In 2022, 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.
Training Farmers & food System Leaders
Our experiential Farm and Food System Fellowship is at the core of what we do. In collaboration with 35 local experts, we provided Fellows with 75 educational sessions and 13 field trips this year, preparing them to be leaders in and advocates for a food system that is socially, environmentally, and economically just.
FARM AND FOOD STUDY
Farm Fellows gained a full season of hands-on, diversified agriculture experience. They participated in educational workshops to learn about the complexities of our food system while improving skills in sustainable vegetable production, beekeeping, rotational grazing, poultry care, farm-to-table cooking, and fermentation.
COMMUNITY ACTION YEAR
After completing the Farm and Food Study in 2021, Community Fellows put their new skills and knowledge to work.
They served as farm assistants, educational facilitators, and local food coordinators for ongoing partnerships with Augusta Health, Waynesboro Public Schools, and Allegheny Farm. In addition, they supported Jones Gardens, The Highland Center, and Jubilee Climate Farm to strengthen our regional food system.
While gaining experience, Fellows advanced the educational and agricultural goals of these key partners. Post-Fellowship, Fellows have plans to work in agriculture, nutrition education, and farm-to-table enterprises, expanding the impact of the AMI mission.
Collaborating for Sustained Impact
AMI FARM AT AUGUSTA HEALTH
The AMI Farm at Augusta Health is a leader in the national movement that promotes food as medicine.
Physicians on the Farm: Walk and Talk, Fermentation for Gut Health, and Food Farmacy offered innovative educational series in collaboration with doctors and practitioners. These clinically-integrated programs were coupled with the distribution of nutrient-dense vegetables grown on the hospital campus to advance a holistic approach to nutrition and patient care.
1,200 outpatients, workshop participants, hospital employees, farm stand customers, and those utilizing the Augusta Health food pantry enjoyed over sixty varieties and 30,000 pounds of produce. This includes 1,300 fresh vegetable boxes delivered directly to the homes of outpatients.
Waynesboro Public Schools
Fresh vegetables, hands-on farming activities, and social-emotional growth make the Waynesboro Educational Farm a magical place for learning.
Students from Kate Collins Middle School enjoyed activities in the courtyard garden and after-school programs at the farm. Six weeks of summer Farm Camp integrated students into all aspects of farm operations and featured delicious freshly harvested snacks, games, and community-building activities to strengthen curricular goals.
Students grew over 7,200 pounds of vegetables for school and community enjoyment. In partnership with Disciples Kitchen and LifeWorks, 3,800 pounds were distributed to provide nutritious food and combat food insecurity in Waynesboro.
HIGHLAND COUNTY PARTNERS
AMI's roots are in Highland County. As Fellows learn to grow food and discuss the complexities of the food system, they support education and access to healthy food in the region.
5,000 pounds of vegetables grown on the Allegheny Farm were distributed through our CSA and participation in the Highland Farmers Market. An additional 2,200 pounds were donated in partnership with the Department of Social Services, Meals on Wheels, and Highland County Schools.
In partnership with The Highland Center, we expanded local foods education, facilitated the Highland Food Coalition, built a "Tuesday Talks" series, and supported Taste of Highland.
Staunton CIty SCHOOLS
Utilizing a courtyard of vegetable beds, butterflies, and native plants, 370 students at Bessie Weller Elementary Schools connected classroom content with garden-focused experiential activities. Families reaped the joy of the harvest through a pay-what-you-will farm stand.
We supported Jones Gardens in their mission to increase access to fresh food by building partnerships, developing
educational materials, and contributing to a 76% increase in food production.