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Building Community in Augusta and Highland

If you’re like me, you get bored, fast. And while moving to a new area is exciting and the possibilities are endless, it helps to narrow down the options a bit. So if you’ve recently moved to the Augusta or Highland county area and are looking for like-minded institutions to continue exploring agriculture and food justice work, I got you.

1: Allegheny Mountain Institute

Ha! I know, I know, but if you’re looking to connect with folks who have gone through the Fellowship experience like you, there’re tons of alums still in the area. One of the best ways to meet them is through frisbee in Monterey! You can also check out some of their projects, from Charlie's mushroom operation at MushLuv, to Tess, Julia, Justin, and Melanie’s various farming projects at Waynesboro Public Schools.

2: Tonoloway Farm

As you can imagine, there are loads of friends of AMI in the area as well. In McDowell, Tonoloway Farm is a sugar bush farm specializing not just in maple syrup, but in syrup from walnuts and sycamores as well. Nothing like a sap boil to bring in spring!

3: Shirefolk Farm

If poultry are more your speed, you’ll like our friends over at Shirefolk Farm! They run a turkey operation that puts our chicken coops to shame. Emily is also a permaculture genius who can educate you on the wonder of guilds, you may even plant one with your cohort!

4: Vine and Fig

Harrisonburg falls a little north of halfway between Highland and Augusta, where you can find our friends at Vine and Fig. Merge your passion for ag with food justice at this community garden that emphasizes the connections holding compassion, social justice, and ecological sustainability together. They have plenty of volunteer opportunities if you’re ready to get out of your comfortable germ pod and into the world!

5: Silver Run Forest Farm

If you’re wondering about ways that farming can be a bit more out of the box, look no further than Silver Run Forest Farm. A riparian oasis, this tree nursery, and folk school doesn’t just prioritize restorative justice in words, but by incorporating it into their practices. And if you’re lucky when you visit, you might see some of Jonathan and Cornelius’ personal projects fermenting black walnut sap, making acorn flour, or eating pawpaws.

6: Project Grows

Looking for something a little more local to Augusta? Project Grows is a good start! This organization has worked hard to heighten food access in communities across the entire county, and have created a bunch of volunteer and education programs at their farm. We’ve even had some AMI fellows work with them on their volunteer projects, market and CSA, and maintaining their ten acres. If volunteering feels like your speed, join them for their Garden Work Parties every Thursday afternoon!

7: Cultivate Charlottesville

If you haven’t visited Charlottesville, the food justice scene is popping off in a big way! Cultivate Charlottesville and their Food Justice Network are mobilizing to empower the community in policy and in practice. From school gardening initiatives to drafting policy to food distribution, Cultivate Charlottesville leaves no stone unturned in their efforts to approach food as a human right.

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