Food Lifestyle

Asheville’s Southside Community Farm Seeks to Create Food Sovereignty

Photo by James Moore

By Bellamy Crawford

In 2007, 500 delegates from five continents came together at the World Forum for Food Sovereignty in Mali. It was there that food sovereignty was defined as “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods.” The definition goes on to include the idea that people have the right to define and produce their own food and agriculture systems, placing their aspirations and needs before the demands of markets and corporations.

Photo by Kate Wheeler

Food sovereignty has always been important to Asheville’s Southside Community Farm (SCF). “Asheville’s Southside neighborhood, home to nearly 50 percent of Asheville’s public housing, including Erskine, Walton Street and Livingston Heights, exists in food apartheid, a system of economic and racial segregation that prevents this historically Black community from accessing the same level of nutrition available to wealthier, predominantly white Asheville neighborhoods,” says Chloe Moore, SCF farm manager.

Because there are no longer grocery stores in Southside in the aftermath of urban renewal, SCF offers the community an alternative route to access fresh foods. “Our mission is not only to feed people but to co-create a web of food sovereignty in which community members have tangible power over their local food system,” says Moore. “This includes creating and supporting avenues of education, climate resilience, food access, seed sovereignty and small-scale economic viability. While the history of Southside can be viewed through a lens of oppression and tragedy, we believe in celebrating the resilience of our people through abundance, connection and the healing power of good food.”

Photo by Chloe Moore

Founded in 2014, SCF exists on a .36-acre urban plot used to sustainably grow a variety of organic vegetables, fruits and herbs based in traditional African and American knowledge. The farm consists of row crops, raised beds, fruit trees, a pavilion meeting space, a seed library as a way to support neighborhood home gardens and a water-saving rain garden. This year, SCF will be working to expand its free grocery program to include an outdoor fridge and pantry space that will offer staple foods from the farm along with produce from other local, BIPOC producers.

In its eighth growing season, the farm now features a .1-acre apple orchard that will soon incorporate the beginnings of a food forest including berries, culinary herbs and medicinal plants. SCF is currently fundraising to purchase tools, supplies, plant starts and program support. “With additional funding, we will be able to offer workshops and free herbal medicine distribution,” Moore says. “It’s important that we celebrate the legacy of African American folk traditions by growing medicinal plants. We want to focus on the health needs of community, including immune support, eldercare, childcare, nervous system support and basic first aid.”

A successful fundraiser for SCF means more climate resilience and support for local BIPOC vendors at SCF’s monthly farmers market.

Southside Community Farm is located at 133 Livingston Street in Asheville. To learn more about donating to the farm, volunteering or visiting SCF’s monthly farmer’s market, see

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