We are excited to announce the start of the Allegheny Mountain Institute Farm at Augusta Health!
This spring, the first crops will sprout from the ground at the Farm on the Augusta Health main campus, behind the Augusta Community Care (ACC) building. As part of a partnership between Augusta Health and the Allegheny Mountain Institute (AMI), an educational nonprofit organization that works to cultivate healthier communities, the Farm will be home to three acres of a production farm and demonstration gardens, and will be dedicated to educating the community and providing nutritious food.
After Augusta Health’s recent Community Health Needs Assessment highlighted nutrition, physical activity and weight as health priorities for the Staunton, Augusta County and Waynesboro area, the Augusta Health Community Partnership Committee determined that AMI could help realize the goal of improving the wellbeing of the community through increased education and access to healthy foods by creating an organic production and educational farm on the Augusta Health campus.
Seeds for the first 1.25 acres of the farm will be planted late this winter, and Augusta Health community members will see the first crops harvested this spring. In addition to providing a source of food for Augusta Health’s cafés — and eventually a farm stand that patients, visitors and staff can take advantage of — one of the most important uses of the farm will be for hands-on educational workshops that will cover various wellness topics and encourage the intake of healthy, nutrient-dense, farm-fresh food.
Classes will include everything from hands-on garden demonstrations to nutrition classes for the Augusta Health community, and we’re also hoping to work with educators, youth and people in the community who have low food access.
Among the first workshops that Augusta Health and AMI will create is a “Food Farmacy,” which is a program where a group of interested Type 2 Diabetics will be referred by their physicians for nutritional and lifestyle education.
In the Food Farmacy program, a group of 15–20 Augusta Health patients will meet weekly for 16 weeks, learn about healthy eating and then use produce from the farm to do a cooking demo of a healthy meal. They’ll then come back the following week and share stories and learn more. These meetings will include interactions with physicians, dieticians, and other professionals from Augusta Health and AMI. The Food Farmacy will meet the need of not just education and getting healthier foods, but will also allow Augusta Health to track health statistics and be able to find ways to improve our community’s health that goes beyond pharmaceutical treatments. The first group is expected to begin the program in July.
So keep an eye out for activity behind the ACC building and stay tuned for updates on this exciting new partnership!
VP Human Resources & Executive Director of ACP