By Jessa Fowler, AMI Education Director
2017-2018 AMI Cohort Back row: Stephen Rodriguez, Patrick Banks, Sophia Hutnik, Matthew Kitchen. Front row: Mary-Ellen Garner, Maya Epelbaum, Grayson Shelor, Elora Overbey
This month we welcomed eight amazing individuals as Allegheny Mountain Institute Fellows. Coming from as far away as Wisconsin and as close as Lynchburg, this cohort will spend the next six months learning and growing on the Allegheny Mountain Farm Campus in western Highland County.
In many ways, this sixth Fellowship feels like Allegheny Mountain Institute is coming full circle in all the best ways. The facility updates completed during the program’s year break – including a new heated greenhouse, upgraded kitchen equipment, and other facility improvements – highlight exciting possibilities.
Our new Allegheny Mountain Farm campus staff, Maggie Wilder and Carter Wallace, bring fresh ideas and a renewed sense of energy. Here at the start of the season, the Fellows are taking in their first workshops, and the work in the gardens is underway. At the same time, the strong legacy of previous cohorts continues, breathing life into the Fellowship: The pure mountain water that this year’s Fellows drink comes from a spring dug by the founding Fellows in 2011. All around the farm, hand-painted signs, inspirational messages, cherished recipes, and perhaps most importantly, preserved foods both encourage and nourish the current cohort.
I look forward to this inspiring group of Fellows making their own positive imprints on this place – to leave their own legacies of tea gardens, strawberry patches and stone walls. In return, I know the experience on the mountain will make a life-changing impact on these Fellows. It has certainly done so for me.
Welcome 2017-2018 Cohort!