Xpress reporter David Forbes is covering the commissioners' retreat for a later report, and is also tweeting highlights as they occur. The following are his tweets about the commissioners' local-farming deliberations:
• County is considering ways to aid local agriculture, including ads, seasonal "subscriptions" with local farmers.
• Less than 1% of food consumed in Buncombe is local, according to Cooperative Extension stats.
• If every WNC household spent $11 on local food, it would bring $36.5 million to the local economy; it would bring $452 million if supply were sufficient to met existing demand.
• Cooperative extension and the county are considering local hops as a possible "cash crop," given number of local breweries.
• Commissioner Holly Jones says she is "open to ways we can invest dollars" in local agriculture. "It's about sustainable living, preserving a sense of place."
• Chair David Gantt: "We don't want to tell farmers what to do, but to help them share info," tout products.
• Gantt also mentions possibility of county playing role in certifying local food.
Jones: "Buncombe one of top losers of farmland in the state over last 10 yrs. We've got to do a lot, not just one silver bullet."
The all-day meeting goes until 4 p.m., at 30 Valley St. It's open to the public.