Goat Mountain Ranch Sanctuary

Goat Mountain Ranch Sanctuary

Leicester, North Carolina
phone: 828-683-5709

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We began our day traveling from Asheville to Leicester to visit Goat Mountain Ranch Sanctuary. The founder, Rob Levy took us on a thorough tour/hike of the grounds before it started raining. He founded Goat Mountain in 2003 after purchasing the mountain-side property and taking in animals here and there at the request of friends and neighbors. Now over 50 residents live at the sanctuary and he has helped to find loving homes and foster families for over 600 additional animals. Rob welcomes tour groups on the weekends and has volunteers who help with animal care from time to time. He coordinated the collection of tried and true vegan recipes and has created a cookbook to help provide guidance to those new to vegan eating. When visitors come to the sanctuary Rob likes to explain the difference between a farm and a sanctuary. “A farm is a place where animals live for humans, a sanctuary is a place where animals live for themselves”.


Find their vegan cookbook here: http://www.goatmountainsanctuary.org/merchandise/



Animal Haven of Asheville

Animal Haven of Asheville

Asheville, North Carolina
phone: 828-299-1635







Our second stop was at the peaceful and idyllic Animal Haven of Asheville, where founders Barbara and Trina have been rescuing animals for 14 years. We really didn’t want to leave, as we were so warmly welcomed by so many of the animal residents (in particular, Clyde the friendly goose who enjoyed sitting in our laps). Barbara and Trina took time out of their busy schedules to give us a full tour of the 10 acres of paradise, complete with pond, peaceful stream, and dotted with mini-red barns serving as homes for most of the 100 residents. Animal Haven welcomes school groups and visitors of all kinds and also runs a well stocked thrift shop where all proceeds go to the sanctuary. If you find yourself in the Asheville area, this sanctuary is definitely worth a visit!



Chicken Rescue & Sanctuary

Chicken Rescue & Sanctuary

Union Mills, North Carolina
phone: 828-287-4549







Our first stop was a visit to Chicken Rescue and Sanctuary, run by Annamaria & Paul Bowman. Annamaria gave us a tour of the chicken yard, where they currently house over 45 chickens and roosters. The Bowmans started rescuing birds in 2009, and only recently have developed a website and began to be more public about their venture. Fed on a diet of organic poultry grain (free of hormones and pesticides) and fresh fruits and veggies, the rescues under their care each have a name and distinct personality. Among them was Robin Hood the rooster who was doing an excellent job of looking after the lady hens under his watch. All animals are unique individuals who deserve to live full lives free from unnecessary suffering. Even chickens used for eggs are eventually killed on traditional farms, and most live out their short lives confined in battery cages where they are given less than  a sheet of paper’s worth of space to occupy. Please choose a compassionate vegan lifestyle that avoids needless suffering. Need help making the transition? Contact us and check our our resources and recipes on our website under “Veganism”. 



Maple coconut granola

maple coconut granola

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This granola – it’s not for the faint of heart. It has quite a bit of oil, which gives it an icy sheen and makes the larger bits shatter between your teeth with a very satisfying crack. It’s perfect for a day-long hike, as a post-run snack, or sprinkled sparingly over yogurt for breakfast. I don’t recommend it for mindless munching, though. This is not that kind of granola. As long as you stays close to this ratio of oats : add ins : sweetener + oil, it can easily be changed to accommodate whatever’s in your pantry (or on sale in the bulk bins) without any trouble.

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3 cups rolled oats 
3/4 cup raw sliced almonds 
3/4 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds 
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut chips or flakes 
Large pinch kosher salt 
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup dried fruit, optional

Preheat the oven to 300 F/150 C degrees and position a rack in the center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, seeds and coconut and mix thoroughly. In a small saucepan, whisk the coconut oil and maple syrup over low heat until the oil has completely melted, then add to the oat mixture. Stir until everything is well coated. Spread out in an even layer on the baking sheet, then sprinkle with a generous pinch of kosher salt (no need to mix in). Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes, stirring once at the halfway mark. Upon removing the granola from the oven, stir in dried fruit, if using. Once cooled, store in an airtight container; this will keep well at room temperature for a week.

Note: My favorite fruit to add to this are dried cherries or apricots, cut into bite-sized pieces.

Prep time: 5 minutes | Oven time: 45 minutes | Yield: about 6 cups

Lemon olive oil cake



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All of these components come together to make a cake that’s dense and airy at the same time, with a tender crumb and a crunchy rind where the sugar in the batter caramelizes against the edge of the pan. This cake will slowly rise, rise, rise for the first half hour or so, until – poof! – it collapses onto itself. Fear not! It’s supposed to collapse. If you have a springform pan, it will make plating the cake a little bit easier. If you use a regular cake pan, no biggie; just use two plates. Place plate #1 on top of the cake pan, give it a quick flip, and then carefully invert it onto plate #2. If you don’t have lemons on hand, Meyer or otherwise, other citrus will do. I’ve made this cake with grapefruit, blood orange, and even clementines with success. 

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3/4 cup white spelt flour
1/2 cup whole spelt flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup plain coconut yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F / 180 C. Oil and flour an 8-inch round cake pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, almond meal, sugar, baking soda and powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, lemon zest and juice. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, being careful not to overmix. Pour the cake batter into the floured pan and smooth out the top. Place in the center of the oven and bake for about 50 minutes, until the cake forms a golden crust on top, feels springy to the touch, and the edges have pulled away from the pan. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack while still in its pan for ten minutes before transferring to a plate. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing. It tastes even better on the second day, if you manage to save a slice that long.

Prep time: 10 minutes | Oven time: 50 minutes

Chocowinity Chicken Sanctuary

Chocowinity Chicken Sanctuary

Chocowinity, North Carolina
phone: 252-946-9663






Our regional sanctuary tour ended with a visit to Chocowinity Chicken Sanctuary run by Kay and Jim Evans. They started the sanctuary in 1996 and currently house around 60 birds rescued from shelters, individual owners, and factory farms. In the past Kay was able to rescue many more birds from factory farm who were unwanted by the industry. In recent years however, these companies have limited access to Kay and other rescuers. This is because consumers have become more and more concerned about the well being of animals in these industries which has prompted the industries to propel Ag-Gag laws that block public access to factory farms. This response is a testament to the horrors that farm animals face behind closed doors. Kay introduced us to all of the residents and was very generous to share her knowledge and past experience working with these amazing animals. Chocowinity Chicken Sanctuary tables at local festivals with pictures, displays, and pamphlets illustrating the treatment of farm animals in factory farms.


After 5 days, 1,590 miles, and 7 sanctuary visits we have concluded our journey and look forward to applying what we’ve learned to our work at The Refuge. As we work to bring in our very own first rescues and continue to build our organization we hope to keep in contact and work alongside many of these fantastic farm animal advocates. 



Regional Sanctuary Tour

Piedmont Farm
Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge Chicken Rescue & Sanctuary Animal Haven of Asheville Goat Mountain Ranch Sanctuary Full Circle Farm Sanctuary PIGS Animal Sanctuary Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary United Poultry Concerns Chocowinity Chicken Sanctuary

The Refuge is being built with the help and support of an entire community, and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who has pitched in to make our work possible. In that same spirit, a group of us are embarking on a journey that seeks to further expand our community to include farm animal sanctuaries throughout our region. As we travel over the course of 5 days to visit 8 separate sanctuaries, we will be striving to learn, share and make connections that we hope will strengthen our region’s already impressive presence of farm animal advocacy. As we visit each sanctuary, we’ll publish a post about our experiences that will be linked to the corresponding barn in the above map (our travel route is clockwise in direction). We hope you’ll follow us as we travel to meet new friends and forge new relationships based in compassion towards all beings!


Jennifer, Lenore & Jordan


The Refuge Hen House building has begun!

Hard working volunteers are making it happen!

Check back for more pictures as the Refuge Hen House progresses, and sign up to help us get it done here: http://www2.signupgenius.com/go/10C0D49AAAA2EA4FF2-henhouse

Help us build the Hen House!

Because of your support we are now able to begin building our first barn, and are on track to begin rescuing chickens and turkeys in the Summer of 2014. Sign up now to be a barn raising volunteer!

No experience building is necessary – anyone and everyone can participate. Sign up, and keep checking back for more upcoming workdays at this link here.