contact: Kristin Peppel, Kristin@ashevillage.org

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