Cultivating New Passions

A student with the Asheville Farm School tends the fields.
Photo courtesy WWC

In 1894, the Women’s Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church founded the Asheville Farm School on 420 acres in the Swannanoa Valley. It soon became a place where mountain boys could learn how to read, write, and do arithmetic, but also how to milk cows, make soap, and mend clothes. Today, more than a century later, Warren Wilson College (WWC) follows in the footsteps of the Asheville Farm School, operating on the same land and under the same mission of integrating traditional instruction with hands-on experience. With hopes of providing more experiential educational opportunities for community members, WWC is launching the Mountain Institute for Lifelong Learning this May. According to a press release, the institute will offer classes in everything from plein air painting to loom weaving to filmmaking. All courses will be taught by college faculty and regional artisans. “The Mountain Institute for Lifelong Learning is a vessel for community building, exploration, adventure, place-based learning, and the ignition of new passion for lifelong learners,” Anna Welton, associate dean of community and global engagement at WWC, shares in a press statement. “These courses highlight the unique strengths of Warren Wilson College, which has been a hub of experiential learning since its founding as the Asheville Farm School in 1894.”

The Mountain Institute for Lifelong Learning at Warren Wilson College (701 Warren Wilson Rd., Swannanoa). For more information, visit

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