Allegheny Mountain Institute Revises it’s Farm Fellowship Program
The Allegheny Mountain Institute, known as AMI, was founded in 2011 in Highland County. The organization began when it was noticed that people in the region were not growing gardens as they used to. AMI now offers a Fellowship Program to teach skills on growing food and to share those skills with others.
Jessa Fowler has more. She is the Fellowship Director for the Allegheny Mountain Institute.
“The Allegheny Mountain Institute is a non-profit with a mission of cultivating healthy communities through food and education,” says Fowler. “We’ve had a fellowship in western Highland County for over ten years now, also have had a couple of different farm to institution projects, including a hospital farm at Augusta Heath.”
AMI’s Farm Fellowship is gearing up for this year’s session and there are some changes planned for the program.
“The AMI Farm Fellowship is now a six-month program where fellows live up on our farm campus, on the Allegheny Farm, in western Highland County,” says Fowler. “They’ll be working with our Farm Manager to learn to grow food and then also to practice cottage industry skills to learn how to do things like canning or fermenting, so that they could have a value-added farm related business. Fellows also participate in education, so they will receive workshops and educational sessions and some of those will be open to the public. Fellows will also be at our farmers market selling produce, here at the Highland Farmers Market. Fellows will also be helping to grow and prepare food for donation into the Highland County area.”
AMI’s Farm Fellowship program runs from May 1 through October 31.
“The Fellowship used to have a second year attached, so that fellows would work with non-profits in the area,” says Fowler. “We still have fellows in those roles this year, but we anticipate making some changes the following year in 2024. This year’s fellows will have fewer classroom educational sessions and more hands-on farm experience. That’s been a value of AMI’s from the beginning, and so kind of dialing back some of that classroom aspect to have more on-farm experience. We anticipate it being a slightly smaller group, around four fellows, than in the past. They are also going to be getting paid a little bit more. They’ll be getting a $1,700 per month stipend and free room and board and then AMI will also be providing some group pantry budget. So, things that we can’t grow on the farm, AMI will be providing some funds for the fellows to buy those things on their own.”
Applications are now being accepted for the program. The application due date is March 1.
“Though we have projects over in Augusta County, our Board is very dedicated and concerned about our home county where the fellowship originated,” says Fowler. “And so, though we’ve made some changes and have a new farm manager, we are really excited to continue plugging into the community in ways that we have done over these past years – the farmers market and with our donations and with a variety of workshops and education.”
More information is available at www.amifellows.org/apply