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

Phase I

Phase II

Alumni

Application

When can I apply?

Applications for the 2021-2022 Cohort will open in November 2020. Email us if you want to be reminded 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 who you are and what you've done. We also ask for a resume, statement of purpose and contact information for three professional references. 

 

There is a $30 non-refundable application fee for this fully-sponsored opportunity, but we're happy to waive it for U.S. military veterans, individuals participating in Service Corps positions with proof of service, graduates of Highland or Augusta County High Schools, or other extenuating circumstances. 

Do I need to be a farming expert to apply?

No! We look for Fellows that are passionate about creating a more sustainable food system - and have the leadership potential and drive to follow that passion through. Though farming or gardening experience is great, we also appreciate that AMI Fellows come from a variety of backgrounds. We look for Fellows that bring an array of unique skills that complement each other as a team.

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 Phase I?

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

 

May I bring my spouse or partner?  

Though the campus is open to visitors on most weekends, spouses or partners are not permitted to stay on the Allegheny Farm campus with their Fellow during the week. Most weekends guests are able to visit. 

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 is not able to provide health insurance for Fellows at this time. AMI does provide accident coverage during Phase I and worker's compensation during Phase II. 

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. In Phase II, 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 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 work 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.


 

 

Phase I 

What will I learn?

AMI Fellows gain full-season experience growing a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, edible mushrooms, eggs/poultry, and honey. Educational workshops and sessions enhance this hands-on experience, providing training on topics such as: 

  • Full Season Organic Gardening

  • Cooking, Preserving and Fermentation

  • Food Systems and Food Access

  • Nutrition and Wellness

  • Soil and Pest Management

  • Small Animal Husbandry

  • Permaculture Design

  • Beekeeping

  • Herbalism and Foraging

  • Community Development

  • Nonprofit Management ... and much more!

Where would I live?

It's hard not to fall in love with our Allegheny Farm Campus! Set on hundreds of acres in rural Highland County, VA, the farm is situated on an old farmstead at a triple watershed divide and bordered by both the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests. Not only is the soil rich for growing abundant amounts of food, the farm is surrounded by picture-perfect mountain views, bubbling springs and a night sky lit up by the Milky Way.

 

Fellows stay in shared hand-crafted cabins with heat and electricity and a bathhouse nearby. There are two main common areas which include wifi-equipped study spaces, large commercial-style kitchens, and a library. 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! Phase I 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 in Phase I 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.

What would I need to bring?

In addition to food and board, AMI provides bedding , pillows, towels, etc. That means, Fellows need to bring clothes to make them comfortable working in all kinds of weather (think rain jackets, layers, and boots). 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 Phase I cost?

Other than the application fee, there is not a fee to participate in Phase I. During Phase I, AMI provides Fellows with housing and whole-food staples to supplement what food is grown on the farm. Upon successful completion of their Phase I training, AMI Fellows receive a $1,000 stipend.

Ok, so what's the catch?

AMI offers free training to Fellows in Phase I on the understanding that Fellows will turn around and use their skills and energy to build healthy communities in Phase II, the following year of service. At AMI's discretion, Fellows may be asked to repay the costs of Phase I of the Fellowship if they voluntarily leave the program early or fail to commit to or complete Phase II.  

Phase II 

What happens after Phase I?

After Phase I, Phase II Fellows step into roles where they use their acquired knowledge and skills to increase access to fresh, locally grown food in our communities. Phase II is where it all comes together - where Fellows have the opportunity to get involved and make a change. Phase II Fellows work on projects and programs such as developing school gardens and site-based curriculum, developing infrastructure for local food systems, growing food in market gardens, working to increase food access, and teaching nutrition and cooking for a healthy lifestyle.

What do Fellows typically do in between Phases I and II?

The two months between Phases I and II are a great time to rest and recover after the intense learning in Phase I. Fellows often head home, live with friends or do some traveling. Many Fellows also pick up some part-time work around the holidays.

How are Phase II placements determined?

In August, Fellows receive Phase II position possibilities and visit the partner organizations. Then, Fellows and partner organizations make preferences and AMI matches partner organization to Fellows. Fellow preferences are considered as much as possible.

Where do Fellows live in Phase II? How much does it cost?

In Phase II, 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, Phase II Fellows can expect to pay $350-500 and living alone, $600-800 in our region.

Are the Phase II organizations set? Are they always in the region?

Most of our Phase II placements are organizations that we know well and who have proven to provide the Fellow with a good experience.  However, each year, we open an application for Phase II organizations who are interested in hosting a Fellow. New organizations go through a rigorous screening process. 

 

Placements are limited to our local area, 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!

What does a typical month look like in Phase II?

Schedules and typical daily work activities depend on the Phase II 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 Phase I. And finally, workdays allow the grow to mass force and knock out key projects at each others placement sites. 

 

ALUMNI

What do AMI Fellows go on to do after Phase II?

AMI's Fellowship helps participants clarify their interest in farm and food systems work. 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 Phase II Fellows on preparing for life after the Fellowship, 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

Monterey, VA