Our Focus

WNC Communities has three primary focuses:

Agriculture & Sustainable Economic Development

WNC Communities supports economic development by continuing a tradition of collaborating with a wide variety of organizations and agencies including the leaders of the agriculture community, to bring regional and state strategies to the community level.

WNC Communities works with a wide variety of regional partners to design and implement community-based strategies around sustainable economic development options for communities and agriculture. Community efforts center on projects to develop sustainable economic options around tourism, agricultural products, crafts, media arts, retirement and technology.

Rural Communities

The WNC Honors Program has been celebrating community achievement for over 60 years by recognizing, honoring and rewarding communities across Western North Carolina. The WNC Honors Awards Program serves in a research and demonstration capacity in that it allows WNC Communities to review community best practices, through programs, projects, collaborative efforts, initiatives, etc.

The process for registration and application into the WNC Honors Awards Program involves a self-examination of communities by their respective leaders.  This self-examination, following the guidelines of numerous application questions devised by a Committee of the Board and is submitted with supporting materials to WNC Communities to go through a judging process.  Through this process, “best practice” communities are determined and awarded as a Community of Distinction, Community of Promise or Participating Community.


WNC Communities created Regional, Agricultural and Community Assemblies that provide organizations and communities with a means of identifying common issues, exchanging best practices and collaborating to resolve shared difficulties.

This process offers the best hope for building consensus by connecting community representatives with regional and state officials and elected representatives who are eager to understand and address community issues.

The Regional Assembly began in March 2005 and consists of leaders across the mountain region.