Allegheny Mountain Institute Holds Summer Open House and Introduces Farm Stay Program


Now in its seventh year, the Allegheny Mountain Institute continues on with its mission to cultivate healthy communities through food and education. An opportunity for folks to visit the AMI Mountain Farm campus in Highland County is fast approaching, and Education Director, Jessa Fowler, has the details.

She says, “AMI is having its first Open House of the season. It will be this Saturday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. It’s a great chance to come up and meet this year’s Fellows, to tour the Farm, maybe learn some gardening techniques, and, of course, we’ll have fresh-from-the-farm snacks available. The Mountain Farm is the site for Phase I of the Fellowship, so from the beginning of May to the end of October, we have eight to ten young adults learning gardening skills, canning, how to work in communities, teach school gardening, other things like that.

“Visitors at the Open House will get to come in on Road 601, or Bear Mountain Road, and one of the most beautiful roads in Highland County. It’s on top of Allegheny Mountain, and you can really see out in the valleys and the ridges below. So from the parking area, guests are invited to come down in to what we call The Village, and that’s where the Fellows are living and working and cooking their meals together. We’ll start tours from there and give folks a tour of The Village area. Then, we’ll also take tours down to the garden, where you’ll be able to see some of our growing methods, see our laying hens, and our high tunnel and greenhouse.

“I think there are a lot of reasons to come to the Open House. I know a lot of times folks in Monterey wonder, ‘What is AMI, and what are those Fellows doing up on the mountain?’ This is a great opportunity, if you’ve been curious, to come and see and come check it out. They’re so excited to share what they’ve been learning, and what they’ve been growing, to share these things with you. The Open House is also a great opportunity for those who are interested in potentially becoming Fellows. If anyone’s interested in applying for the Fellowship, the Open House is a great way to come check out the program, see what it’s like. We’ll also have some information about our new Farm at Augusta Health in Fishersville.”

If one day just isn’t enough to dig deeper in to the program, there’s a new way for folks to learn more about AMI. Jessa Fowler continues, “One of the new things we have at the Farm this summer is we are starting a Farm Stay Program, so part of one of the largest buildings up at AMI, our Lodge, is now open for guests to come and stay and learn a little bit more about the Fellowship. The Farm Stay rooms are in the upper part of the Lodge, and there are two queen beds and two twin beds. Guests are welcome to come take part in the Fellows’ work day, to attend some of their workshops, so during the Open House, folks will be invited to come check out those rooms and maybe even try to book a stay.”

Jessa concludes with some final information about the Open House that will be held this Saturday, July 21, 2018 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. She says, “The Open House is open to anyone, and you don’t have to RSVP. It’s just a drop-in event, although you’re welcome to tell us if you are coming. I know the summer is very busy, so if you are not able to come to this Open House, we are having another one in the fall that will be on September 15, 2018, and even if you come to the July one, I would really recommend coming again in September because things have changed so much by then. Because of the high elevation of AMI, by September, the leaves are usually starting to change as well, so it’s a beautiful day. There’s more information about the Open House and directions to the Farm on our website, You can also call me up at the Farm, 540-468-2300.”

Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

Current Weather