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History Hour: The Farmer’s Federation

May 23, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Join the Asheville Museum of History Tuesday, May 23 at 6pm via Zoom for the second program in our foodways month. This event airs live and will be recorded.

James G.K McClure Jr.,, an Illinois-born Presbyterian minister and experienced livestock handler, visited Asheville on his 1916 honeymoon and quickly decided to purchase and operate Sherill’s Inn and the surrounding farm in Fairview. McClure drew heavily on the social gospel movement advocating for the poor and disadvantaged, as well as the previous attempts at farmer cooperation when he founded the Fairview Farmer’s Federation in 1920. 

McClure preached cooperation and improvement to local farmers. He attributed the poor state of WNC agriculture to inferior seed and livestock breeds, erosion, lack of fertilization, and lack of cooperation in marketing. The Federation encouraged farmers to standardize their breeds and seeds, producing “Federation potatoes” and the more-profitable Duroc-Jersey hogs. The Federation, with the investments of Cornelia Vanderbilt and E.W. Grove, was able to pay consistent dividends to stockholders while boosting the livelihoods of local farmers. 

About the Speaker:

John Ager is a former state legislator and also land manager of the Hickory Nut Gap Farm. He and his wife live in Fairview and manage the functioning Sherill’s Inn as a wedding venue. Their family has lived and operated farms in the area for five generations. John is also a co-founder of the Fairview Library and Drover’s Road Scenic Byway and the author of We Plow Gods Fields, a biography of James G. K. McClure and the History of the Farmers Federation.

Tickets: $5 for members/ $10 for General Admission. We also have no-cost, community-funded tickets available. We want our events to be accessible to as many people as possible. If you are able please consider making a donation along with your ticket purchase. These donations are placed in our Community Fund, which allows us to offer tickets at no cost to those who would not be able to attend otherwise.

Viewing: Registrants will receive a Zoom link with which to view the program. It will also be recorded and later available on our website.



May 23, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Asheville Museum of History
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