Frequently Asked

Questions

We know 18-months is a big commitment.  We know you probably have some questions. 

Learn more about the Fellowship below, and if you still have more questions, just let us know.  

Application

Farm & Food Study

Community Action Year

Alumni

 

APPLication

When can I apply?

Applications open mid-November of each year and applications for the 2021-2022 Cohort are available now! Can't apply this year? Email us if you want to be reminded when they are released next year!

What is the application like and where do I apply?

To help us get to know you, the online application includes some basic questions about you, a resume, statement of purpose and contact information for three professional references. 

When are applications due?

Our early application deadline is February 10 and our general application deadline is March 10. Applications are reviewed when complete in the order received.

What kind of Fellow are you looking for? Do I need to be a farming expert to apply?

We look for a diverse cohort of Fellows that are passionate about creating a food system that is socially, environmentally, and economically just - and have the leadership potential and drive to follow that passion through. Though farming or gardening experience is great, it's not required. We know that diverse teams are stronger and we appreciate that AMI Fellows come from a variety of backgrounds, with a variety of experiences.

 

Is there an age restriction?

Beyond being over 18, we don't have an age restriction and consider applicants of all ages. But, in case you were wondering, past Fellows have typically been in the age range of 22-30. 

Do I have to live on the farm during the Farm and Food Study?

Yes, we do ask Fellows to live onsite those first six months. The first phase is a residential program and living on the farm is a huge part of the experience! Also, logistically, living off-campus would be too tricky given the remote location of the farm.

 

May I bring my spouse, partner, or another family member?

Usually, the campus is open to visitors on most weekends but Fellow guests are not permitted to stay on the Allegheny Farm campus with their Fellow during the workweek. During COVID, guest restrictions are in place.

We're a couple – can we apply?

Couples are welcome to apply and are considered on an individual basis. There is the possibility that one person might be invited without the other.

Does AMI provide health insurance?

AMI provides accident coverage during the Farm and Food Study. (During the Community Action Year, Fellows are provided with health insurance benefits and worker's compensation.)

Are pets or emotional support animals allowed?

Due to our farm animals, facilities, and the communal nature of the experience, Fellows are not permitted to bring pets or emotional support animals to the Allegheny Farm. In the Community Action Year, when housing is up to the Fellow, pets are fine by us! (Though, of course, your landlord would need to sign off!)

Can I start the program after the start date?

Unfortunately, all Fellows must be on-site on our start date (May 17, 2021) due to the importance of orientation activities and spring planting. We are happy to work with graduating applicants who need to take a day off to travel back to attend graduation. 

I'm not from the U.S. Can I still apply?

AMI does consider international applicants but applicants must supply their own visa. In the past, Fellows have worked with organizations such as World Wide Farmers Exchange for visa arrangments. 

Does AMI fund my travel to get there?

AMI is unable to pay for travel expenses for interviews or to move to the Allegheny Farm. AMI staff will make a good faith effort to help coordinate rides to Phase I from local airports as able.

 

Farm and Food Study

What will I learn?

Through hands-on experience, workshops, field trips, and trainings, Farm Fellows will learn: 

  • Organic methods for fruit and vegetable production

  • Rotational grazing and livestock management

  • Poultry care and harvesting

  • Soil building, composting, and carbon sequestration Agroforestry

  • Ecological Farm Design and Planning

  • Beekeeping

  • Mushroom Cultivation

  • Wildcrafting and herbalism

  • Market Farming

  • Nutrition and Wellness

  • Food Systems and Food Policy

  • Community Development

  • Teaching Strategies... and much more

What about COVID-19?

COVID-19 precautions will apply to the 2021-2022 Fellowship. Farm Fellows will operate as a family unit and may be subject to testing prior to arrival, a quarantine on the Allegheny Farm, and limits to extracurricular excursions and visitors. Outreach and Education components may be reduced and will be distanced, masked, and outdoors when possible. 

Where will I live?

Farm Fellows live atop the Allegheny Mountain, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Moneton, Monacan, and Manahoac Peoples. As Fellows grow most of their own food, drink fresh spring water, and enjoy the surrounding fields and forests, we respectfully acknowledge that Indigenous inhabitants have stewarded this land throughout the generations. 

 

The rural Allegheny Farm is set on hundreds of acres in what is now known as Highland County, VA. The Allegheny Farm Village includes shared cabins equipped with electricity and heat, a separate bathhouse, and access to spacious communal areas that include Wi-Fi-equipped study spaces, large commercial-style kitchens, and a library. Farm Fellows take turns cooking farm-fresh meals supplemented with whole food staples provided by AMI. Room and board are provided at no charge.   

 

The farm is bordered by both the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests, providing ample space to explore and wander. Off the mountain, Fellows are welcomed into a rich Appalachian culture and the close-knit surrounding community. Just 30 minutes away, the town of Monterey offers a full Farmer's Market, restaurants, and community events throughout the summer.

 
 
 

What’s the daily schedule like?

Fellows spend most of their time gaining hands-on experience working on the farm. The program day typically runs from 8 am - 5 pm, Monday through Friday, with occasional weekend activities on Saturdays and Sundays. Fellows participate in a variety of workshops, farm tours, and internal educational sessions. Cooking and additional farm chores rotate among the Fellows. Chores and project work often occur after-hours. 

Is there any time off?

Yes! Farm Fellows receive three personal days. AMI also observes Memorial Day, Labor Day and the Fourth of July.

Would I need a car?

It is possible to participate the Fellowship without a car and usually, there is at least one Fellow without a car on the mountain. However, the Allegheny Farm is a 30 minutes from the nearest town, so living on the mountain may feel isolating to Fellows who don't have a set of wheels to get off-campus. Please be aware that the AMI driveway is a 2 mile long, rough gravel road. 

What would I need to bring?

In addition to food and board, AMI provides bedding , pillows, towels, etc. Fellows need to bring clothes to make them comfortable working in all kinds of weather (think rain jackets, layers, and boots), toiletries and small items to make the farm feel like home. AMI provides most farm tools, but do recommend Fellows bring the ever-needed classic - the pocket knife. An additional suggested packing list will be shared with accepted Fellows.

How much does the Farm and Food Study cost?

AMI provides Farm Fellows with housing and whole-food staples to supplement what food is grown on the farm.  AMI does not charge tuition for the Farm and Food Study in order to promote accessibility of the Fellowship. Upon successful completion of the Farm and Food Study and commitment to the Community Action Year Contract, Farm Fellows receive a $1,000 stipend.

Ok, so what's the catch?

AMI offers free training to Farm Fellows with the understanding that Fellows will turn around and use their skills and energy to build healthy communities in the Community Action Year. At AMI's discretion, Fellows may be asked to repay the costs of the Farm and Food Study if they voluntarily leave the program early or fail to commit to or complete the Community Action Year.  

Community ACtion Year

What happens after the six months of Farm and Food Study?

After completing their training, Farm Fellows step into roles where they use their acquired knowledge and skills to increase access to fresh, locally grown food in our communities through a year of Community Action. Depending on their position, Community Fellows may work on projects and programs such as:

  • Supporting farm-to-hospital integration and innovative health care practices

  • Supporting farm-to-school projects and managing school gardens

  • Advocating for the connections between food and health

  • Teaching gardening or farming skills to children or adults

  • Growing diversified crops on a market-style farm 

  • Supporting farmers markets and direct-to-consumer programs

  • Coordinating food for donation and food access programs

  • Mentoring the next cohort of Fellows

As the year winds down, AMI supports Fellows to develop and prepare for their post-Fellowship careers, including goal setting, professional growth plans, resume updates, and interview skills.

What about COVID-19?

COVID-19 precautions will apply to the 2021-2022 Fellowship. Though we hope that by 2022, restrictions may be less necessary, we anticipate Fellows completing their community work following COVID precautions, including staying outdoors, working from home, distancing, and mask-wearing. Outreach and Education components may be reduced and will be distanced, masked, and outdoors when possible. 

What do Fellows typically do in the two months in between the phases?

November and December are a great time to rest and recover after the intense learning at the Allegheny Farm. Fellows often head home, live with friends, pick up some part-time work, or do some traveling before the Fellowship starts back up in January. 

What does a typical month look like?

Schedules and typical daily work activities depend on the Community Action Year Placement. Depending on the Fellows' interest, positions may be more farm or education-focused.  Regardless, the cohort does get together 2-3 times per month for AMI activities and continued learning.  Cohort Days provide Fellows a chance to catch up, take a step back, support each other, and think about their work in the broader picture. Field Trips and workshops allow Fellows to dive deeper into topics touched on in the first phase. And finally, workdays allow the group to mass force and knock out key projects at each other's placement sites.

 
 
 
 

What will I learn during the Community Action Year?

In addition to the experiential learning of doing this work, Fellow learning at workshops, field trips, and training include: 

  • Winter Farming Skills 

  • Market Farming

  • Resources for Farmers

  • Regional Conferences

  • Program Design and Evaluation

  • Complexities of Food Systems and Food Policy

  • Grant Writing and Funding

  • Community Development

How are Community placements determined?

AMI usually sets the next year's placements in July, so that in August, Fellows receive the position possibilities and visit partner organizations. Then, Fellows and partner organizations make preferences and AMI matches Fellows to partner organizations. Fellow preferences are considered as much as possible and the process includes conversations as needed to ensure a good fit. 

Where do Community Fellows work? Are they always in the region?

We concentrate our work in Highland and Augusta Counties, VA. This keeps Fellows close enough to have a strong support network with each other and allows us to concentrate our impact in the area so that we can actually make a difference! (In this region and interested in hosting a Fellow? Click here!

 

What are some of AMI's past projects and partners?

Most of our Community Action Year placements are organizations that we know well and who have proven to provide the Fellow with a good experience (see past partners below).  However, each year, we open an application for organizations that are interested in hosting a Fellow. New organizations go through a rigorous screening process (learn more here).

Highland School Garden

Allegheny Farm

Highland Children's House

Project Grows

Staunton City Schools

What is Fellow Compensation during the Community Action Year?

Fellows work 40 hours per week and are paid an hourly wage of $10 per hour (subject to payroll taxes). Health insurance benefits, Workers’ Compensation, 10 days of paid time off, and 1 day of wellness leave per month are provided.

Where do Fellows live during the year? How much does it cost?

During the Community Action Year, Fellows are responsible for finding their own housing and generally move to live closer to their daily work. Many continue to live together to cut down on costs, but past Fellows have sometimes opted to live alone during this time.  With roommates, Community Fellows can expect to pay $350-500 and living alone, $600-800 in our region.

ALUMNI

What do AMI Fellows go on to do after the Fellowship?

AMI's Fellowship helps participants clarify their interest in farm and food systems work and helps them cultivate a toolbox of skills to get there. Just a few of the things AMI alumni have gone on to do include: founding a Permaculture Institute, starting a farm, managing gardens for a non-profit seed company, coordinating an urban farm program, serving in non-profit executive leadership, and furthering their education in pursuit of food system-related graduate degrees. Read more about our alumni here.

How does AMI support alumni?

AMI works with Community Fellows to prepare for their post-fellowship careers, including goal setting, professional growth plans, resume updates, and interview skills. AMI shares job postings, professional development opportunities, and regular updates with alumni. AMI also holds a reunion every other year for Fellows to connect with the larger network of Fellows. 

Can I talk to someone who's done the Fellowship?

We're happy to connect you with our alumni to learn more about their experience. Just let us know!

 

Allegheny Mountain Institute

PO Box 542

Staunton, VA 24402 

 

AMI at Augusta Health

540-886-0160

Fishersville, VA

Allegheny Farm Campus 

540-468-2300

Hightown, VA