Sarah Collins, Local Foods Coordinator

Partner Organization: The Highland Center

Coming in to this program, I had a background in architecture and landscape architecture and I was not entirely sure how that background would fit into what I would be doing here at Allegheny Mountain School. I also came with an interest in food and food systems, but again I only had a vague idea of how my educational background would fit with those interest. Allegheny Mountain School, it turns out, was the ideal setting to explore the intersection of food, design, community development, and my own thoughts about how I want to move forward with the rest of my life.

During Phase I, I had the opportunity to learn about different methods of gardening in a communal setting, live with an amazing group of people who share more than just a physical space, and pursue my own research in a non-institutional setting. In returning to Allegheny Mountain and Highland County for my Phase II placement, I was given the opportunity to continue my Phase I explorations, as well as participate more actively in the greater-Highland County community, and take some of the skills that I had learned and put them into practice. Through the Phase II portion of the AMS Program, I was able to practice my leadership and management skills, organize community events (for which I sourced local foods!), interview local farmers, and work on several design projects. This program has truly given me a jumping off point for “Phase III”- the rest of my life…

Coriena Reynolds: AMS Village Manager

AMS has been an amazing experience, to say the least. I have been able to hone my gardening skills plus study and learn so many things: food preservation, cheesemaking, tree identification, etc. As the returning fellow and Village Manager, it has been immensely beneficial for me to be in a place for a second season. Before, I had never been able to compare seasons. Before, I had never harvested the garlic I had planted. This has helped me to fully experience and grasp gardening knowledge that was merely a concept to me before. My role this year has been a teacher to the new group of fellows. This has made me realize a few things. Teaching something you love is fun and fulfilling. Teaching, as opposed to merely growing good food, is a very important aspect of the local, whole food movement. Sharing the love of growing food will bring about the most change.


Find out about the events, workshops, farming and life as an AMS Fellow.

Allegheny Mountain School (AMS) is a project of The Highland Center, located in Monterey, Virginia. It’s mission is to serve all citizens of Highland County by being a catalyst for cultural and economic development, and to preserve a historic landmark as a symbol of unity and community pride. [Read More]

Story.Dawn1 Read about this season’s workshops and instructors.


Allegheny Mountain School PartnersPhase II of the AMS Fellowship is spent working for a non-profit for one year.

In 2014, AMS Senior Fellows will be working for these organizations in our region focused on local food, conservation and strengthening communities.

City Schoolyard Garden
Project Grows
New Community Project
Valley Conservation Council
Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind

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