Our Story

Growing food,

building community

In 2011, Allegheny Mountain School (AMS) was founded by a Highland County, Virginia resident who recognized the need to re-invigorate Appalachian communities to return to their agrarian roots, once again providing for their own food supply, and thereby taking charge of their personal and community's health.  This was accomplished by the creation of the two-Phase Fellowship program, where in Phase I, Fellows are carefully selected to learn the skills necessary to go forth in Phase II to teach and give back what they have learned to the greater community as they spread AMI's core values of positivity, integrity, sustainability, stewardship, regenerative agriculture, and experiential education. 

Each year a cohort of 8-9 Fellows is recruited for the 18-month Fellowship, where they receive intensive hands-on, garden-based training using bio -intensive, regenerative  practices for six-months, followed a year of giving back to the community,  developing and implementing powerful, life changing programming for the general public to  promote garden, conservation, and nutrition-based education. 

In 2014  AMS partnered with the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind to develop and operate the largest Farm to School program in the state.  As our Fellow operated programming grew, AMS recognized its own need to expand, and in 2014 established itself as its own 501c3 non-profit, Allegheny Mountain Institute (AMI).

In 2017, AMI entered into a partnership with Augusta Health to develop and operate a production vegetable farm, with multifaceted programming around farming and nutrition education.   Once again, our flagship Fellowship took on the leadership role to create this successful model farm to hospital program.


Today, AMI has graduated over 60 Fellows, many of whom have gone on to serve in professional roles in education, agriculture, and community development. This year, AMI will welcome its ninth cohort to the Allegheny Farm campus. Our Partner Organizations for 2020 include Project GROWS, Staunton City Schools, Highland Children's House and Highland County Public Schools. Phase II Fellows will also serve on the Allegheny Farm and AMI Farm at Augusta Health. In 2019, we reached over 10,600 individuals directly, and we expect that number to grow exponentially this year as our impact areas have grown into the communities of large institutions. 

2020 Community partners

“There’s been a culture shift and people don’t raise gardens like they used to.  I wanted to teach people to grow their own food, so they can teach others, because there’s a huge connection between good fresh food and good health.” 

—Laurie Berman, AMI Founder and Board President

Allegheny Mountain Institute

PO Box 542,

Staunton, VA 24402 


AMI at Augusta Health


Fishersville, VA

Allegheny Farm Campus 


Hightown, VA