Mission: The mission of the Allegheny Mountain Institute (AMIR) is to cultivate healthy communities through food and education. The vision of AMI is a thriving network of collaborative, vibrant communities who value the connection between food and health.
Community Need: In Augusta County: Augusta Health’s 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) identified three major health challenges for community residents that it believes it has the greatest ability to impact: nutrition, physical activity, and weight. The new AMI Farm at Augusta Health project and partnership will address and positively impact the areas of nutrition, weight, promote a better quality of life for the community, and for Augusta Health patients, visitors, and staff.
In Highland County: Highland County does not have a full-service grocery store, and access to fresh fruits and vegetables can be extremely limited for those in the immediate community. For many in this remote area of Virginia—and for those around the nation who live in food access-challenged areas, or “food desserts”—locating and being able to afford quality, nutrient-dense, fresh foods can be difficult.
Constituents Served: All community members in Augusta and Highland Counties and the greater region are welcome to attend AMI events, workshops, open houses, and volunteer days. AMI’s Fellowship Program is open to US candidates. AMI served the following demographics in Highland County: Youth K-12: 57; and adults: 397. In Augusta County: Youth K-12: 640; and adults: 393.
Primary Activities: The AMI Farm at Augusta Health is the organization’s newest initiative and involves a multi-year partnership with Augusta Health to create a farm project with accompanying educational programs on the hospital campus in Fishersville, Virginia (Augusta County). Community and Urban Farms have taken hold nationwide in the past decade, and AMI strives to be a leader in the “food as medicine” paradigm shift by offering nutrition education opportunities. Ultimately, this initiative will raise awareness and help reduce chronic health issues and reduce healthcare costs in this community.
Community Food Donations: AMI has committed to donate 20% of its produce to hunger relief organizations such as the Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, and Valley Mission. By growing and sharing food, AMI seeks to ensure that every member of the community has access to fresh, healthy food that enables them to take charge of their health and improve their quality of life. By sharing part of its harvest, AMI hopes to support and make connections with those living in its backyard.
The AMI Fellowship Program, Phase I and Phase II: Since 2011, AMI has trained leaders to go forth and improve local food systems. Each year, AMI welcomes a new cohort of Phase I Fellows to its Allegheny Mountain Farm campus for a six-month intensive training. In Phase II of the program, Fellows are placed with Partner Organizations in the region and serve communities by working to increase food access and by teaching nutrition, gardening, culinary, and self-sufficiency skills.
Amount Requested: $10,000
Operating Budget: $661,306