Local produce on display at the North Carolina Mountain State Fair include these giant watermelons. Photo by Kathleen O. Davis.

From Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, shared Sept. 7:

Local produce on display at the North Carolina Mountain State Fair include these giant watermelons. Photo by Kathleen O. Davis.

ASHEVILLE —At this year’s (North Carolina) Mountain State Fair (September 9-18), attendees can ride rides, play games, stroll through displays, and go down in history.

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) is a proud sponsor of this year’s event, themed “Farm Fresh Fun.” ASAP will collect and record local food and farming stories at their exhibit to pass onto future generations.

“The NC Mountain State Fair has a long tradition of connecting us to our agricultural heritage—through livestock showing and sales, produce and canning judging, and more,” says Peter Marks, program director at ASAP.

“It’s the perfect place for visitors to talk about their home gardens, their own farms or their family farm, and their food preservation methods. Telling these stories will not only continue but strengthen that important connection to WNC’s rich farming history.”

Visitors to ASAP’s booth will have the opportunity to write stories and memories to share with passersby, or they can choose to participate in a brief recorded interview with members of the Appalachian Food Storybank (AFS), a program of Slow Food Asheville, who are trained in recording and preserving oral histories. AFS’ main goal is to provide a way for folks to record their food stories for their children and grandchildren, as well as highlight the unique lifeways, history, and culture of Appalachia.

Recorded stories will one day find a home in the Library of Congress and will be used locally for educational purposes. Written stories will be archived on ASAP’s new community website FromHere.org. Their fair booth is an extension of the new site, which launches during the event. Its goal is to create an ongoing conversation about local food from here in the Southern Appalachians.

The booth will also offer opportunities for visitors to find a farmers tailgate market in their neighborhood, make seed tapes with their children to plant at home, and learn more about ASAP. Get a sneak peak of stories as they’re being shared by following ASAP on Facebook (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) and Twitter (@asapconnections) throughout the 10-day event.

About Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project

ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282. Browse their online Local Food Guide at buyappalachian.org.

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Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Wmforo.

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