Amyrose Foll is one of the most tireless inspiring advocates you will ever meet. Her profound passion to help community members who are most in need is awe inspiring. She doesn’t just grow and provide them wholesome real food; she empowers them to grow their own food. Gaining self-sufficiency is a goal everyone can get behind and she needs your help!
Amyrose has always had an energizing presence and ambitious drive. She describes herself by remarking, “I am admittedly a workaholic. I have this internal engine that keeps driving me. Doing for others is my source of joy.” It shows! She is a U.S. Army Veteran who simultaneously worked as a full-time nurse and firefighter for ten years! She has run her own sign/graphic design business for 6 years now.
Growing up hunting, fishing, and foraging, Amyrose always had an interest in seeking out and growing quality food. As an adult, she honed her initial gardening skills by growing food for her family. She followed her passion for farming and accumulated twenty years of experience working on farms, selling at farmers markets, and engaging in extensive self-study and formal education in viticulture, fruit tree production, poultry production, and woodlot management.
The year 2013 marked a turning point in her life. She divorced and bought 20 acres of land in Fluvanna County to raise her three children in a peaceful place that would holistically foster healthy bodies and minds. While still running her sign business, Amyrose went to work implementing regenerative practices to enrich and nourish the land so it could enrich and nourish her family and eventually, her community.
While her garden became increasingly productive, Amyrose was becoming increasingly frustrated about the vicious cycle of poverty and the associated problems of access to real, naturally grown food. She states, “We do not have a food shortage problem. We have social justice and equitable distribution of food problems coupled with wanton disregard for the sacred soil beneath our feet.” Without access to nutrient dense food, all other challenges to meet basic needs are clearly compounded. How refreshing and inspiring to see her do something about it!
In 2019 Amyrose started the Virginia Free Farm to provide free nutrient dense food to those who need it most. She has helped residents in low-income housing start community gardens, supplying essential training, infrastructure, seeds, plants, and even chickens and ducks. She dispels persistent myths by stating, “They don’t want Slim Jims or other products from convenient stores. They want real food. Plus, it’s therapy to dig in the dirt.” She has also provided similar services, as well as nutrition and seed-saving education to support local group homes. She aims for long-term impact in her mission to cultivate food security for at risk Virginians.
Local youth learn where their food comes from through her work in schools and programs for at-risk children. She takes pride in her Penobscot and Abenaki native heritage and empowers children by teaching them about indigenous agricultural practices and ways of life. Amyrose knows our children have the future of our environment’s health in their hands, stating, “One of the things I treasure most is teaching ethnobotany to children. We are cultivating the next generation of land and water protectors. If we get in now, we raise more environmentally conscious adults.”
Amyrose describes a big source of her motivation by remarking, “I love seeing other people happy and connecting people together to do something amazing.” She certainly has the knack for it and frequently remarks she could never run all the programs under Virginia Free Farm alone. She has partnered with community agencies, networked through leadership organizations, and is even exploring using satellite farms to stretch her outreach. She spreads the word about her mission everywhere and is even featured in the current issue of Mother Earth News!
In addition to her family, she is grateful for help from a small committed staff, 12 regular volunteers, including two large dedicated families who bring their children to reap the immeasurable benefits of getting dirty in the soil and devoting time and energy to others. This is where you come in! Please consider joining others who care about their community and sign up to volunteer here.
Amyrose and her husband both have full-time jobs, so she needs your financial support to keep her dream alive and provide essential services to those who are most in need. When you are done adding goods to your RVAg cart, support the Virginia Free Farm through a donation to 2 Care to Share. If each customer donated just $10 it would have a tremendous impact on hungry Goochland residents. There is also an option to donate monthly to Virginia Free Farm through their Patreon link.
Check out all their current projects and farming practices on their website for a healthy dose of inspiration and to learn about the numerous ways YOU can help your neighbors!