The Coggins Conservation Project formed on Earth Day 2014 by descendants of the Coggins family, who established Coggins Farm in 1789. As a community-centered organization, the CCP took on the cause of protecting farmland and open space in the Southeast/Appalachian region. The group’s initial focus was on Coggins Farm™, a 169 acre century farm, 7 miles from downtown Asheville, that was slate for a subdivision development. They worked diligently to propose an alternative plan to the 99-lot subdivision that developer, Case Enterprises, and real estate agency, TFM Carolina, Inc., proposed for the entire 169 acres. The plan focuses on local food production, land preservation and creating small-footprint, permaculture communities.

Despite our efforts, the developer officially closed on the sale of Coggins Farm on June 22, 2015. The subdivision has renamed itself Sovereign Oaks. It became apparent through our research and development that famers and land owners who are reaching retirement age in this region have very few options when needing to transition ownership of their land. Often fertile land and open space falls into the hands of a developer because they can deliver with retirement funds.

The CCP remains committed to being a resource and information center for farmland and open space protection in WNC. We’re also exploring the concept, New Ruralism, and how it can benefit our community and the surrounding Asheville area as it continues to grow in population.

“New Ruralism is a framework for creating a bridge between Sustainable Agriculture and New Urbanism. Sustainable agriculture can help bring cities down to earth, to a deeper commitment to the ecology and economy of the surrounding countryside on which they depend. New Ruralism embraces the power of place-making that can help American agriculture move from an artificially narrow production focus to encompass broader resource preservation values.” -Sibella Kraus

The Coggins Conservation Project hopes to work with developers, land owners, and retiring farmers in identifying viable business plans, programming, and financial structures for available land and continue to promote New Ruralism in Western North Carolina.