Sweetwater Farm is a 561 acre farm located in Pendleton County, West Virginia. The property includes a community center, a farmhouse from the late 1800’s, cabins, bunkhouses, barns, and various other outbuildings. The property is nestled into a bowl-shaped valley along the rim of the Shenandoah valley. It adjoins the 1.8 million acres of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests and contains its own micro-watershed, including several springs, a network of old roads and an area of volcanic activity called an igneous intrusion.
It was founded as the Mountain Springs Farm and Heritage center in 1988. Their mission was to provide an experience that educates our community through sustainable agriculture and appropriate land stewardship. They provided opportunities to participate in responsible environmental leadership, growing chemical free food, and fostering a sense of community, while working together and enjoying nature.
In 1994, The Lightstone Foundation developed a program and the farm and joined the team. Their mission was to serve as a regional education and demonstration center for practicing and supporting sustainable family farming, natural resource management and rural community development. The program at the farm demonstrated sustainable agricultural practices, wetlands restoration, eco- and agro-forestry, and Community Supported Agriculture. Their other programs included Future Stewards, Community Food Systems, and Community Economic Development.
Experience Learning acquired the farm in 2017, renaming it Sweetwater Farm. It serves as the main campus for our farm-based education programs, as well as a center for small and sustainable farming programming. There are plans to create trails and campgrounds to diversify the property. There also plans of a bike park and other educational opportunities.