Local Foods and Agriculture
Highland Farmers’ Market: The Highland Farmers’ Market, started by The Highland Center in 1998, is a producer-driven market, selling items that are grown in the Alleghany Highlands. The Market accepts Debit, Credit, and SNAP benefits and is open on Fridays, 3:30 to 6 pm, June through September, with specialty markets in October and December. For a full calendar and more information, visit the Farmers’ Market page. If you have additional questions write to email@example.com or call 540-468-1922.
Community Incubator Kitchen: The Highland Center makes it easy for local food entrepreneurs to get off the ground with a full-service inspected kitchen and knowledgeable staff to help navigate regulations and safety concerns Equipment includes a walk-in freezer, commercial mixer, pH meter, steam-jacketed kettle, 10-burner stove, and convection oven. Please contact Sarah Collins at 540-468-1922 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faces of Farmers: Faces of Farmers is a project of The Highland Center created to help connect customers with producers through a website that highlights local farms in Highland, Bath, Pendleton, and Pocahontas counties. By telling our farmer’s stories, this project aims to market farms in the Alleghany Highlands region and help customers learn more about local food. Search by location or by product, find contact information for specific farms in the region, and learn where to find local food. To add your farm or for more information, please call (540) 468-1922 or email email@example.com.
Mountain Foods: The Mountain Foods Buying Club allows members to purchase wholesale natural, organic and local foods. The goal of the club is to build a community around healthy and natural foods, to make these products available to residents at affordable prices, and to limit the carbon footprint of transporting food. Delivery and pickup is made at The Highland Center each month. For membership and ordering information visit the Mountain Foods webpage or contact Sarah Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Food Events: The Highland Center hosts a number of meals and events promoting local products and producers throughout the year, including the Taste of Highland, meals during the Maple Festival, and workshop series at the Center. Check our calendar for upcoming Local Food events or email Thea Klein-Mayer, our Local Foods Coordinator.
Healthy Families Initiative: The Highland Center works with students, parents and community members to teach and promote gardening, local foods, healthy cooking and nutrition. The Center leads cooking and nutrition classes for families and partners with Highland County Public Schools and Virginia Cooperative Extension/4-H on a School Gardening Project. The Center led the renovation of the school greenhouse, construction of raised garden beds, and the implementation of a cafeteria composting program. Center staff continues to work with teachers and students to incorporate garden activities with class curriculum and to teach students how to grow and prepare their own food.
School Garden Project: The Highland Center teams with Highland County Public Schools and Virginia Cooperative Extension/4-H to renovate the school greenhouse and maintain garden space to create year-round growing spaces for student use and education. For more information, please call (540) 468-1922 or e-mail email@example.com.
Fields of Gold: The Center partners with the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission to take part in a regional agritourism initiative, designed to promote our area’s agricultural assets through farm stays and other entrepreneurial activities. The interactive website helps consumers explore local food opportunities in the region.
Highland Center Graduates:
Allegheny Mountain Institute (Formerly: Allegheny Mountain School): The Allegheny Mountain School was founded in 2011 to train young adults committed to sustainable agriculture and community development. After 3 years under The Highland Center, Allegheny Mountain School transitioned to the Allegheny Mountain Institute and secured independent non-profit status. It continues to bring participants from across the country to a Highland County farm for six months of intensive fellowship in sustainable food production as well as a series of other projects in the region. To learn more about this project, visit www.alleghenymountaininstitute.org/.
Alleghany Highlands Agricultural Center: The Ag Center, now operating as Alleghany Meats, is a USDA-inspected slaughter, value-added processing, ] facility. The Highland Center led the steering committee to commission a feasibility study, acquire land for the site, attract 93 local investors, and secure loans and grants to finance the $2.2 million project. The Highland Center continues to work with Alleghany Meats to connect local producers with consumers.