AMI (as AMS) was founded in 2011 as an intensive, hands-on, cooperative, experiential learning and training program designed to teach members of our communities to grow and prepare their own food and to understand the nutritional benefits of eating seasonally.
AMI Farm Fellows study sustainable food production, whole foods preparation and preservation, mindfulness, wellness and nutrition, land stewardship and community development, as they train to become ambassadors for a healthier food culture. Upon successful completion of the program, AMI Farm Fellows will receive a Permaculture Design Certificate, as well as gain full season experience working and learning on an education-based, diversified vegetable farm.
After graduation, AMI Fellows have gone on to work in school gardens and helped students and their teachers grow their own food. They've become community local food advocates and organizers. They go to graduate school and they've published articles about the food movement and pressing health and environmental issues. They teach garden based learning in public schools. They've managed community and urban farms and helped launch value-added artisanal food businesses. They become young farmers!
The AMI Urban Farm is a project of Allegheny Mountain Institute and Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB). The farm provides students of all ages a place to learn, play and grow outdoors. Our 3-acre site located on the VSDB campus consists of a 1-acre vegetable farm, educational gardens, outdoor classroom and kitchen, orchard, and diverse native habitat plantings.
What do we do?
Trevor is a native of Richmond, VA and has a BA in history from the University of Virginia. He developed a passion for growing food in college and has spent his professional career working towards a healthy local food system in Virginia. After graduating from the AMI farm fellowship in 2013, Trevor joined the AMI staff as a project manager and permaculture instructor. He currently manages the AMI Urban Farm located at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB) in Staunton, VA. Trevor enjoys cultivating life of all kinds, with a particular interest in growing medicinal herbs and fruits. In 2014 he cofounded Shenandoah Permaculture Institute where he teaches and writes about permaculture design.
Mandy Henkler was raised in a suburb north west of Philadelphia and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Community Entrepreneurship and Food Systems from the University of Vermont. It was in Vermont that she found her passion for local food and organic farming. She spent her childhood playing outside or in the kitchen and is happy to say that is still where she spends most of her time. Mandy came to be the Outreach Coordinator at the Allegheny Mountain Institute after finishing up her Allegheny Mountain School Senior Fellowship at the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. While at the Food Bank Mandy realized the extreme need in our community for access to healthy whole food. She will be working on projects aimed at feeding underserved populations and educating them on gardening, nutrition and cooking skills.