The property now referred to as the Robert Wood Woodfin Community Urban Farm was once owned by the Broome family. They were neighborly people who valued beautiful green space, and welcomed sledding, soccer games, mulberry picking, and potluck parties. When they passed away, there was concern the property would be purchased by developers eager to squeeze every penny out of the land, but the neighborhood’s worries ended when Robert Wood purchased the property in September of 2014. Already a community member, Robert prized the open green space and its potential for community gatherings and farming. He shared his vision of a community farm and gathering place with the neighbors, soliciting their input and assistance in developing an entity that could manifest this vision. As a result, the Back Forty Council formed in the fall of 2015. We are now in the process of becoming a non-profit organization.

Robert and the Back Forty Council envision a place where neighbors of all ages can gather and share food and music. An open space where bats flit, frogs croak, and kids turn over rocks to look at bugs. Where cooperative ventures like Patchwork Urban Farms can operate. Where people can learn about permaculture principles and participate in hands-on programs that help us to live lighter on the land.

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A little more history… Rutherford Platt Hayes started our little community when he moved to Asheville, North Carolina. He acquired large holdings of land, including a tract on Deaver View Mountain, and Falconhurst, a farm near the city. There he engaged in scientific farming on a large scale, using his knowledge of conservation and biology to considerable advantage. Rutherford Platt was an active promoter of the western North Carolina Fair, which was held in Asheville, and as president, guided its activities for several years.

Starting in the 1940s, Bill and Dot Broome raised their family, farmed the land, and bred horses here, while west Asheville changed from rural, to suburban, to semi-urban. Bill didn’t stop farming until he was in his 90s. From his back porch he admired the neighboring Falconhurst Community Garden, and in 2010 allowed them to expand into one of his fields. The community garden, formed in 2008, is what first brought together many of the people now engaged in this new endeavor.