New Farm Manager at Allegheny Mountain Institute
Allegheny Mountain Institute in Highland County has a new Farm Manager. Teddy Pitsiokos started his new job in early January.
“For the past nine years I’ve been growing organic vegetables in a number of different scales mostly working for small, one to three acre, market style gardens,” says Pitsiokos. “Over the past two years, before I came here, I was working at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina running an outdoor classroom that was basically comprised of gardens where we held different classes and workshops. I’ve also been raising animals, on and off, mostly chickens, laying chickens, over the past few seasons.”
Allegheny Mountain Institute has collaborated with Staunton Public Schools, Waynesboro Public Schools, Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind and Augusta Health, creating gardens to teach and to provide organic vegetables for use.
“AMI works to help build stronger communities by doing a number of things,” says Pitsiokos. “First and foremost, we have tuition free training of food activists up here on the mountain and we also grow and donate food locally. And we collaborate with local public schools and area non-profits to work toward building a just and equitable food system.”
AMI was formed in 2011 and was originally called Allegheny Mountain School. It became a non-profit organization in 2014 and became Allegheny Mountain Institute.
“So, I train and mentor a cohort of around ten aspiring food activists during their first six months at AMI by giving them a crash course in sustainable agriculture,” says Pitsiokos. “I manage a two hundred acre outdoor classroom, that’s over an acre in vegetable production, a small orchard. We’ve got about fifty acres of forest, eighty acres of pasture, we raise cows and ducks and chickens currently. It’s just a wonderful opportunity to be up here and to help train and mentor the next generation of local food activists and also just the opportunity to collaborate with some exceptional staff members to really bring tangible changes to public health. And then personally, just I want to continue to learn and to listen as I navigate my own path for what personal health really means.”
For more information on Allegheny Mountain Institute, you can find them on Facebook, Instagram or their website www.amifellows.org