Coggins Farm Sovereign Oaks Asheville

Update on the sale of Coggins Farm and Direction of the CCP

Greetings Friends & Supporters,

It’s been confirmed that the sale of the 169 acre Coggins Farm property has officially closed by developer, David Case of Case Enterprises on Monday, June 22nd. Case Enterprises received approval this February from the Buncombe County Planning Board to develop a private 99-lot subdivision on the property. Originally naming the subdivision, “Coggins Farm – Asheville Mountain Community”, the development has now been renamed “Sovereign Oaks – Asheville Mountain Community”.

Phase 1 of the Sovereign Oaks subdivision on Coggins Farm is now in process, which is development of about 40 private lots on 1/3 of the property. There are additional proposed phases of development that bring the total amount of private lots to 99.

It’s a disappointment that Coggins Farm is being developed in a way that isn’t in the spirit of the original development concept for the property. We had hoped to maintain the property primarily as a place for agriculture and as a public resource, but we would like to keep the communication lines open and explore the possibility of continuing those ideas. We are incredibly grateful for the support and for the hundreds of individuals and businesses that stepped up to share their voice in this matter and sign our Endorsement Letter, as well as submit personalized letters.

Through the Coggins Conservation Project website and our growing support system, we remain committed to being a resource and information center for farmland and open space in WNC that’s transitioning hands and in need of protection efforts. We are also excited to explore the concept of New Ruralism and how incorporating it into existing land sites can benefit our community and the surrounding Asheville area as it continues to grow in population.

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. we find it to be very aligned with our project’s long-term goals. The written piece titled “A Call for New Ruralism” by Sibella Kraus offers more insight on the concept.

“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.”

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support throughout the year as we explored and identified ways that Coggins Farm could continue to sustain and enrich the lives of our community and local food systems. As we continue to see landowners and farmers reaching retirement age and in need of transitioning ownership of their land, it’s imperative that we come together to identify and offer viable routes that continue to preserve the fertile agriculture production, natural habitats, heritage, and rural nature of this region.

recycling plant

Controversy over Proposed Recycling Plant near Enka

What are your thoughts on the proposed state-of-the-art regional Recycling Plant on 53 acre tract of land on Pond Road near Enka?

The site of the proposed facility is within the Employment District zoning, which allows for offices, industry, storage, warehousing and wholesale trade, but neighbors are distraught about the potential increase traffic, obstruction of natural view, and altering of the rural nature in this area.

On the other hand, this proposed recycling plant, Regional Recycling Solutions, is based on European waste management standards, with the goal of bringing cleaner practices to this side of the country and inspired by the Zero-Waste initiatives in Europe. It’s a service that needs greater attention in Asheville, especially as it continues to grow and generate more waste.

Read more about this topic here:

New Ruralism Coggins Conservation Project

NEW RURALISM…have you heard of it?

The concept of New Ruralism is very aligned with the Coggins Conservation Project’s long-term goals in the southeast region and Appalachia. Read “A Call for New Ruralism” by Sibella Kraus in the link below to learn more. Sibella Kraus is the Project Director, Institute of Urban & Regional Development New Ruralism Initiative, and the President of Sustainable Agriculture Education.

“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.”

Mountain Xpress - Weaverville Residents Concerns

Weaverville Residents Voice Concerns about Subdivision Development

Subdivisions overtaking open space and farmland is an unfortunate theme that’s affecting our region, especially around the city of Asheville. It’s no longer a question of IF we will grow…it’s a question of HOW we will grow.

Weaverville residents are voicing their concerns over a 65 acre piece of land in the neighborhood, which a developer is proposing a 140-unit subdivision. As landowners and farmers are reaching retirement age, many find themselves with few viable options for transitioning their land ownership. How can we aid this process so that working farms and open space continue to support our local food systems, education, rural character, and native wildlife + plant habitats?

The Mountain Xpress recently published an article about this local issue affecting the Weaverville area. The full article can be found here:

Coggins Farm Conservation Asheville

Visioning Day May 16th!

Join the Visioning Day at Coggins Farm Saturday, May 16th!  A fun day to learn more about the conservation-based model for sustainable growth around our city.  Come on out for guided tours of what the Coggins Conservation Project would look like in action and gather with others who are passionate about preserving farmland and open space in our community.  Share on FaceBook Here.

This model provides an alternative to the private subdivision slated for the land. The struggle to save Coggins Farm is happening now. Our community is coming together with a clear alternative vision, anchored by the values we want to see carried to the next generation in these mountains.

We’re taking a strong stand now, as a community, to set the stage for our collective future.

Tours start at 11 am, 2pm and 5pm. We’ll have T-Shirts available for participants! Bring a picnic, join the fun, and pow-wow about amping up the movement to preserve farmland and open space in WNC!


Presentation of the Alternative Conservation Plan for Coggins Farm: MAY 7th

Coggins Conservation Project will provide a formal presentation of its business model to the community at large on May 7, 2015, 7pm at 67 Biltmore Avenue (previously Laurey’s) in downtown Asheville. This event is free and open to the public.


Coggins Conservation Project (CCP) announces its new ruralism business model as an alternate exit strategy for retiring farmers. The CCP is attempting to assume the current developer’s contract on the Coggins Farm™ property in East Asheville and aims to establish a center for sustainable agriculture and farmland preservation. Currently in the region, career farmers have had few retirement options. In the past 10 years, open land and farms in Western NC have given way to suburban sprawl. As a result, an increasing number of rural communities on the edges of cities have lost their biodiverse habitats and land used for local food production. The co-founders of CCP have developed a business model to incorporate some suburban-rural population growth while maintaining necessary space for sustainable agriculture and conservation of natural habitat. The goal is to establish a model site on Coggins Farm™ just outside of Asheville, NC and then aid other communities throughout Southern Appalachia and beyond.

“Conserving open space in perpetuity has been a driving mission for the CCP,” says Nesta Kennedy, co-founder. “The project was born from our desire to preserve one of the last large pieces of open farmland on the outskirts of the city. As we’ve seen support rally around this concept, it’s grown into something more: we want Asheville to be a mecca for new, sustainable ways of living. What better way than to create a solid, thriving model for alternative growth in our rural communities?”

The CCP new ruralism model aims to recognize the needs of the individual farmer while maintaining dynamic agri-diversity in the region and support for active farms that contribute to the growth of the economy.

As Ron Ainspan, owner of Mountain Food Products, puts it, “Our region has been instrumental in developing and nurturing local food chains. We see the conservation initiative for the Coggins property as further inspiration for that effort. At the same time, we live in an area experiencing population growth. An approach which integrates a small residential component accommodates the population demand while not crowding out the agricultural contribution or the rural character”.

Please visit our website at


Sustainable Food in Urban Communities

We came across a really inspiring project that recently took place across Europe, which captured valuable data and developed resources that support the development of localized food systems in urban communities.

From May 2012- April 2015, the URBACT Thematic Network “Sustainable Food in Urban Communities”, ran a project involving 10 European cities that wish to grow, deliver and enjoy more sustainable food. One of the missions is to identify joint, effective, and sustainable solutions to develop low-carbon and resource-efficient urban food systems.

Through their research and hands-on approach, they felt it necessary to target urban communities, which will be greatly affected by a growing food demand and a current food system that won’t properly support it, which lead to environmental impacts and social inequity in terms of access to balanced and affordable nutritious food to city residents.

They found that more than 50% of the world population lives in cities and by 2050, that number will reach more than 80%. Meanwhile, per capita calorie consumption in the EU27 exceeds daily requirements by 36% since the early 1990s.

They also noted that the urban population tends to be out of touch with agricultural production, and the city food culture increasingly moves towards fast food, processed foods, distributed by large centralized supermarket chains that are not rooted in the life of city neighborhoods. Many consumers, especially, those with low incomes, eat too little fruit and vegetables because of the cost, but also because it is not part of their culture and habits.

The URBACT Thematic Network “Sustainable Food in Urban Communities” developed a Handbook in effort to share their experience and provide practical approaches and examples that cities can take to support and implement a more sustainable and localized food system for their residents.

The aim of this handbook is to share the key lessons learnt during the three years of exchanges and experiences of the network; to make it available to other cities and stimulate them to start a similar journey towards a more sustainable and localized food system. It is our hope that we can inspire other cities to put food on their agenda and that cities across the world will make concrete changes that jointly generate positive impacts and drive sustainable food system reform.



Purpose of this handbook
Who should read this handbook?

1. Background
– The Project and the Partners
- Finding a way to view the urban food system and sustainability
- Finding a pragmatic approach to low carbon and resource efficiency
- Finding an action-focused framework for sustainable food in cities

2. What can cities do?
– Getting started – Some tools to assess the local food situation

3. Sustainable food-related entrepreneurship
– Growing in the city
- Urban food businesses
- New shopping scenes
- Some entrepreneurship enhancing tools

4. Food literacy and resilience
– Re-engaging the population with food
- Ensuring a food education and a positive canteen experience
- Reducing food poverty among the low-income population
- Some community building tools

5. Food governance and the city agenda
– Emerging food-oriented city leadership
– Food-oriented urban development
- City food identity and labels
- Some governance- questioning tools

References – Useful links – Acknowledgements

Download the Handbook

Read more about the project here