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Culminating Capstones

By 2018-2019 Fellowship Cohort

In addition to their six months of living and working on the mountain, AMI Fellows have been busy exploring needs and opportunities for farms and food in the community. The 2018-2019 Cohort presented these projects in a culminating event at The Highland Center in Monterey, VA.

The presentation topics included the following:

Highland County Public School Perennial Garden Feasibility Assessment

Ariel Francisco Duran - Valley Stream, NY

Last year, AMI Fellow Matthew Kitchen shared the potential educational resource that the perennial garden at the Highland County Public School presents. This project expands upon that idea, collaborating with staff, teachers and students to seek their input on how this garden could be developed into a space that school members feel a strong commitment and connection to.

Highland Roots: A look into the lives of Highland County’s long-time locals and their experiences in Virginia’s Little Switzerland.

Audrey Carter - Richmond, VA

Maggie McCormick - Alexandria, VA

In these modern times, it is important to learn the stories of the past and to value our storytellers. After traveling the Highland County area and asking questions along the way, this project cataloged what living and eating locally meant before our time and what can be achieved by sitting down and learning from the past.

Increasing Water Security with Rainwater Catchment Systems

Freddy Carruth - Charleston, SC

Nick Hodgson - Frederick, MD

Rainwater is an often underutilized resource that can easily be captured and stored to increase water security in times of climate instability and drought. This project designed and implemented a simple plan to use roof catchment systems to store and irrigate gardens that can easily be scaled up or down for farms and urban settings.

Herbal Resources for Foragers

Julia Loman - Charlottesville, VA

The Allegheny Mountain Farm and the surrounding region offer an abundance of edible and medicinal plants and fungi that can easily overwhelm those unfamiliar to the ecosystem. This project narrows the focus to a few plants, to guide and inspire newcomers to foray into the rewarding adventures of foraging and herbalism.

Increasing Pond Diversity and Functionality with Edible Water Plants

Grace Grattan - Arlington, VA

Growing food doesn’t have to be limited to garden soil beds. This project explores the underutilized space that ponds provide for growing edible plants and provides a detailed plan and design for AMI’s upper pond that can used as a model for expanding edible pond vegetation in the region.

The Phase I Fellows will move on to Phase II positions in non-profits based in Highland and Augusta Counties in January 2019. Applications for AMI’s fully sponsored Farm and Food Education Fellowship open November 1 and will be available on the AMI website.

For more information, visit or contact Jessa Fowler at or (540) 468-2300.

AMI’s mission is to cultivate healthy communities through food and education. AMI is a 501(c) 3 educational nonprofit that works to create a thriving network of collaborative, vibrant, communities that value the connection between food and health, and to support our region in developing a more secure and healthy food system.

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