Plant Lore

Karen Taylor

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Lesa Postell

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Eve Miranda

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Ila Hatter

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Doug Elliott

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Lesa Postell

Heritage skills demonstrator

Sylva, NC (Jackson County)

Lesa Postell remembers that during her childhood in Jackson County, "Everything was done as a family. We raised food as a family, we ate as a family, we worked as a family." The traditional arts and homemaking skills that Postell carries on today were learned in this manner. "It was part of life," she says. "I grew up seeing and experiencing it." Her family has deep roots in the Smoky Mountains. Her mother's family are from the Cataloochee section of Haywood County, and fanned out in the Maggie Valley-Waynesville area when the National Park Service acquired Cataloochee.

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Karen Taylor


Robbinsville, NC (Graham County)

Karen Taylor's deep knowledge of the flora of Western North Carolina comes from a lifetime of experience and learning. Growing up in Graham County, Taylor first learned about traditional row-crop farming from her parents, who worked a family farm in their native Smoky Mountains. In the 1960s, the family left farming to open a greenhouse, which is still in operation today.

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Hillcrest Apple Orchard

Apple growers

Hendersonville, NC (Henderson County)

Forty years ago, Henderson County general store owner J. H. Stepp decided to leave the mercantile trade in his small hometown of Dana, and try his hand at the apple business. He purchased a cousin's orchard near Hendersonville, and three generations of the Stepp family—J. H. and his wife Yvonne, Yvonne's mother Mrs. Mann, and children Sonya, Joby, and Mike—set to work tending the orchard, picking apples, and, until they built the first apple house, selling them out of the back of their car.

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David Burnette

Heritage agriculture and forestry demonstrator, blacksmith, banjo player

Canton, NC (Haywood County)

Growing up in Haywood County, David Burnette was drawn to the old ways that he learned from elders in his community. His father, Albert Burnette, was a generation older than most of his friends' fathers, so the stories he heard and the skills he learned dated to a time around the turn of the century when, as David says, "If you wanted something, you either made it or you did without." He absorbed old stories and sayings while spending "lots of nights on different mountaintops, foxhunting" with his father and his father's friends.

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Appalachian Homestead Farm and Preserve

Heritage agriculture and arts educators

Cullowhee, NC (Jackson County)

Appalachian Homestead Farm and Preserve (AAHP) is a nonprofit cultural organization that preserves the 19th-century Bennett family farmstead in Jackson County. The organization hosts day-long and multi-day summer camps in which children learn about mountain agriculture and livestock, traditional music and stories, and traditional cooking and preserves. It also hosts annual Save the Farms forums, in which landowners are educated about ways that they can preserve their farmland through conservation and land trusts.

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