AMI Farm at Augusta Health responds to community food accessibility needs
Among those having to adjust to changes during the COVID-19 pandemic is the Allegheny Mountain Institute (AMI) Farm at Augusta Health.
So far this season, 1,000 lbs. of produce grown on the farm has been harvested, and they plan to harvest 25,000 lbs. before the season is over.
But even though the farm is still operating as normal, the produce that is harvested is being put to use elsewhere.
Typically, a larger percentage of food grown at the AMI farm goes to the hospital's food system. However, the cafeteria at Augusta Health is not being used at the same capacity right now, and the Food Pharmacy Prescription Produce Program is not operating. So, staff needed to figure out where the food might be needed.
For the past six weeks, produce bags have been created to give out to the their home health and hospice patients three times a week.
"This program is especially important, because, obviously, our home health and hospice patients are vulnerable anyway and shouldn't be going out and about and doing things like grocery shopping," Director of Community Outreach at Augusta Health Krystal Moyers said.
The food is also nutrient dense, which helps these patients boost their immune system.
AMI Farm at Augusta Health has also partnered with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Each week, the farm delivers around 150 produce items to the food bank, which
"We really wanted to rise to meet the increasing volumes of clients they were seeing and make sure that those folks had fresh produce available," Moyers said.
She said she's grateful to have the farm to be able to be responsive to the food access needs in the community.