The 2017 AMI Fellowship Application is now available!
The AMI Fellowship is a funded, 18-month program that prepares and empowers individuals to build vibrant, healthy communities.
Application Deadline: February 1, 2017
During Phase I (April 30-November 1, 2017), a cohort of passionate individuals committed to revitalizing our foodshed, live and study together for six months at the mountain farm campus in the Highlands of Virginia. Here, they grow most of their own food while developing a deeper understanding of the connections between sustainable food systems and community wellness, through hands-on experience, workshops and training.
Applicants must submit the completed application, three professional references, and a $50 application fee by February 1, 2017. All required materials, including references, must be submitted before the deadline for application processing to begin. Application fee may be waived for U.S. military veterans, individuals participating in service corps positions with proof of service, or other extenuating circumstances.
Applicants must be physically fit, able to lift 50 pounds, walk distances up and down steep hills, work outdoors for extended periods of the day, and be comfortable living and working communally as a team in a remote, mountain setting.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions or concerns.
Interviews will begin by March 1. Final selections will be made no later than March 20.
Phase I: Farm Fellowship
April 30 - November 1, 2017
In the first phase of the program, Fellows connect to the food system as they live, work, and study on our beautiful mountain farm campus in rural Highland County, Virginia. On the farm, Fellows gain full season experience in sustainable growing methods, small animal husbandry, and rotational livestock grazing on a diversified farm. In addition, fellows study topics such as permaculture design, whole foods preparation and preservation, wellness and nutrition, land stewardship, leadership, and community development through hands-on experience on the farm, expert guest instructors, field trips and daily educational sessions. After learning and working from 8 am - 5 pm, Fellows enjoy a communal dinner of farm fresh foods. Fellows spend approximately 40 hours per week learning and studying on the farm, with occasional evening and weekend commitments. Upon successful completion of Phase I, AMI Fellows will receive a $1,000 stipend.
Full Season Organic Gardening
Small Animal Husbandry
Cooking, Preserving & Fermentation
Nutrition & Wellness
... and much more!
It’s hard not to fall in love with our farm campus. Not only is our soil rich for growing abundant amounts of food, we are surrounded with picture-perfect mountain views, bubbling springs and a night sky lit up the Milky Way. Set on hundreds of acres of land in rural Highland County, the farm is situated on an old farmstead at a Triple Watershed Divide and is bordered by both the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests. Off the mountain, Fellows are welcomed into a rich Appalachian culture and close-knit community of Highland County. Just 30 minutes away, the town of Monterey offers a full Farmer's Market, several restaurants, and community events throughout the summer.
AMI Fellows apply their Phase I training as they work on community projects focused on building healthy communities through food and education. Working with AMI and other Partner Organizations, Senior Fellows build organizational capacity and launch new programs such as building community gardens, developing school gardens and site based curriculum, advocating for sustainable land use, and teaching nutrition and cooking for a healthy lifestyle. Fellows work 40 hours per week with exact hours dependent on the Partner Organization placement. Occasional evening and weekend commitments are required.All Fellows are assured placements, and each Fellow's interests are considered as much as possible when determining work placements. Supported by the AMI network, Senior Fellows continue to meet regularly for leadership training, professional development, and permaculture design study. Fellows receive a monthly stipend of $1,500 (subject to payroll taxes) and a Permaculture Design Certificate upon successful completion of the year.
What do our alumni do after graduation?
Our alumni continue to make an impact after completing
the two-phase Fellowship Program. Former Fellows are now
nonprofit directors, environmental educators, food entrepreneurs, permaculture designers, graduate students, sustainable farmers and lifelong leaders in the local foods movement.
Tom was trained in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Ecology at the University of Michigan. He went on to manage environmental work for electric and gas utilities in Michigan and New York, believing that it would be easier to influence corporations to behave responsibly from within.
He later founded a computer, software and services company to promote the advantages of the newly introduced personal computers. He also created an organization to heal ailing businesses, eventually traveling the country to help businesses get back on their feet.
He moved to Kaua’i and helped government leaders and the island utility to explore various sustainability issues, including local food, renewable energy, housing and transportation issues. As a faculty member he was able to facilitate student learning at the high school and college level.
A lifelong organic gardener, he hopes to promote the training of a new generation of farmers and local food advocates to build greater physical, social and financial health in our local communities.
Sarah grew up in Nelson County in the mountains of Virginia, so she felt right at home when she moved to Highland County in 2011 to participate as one of the founding Fellows at the Allegheny Mountain School, now Allegheny Mountain Institute. While there, she became a member of the Highland County community and has lived there since.
Sarah is the Orchardist and Cellar Master for Big Fish Cider, Co. based in Monterey, Virginia. She is also on staff at The Highland Center. In addition to being a board member for the Allegheny Mountain Institute, she serves on the Highland County Economic Development Authority, Highlanders for Responsible Development, and the Highland Tourism Council.
Growing up, Sarah first learned to care for plants from her parents in their garden and yard. After going to the University of Virginia to study architecture and environmental science, she discovered landscape architecture and went on to get a Masters Degree in that field from the University of Georgia.
Sarah is married to Joshua Simmons, a Highland native, and the County Building Official as well as a general contractor. Together, they enjoy spending time outside, hiking and camping with their two dogs. They also caretake a small farm while they make plans for their own farm. Sarah also enjoys making pottery, jewelry, baskets and working with wood.
Jessa joins AMI after earning a Master's in Education from the University of Washington, where she studied and worked in the fields of nutrition and garden education, non-profit management, and curriculum development.
She strives to empower all ages to grow and enjoy healthy foods. She loves the pop that canning jars make when they seal, the satisfaction kids get from pulling up carrots, and hiking with her Highland County-native husband, Chris Swecker.
Urban Farm Intern
AMI is hiring an Urban Farm Intern for the Urban Farm at Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton, VA, who will work under the mentorship of the Farm Manager to carry out all aspects of fruit and vegetable production, including crop planning, planting, harvesting, post-harvest processing, and sales. He/she will receive extensive training in market garden production techniques, organic methods, and permaculture design and will have the opportunity to take on significant responsibility. This is a paid full-time educational internship from February 1, 2017 through November 30, 2017.
To apply, please click here
Garden Education Intern
AMI is hiring a Garden Education Intern for the Urban Farm at Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton, VA. The Garden Education Intern will work closely with AMI Urban Farm staff to carry out on-farm classes, work study programs, Farm to School nutrition education, workshops, and events. He/she will receive extensive training in garden-based education from experienced horticulture educators and have the opportunity to collaborate on curriculum and lesson planning. In addition, the Garden Education Intern will participate in weekly farm operations including planting, harvesting, and post-harvest processing. This is a paid full-time educational internship from February 1, 2017 through November 30, 2017.
To apply, please click here