By Claire Schoenfeld
The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) hosts an annual photo competition for participants of its Farm Tours. This year’s tours took place across farms throughout Western North Carolina, including in Fairview, Hendersonville, Candler, Leicester, Marshall, Weaverville and Barnardsville.
“The annual Farm Tour hosted by ASAP in June is a unique chance to experience firsthand how food is grown and raised in WNC,” says Sarah Hart, ASAP’s communications coordinator. “Connecting directly with the region’s farmers helps us understand where our food comes from and why it’s important to support the local food movement. Photography is one of the most powerful tools to tell the stories of local food and farms, so each year ASAP holds a photo contest in conjunction with the Farm Tour.” On the tour, participants get to partake in guided or self-guided tours, demonstrations and other unique hands-on experiences on the farms.
The winners for this year’s competition were selected by ASAP’s graphic design and communications staff. For the competition, participants were invited to snap a photo that they believed captured the essence of something memorable from their tour.
“Each year we look for photos that represent a variety of perspectives and experiences on the Farm Tour,” Hart says. “We love photos that capture the personalities of the farm animals or show the details of farm life up close—not to mention, of course, the beautiful landscapes of many of the farms. There is such a diversity to farms in WNC and seeing that is a big part of the Farm Tour experience.”
The character and charm of farm animals seen on the tours were captivating subjects for two of this year’s winning entries. J. Brian Buchanan, of Atlanta, GA, found a rooster at Franny’s Farm in Leicester particularly photogenic. “The contrast of his black and white feathers with his red comb and the surrounding greenery immediately caught my eye,” Buchanan says. “He seemed none too pleased with the recent rainstorm, balancing on one leg, trying to keep dry.” It was a goat at Fairview’s Hickory Nut Gap Farm that caught Asheville resident Theresa Edwards-Capen’s eye. “There is something about photographing farm animals that brings me such joy,” she says. “From cows to chickens, and everything in between, farm animals have always captured my heart.”
Claudia Laffin, also of Asheville, found her inspiration in poppies growing at Sideways Farm and Brewery in Etowah. “I love the approach that Carrieann and Jon Schneider take to brewing their beer and farming their land,” she says. “I fell in love with the flowers on the farm so much that I joined their summer flower CSA and look forward to a beautiful bouquet every week.”
Nine-month-old Ty posed for Carly Moser’s winning photograph taken at Smoking J’s Fiery Foods and Farm in Candler. “This guy knows there’s nothing better than blue skies, healthy greens and good, tilled dirt,” says Moser, a Franklin resident.
To find out about next year’s Farm Tour and to participate in future photo contests, visit ASAPConnections.org.