The Highland Center in Monterey Has A New Program Manager


There’s a new Program Manager at The Highland Center in Monterey.  Jen Rattigan started work in late March.  She and her family live on Tonoloway Farm in McDowell.  They moved to Highland County when her partner, Will, took the job of managing the farm while the farm’s owners are away for four years doing humanitarian aid work.

“I’m from southeastern Pennsylvania and I went to college in Baltimore for art, but my background is mostly in community art and then became more community-based agriculture and education as I learned, and learning, more and more farming and gardening,” says Rattigan.  “Before coming up here, my family and I were living in North Carolina, outside of Asheville.  I had been there for about ten years, working with herbal plants, but I lived in Virginia for about four to five years and I spent some time as a Farm to Table Coordinator in Rappahannock County Public Schools.”

At The Highland Center, Rattigan is responsible for planning the Farmers Market, the Youth Employment Program and the monthly Tuesday Talks.  She is especially busy now with the Farmers Market and the Youth Employment Program.

“The Farmers Market is, you know, sort of essential,” says Rattigan.  “You look around, we are in the center of abundance, but at the same time Highland County is considered to be a food desert, so having access to fresh produce part of the year is really great and important.  We want to see everyone who participates for the programs, especially the Farmers Market and the Youth Employment Program, to benefit.  So, one of the biggest challenges is going to be making sure that there’s enough produce vendors and volume of produce meeting the dietary needs of people who come to the market every week.  The Youth Employment Program, it demonstrates that we have the intention of guiding young adults into healthy and rewarding lives and I think that program’s especially great.”

Rattigan first became familiar with The Highland Center when she was helping out there.

“Since moving here, I’ve been working with the Highland Children’s House,” says Rattigan.  “My son, four year old, goes there and so I’ve been working with them in their kid’s garden and trying to grow that.  So, I’m there at The Highland Center already a lot, plus these programs are wonderful programs and I like working with the team of women that I get to work with.”

For more information on The Highland Center programs and applications for the Farmers Market and the Youth Employment Program, email Jen Rattigan at

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Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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