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 in early December of each year. Email us if you want a reminder when they are released!

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. 

What's the application process? When are applications due?

Applications are due February 7. Applications are reviewed when complete in the order received.

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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. Covid-related guest restrictions may be in place.

I have a partner – can we apply together?

Partners 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 but does not provide health insurance. (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 16, 2022) 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 after the official start to travel back to attend graduation. 

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

At this time, AMI is unable to sponsor international applicants and international applicants must supply their own visa. In the past, Fellows have worked with organizations such as World Wide Farmers Exchange for visa arrangements. 

Does AMI fund my travel to get there?

AMI does not currently reimburse Fellows 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 the farm from local airports as able. Applicants are encouraged to apply for the Farm and Food Study Scholarship if funds are needed for travel expenses. 

 

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 2022-2023 Fellowship. By the time of arrival, AMI requires that Fellows be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 or receive an approved religious exemption in addition to completing regular Covid-19 testing.

 

Farm Fellows will operate as a family unit and may be subject to testing prior to arrival, an initial quarantine on the Allegheny Farm, and limits to extracurricular excursions and visitors. Outreach and education components may be reduced if conditions warrant. Programming may remain distanced, masked, and outdoors when possible. Community Fellows will also follow safe workplace precautions.

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.   Click here for a campus map. 

 

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.

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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. 

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Is there any time off?

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

Do 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 has a two-mile-long, rough gravel road driveway and is a mountainous 30-minute drive 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. 

What would I need to bring?

In addition to food and board, AMI provides bedding, pillows, and towels. Fellows need to bring clothes to make them comfortable working in all kinds of warm and cold weather (think especially rain jackets, rain boots, and warm layers), 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.

Is there any financial assistance available?

While AMI offers a tuition-free and paid Fellowship, we recognize that additional financial responsibilities can prevent individuals from participating. AMI offers a scholarship intended to offset personal expenses incurred during the Farm and Food Study for those with demonstrated financial need. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color applicants are given preference for these funds in recognition of the ways systemic racism causes the active exclusion of BIPOC individuals from farming education, land access, and wealth-building opportunities. Get more information here.

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, are asked to leave the program early, do not meet measures for success, 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?

Starting in January, Fellows are paid to put their training and gain experience with innovative farming and education initiatives while furthering the goals of each unique partnership. This involves a year of immersive farm and food work in Highland,  Augusta, or Rockingham Counties including Staunton, Waynesboro, and Harrisonburg, VA. Depending on their Community Action Year placement, Community Fellows may work with a current or future partners to: 

  • Grow and distribute diversified crops on a market-style farm

  • Implement educational sessions for innovative health care

  • Maintain school or community gardens

  • Integrate and teach food and ecological literacy into school activities

  • Support farmers markets and direct-to-consumer programs

  • Develop distribution channels for increased access to healthy foods

  • Support community food coalition activities

  • Mentor 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 2022-2023 Fellowship. We anticipate Fellows completing their community work following COVID precautions, including staying outdoors, 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.

 
 
 
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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, regional conferences and trainings include: 

  • Winter farming skills (maple syrup, pruning, and grafting)

  • Regional Farm Visits

  • Food Systems and Policy

  • Strategies for Facilitating Learning

  • Community development

  • Change-making strategies and program evaluation

  • Preparing for Post-Fellowship steps

How are Community placements determined?

The following year's placements are set in July. In August, Fellows receive 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 conversation as needed to ensure a good fit. 

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

We concentrate our work in Highland, Augusta and Rockingham 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!

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

In addition to internal projects - at the AMI Farm at Augusta Health, Waynesboro Public Schools and the Allegheny Farm, AMI partners with food-based organizations in our region. Regional organizations interested in hosting a Fellow go through a rigorous screening process (learn more here).

What is Fellow Compensation during the Community Action Year?

Fellows work 40 hours per week and are paid an hourly wage of $12.50 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 $450-650 and living alone, $600-900 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, directing a non-profit, teaching in educational gardens, 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!