THREE STRATEGIES - In 2021, we approached our work with three interconnected strategies. We trained Fellows, amplified our impact working with partner organizations, and participated in regional collaborations to build a strong, equitable and healthy food system.
FARMING WITH PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS - AMI Fellows and Staff supported two school districts, a hospital, and a community coalition to integrate farming, nutritious vegetables, and related education into their food systems and outreach initiatives.
AMI FARM AT AUGUSTA HEALTH
The AMI Farm at Augusta Health empowered patients and community members to improve their health through nutrient-dense vegetables and education.
We cultivated 65 varieties and over 29,000 pounds of organic produce, supplying 2,880 fresh vegetable boxes coupled with educational materials to out-patients, Food Farmacy participants, and those utilizing the food pantry.
Over 1,600 people learned tips for growing food, cooking, and nutrition through 50 virtual workshops and educational sessions.
Waynesboro PUblic Schools
To improve student achievement, leadership, and social-emotional health, we transformed a half-acre field into the Waynesboro Educational Farm. Through curricular sessions, summer and after-school programs, students spent 2,375 hours growing over 6,800 pounds of vegetables for educational activities, distribution to families, and sales to district employees.
By collaborating with teachers at Kate Collins Middle School, we implemented 60 curricular lessons in the courtyard garden. This hands-on education spanned across six subjects in all grade levels.
HIGHLAND COUNTY PARTNERS
Allegheny Farm distributed 6,200 pounds of produce to Highland County residents through participation in the Highland Farmers Market, our 14-member CSA, and five months of donation bags delivered to 40 people each week in partnership with the Department of Social Services and Highland County Schools.
We collaborated with 12 local organizations to increase food security by establishing the Highland County Community Food Coalition. Together, we created and distributed 600 Food Resource Guides.
Staunton CIty SCHOOLS
Bessie Weller Elementary School's courtyard garden was a thriving outdoor educational classroom hosting 192 educational sessions and totaling over 1,000 hours of student engagement. Activities connected grade-level curriculum to the ecosystem growing at the school.
Vegetables were offered as samples to students and integrated into lessons. We introduced a weekly farm stand, offering vegetables for donation to school families. The school community enjoyed over $1,800 worth of fresh veggies in 2021.
FARM AND FOOD SYSTEM FELLOWSHIP - Fourteen Fellows participated in our 18-month, tuition-free, experiential Farm and Food System Fellowship, learning to be leaders in and advocates for a food system that is socially, environmentally, and economically just.
FARM AND FOOD STUDY
Eight Fellows gained a full season of hands-on, diversified agriculture experience - growing over 11,000 pounds of vegetables, harvesting 52 chickens, and producing 400 dozen eggs. They participated in 60 educational sessions and workshops to learn about the complexities of our food system while improving skills in vegetable production, beekeeping, rotational grazing, poultry care, canning, and fermentation. Fellows also sold vegetables at the Highland Farmers Market, provided 22 weeks of donations and a CSA, and taught eight garden sessions with children at Highland Children’s House.
COMMUNITY ACTION YEAR
After completing the Farm and Food Study in 2020, six Fellows put their training into action by serving as farm assistants, educational facilitators, and outreach and equity coordinators for Augusta Health, Waynesboro Public Schools, Staunton City Schools, and the Allegheny Farm. While gaining experience, Fellows advanced the educational and agricultural goals of these key partners.
REGIONAL COLLABORATION - By participating in two food coalitions, taking part in two farmers markets, engaging 28 instructors, and visiting 12 farms, we collaborated regionally to share knowledge and resources while building a strong, local food system.