A Letter to our Fellows and Community

To all Better Selves Fellows for 2020:

We reach out to you with sadness and tender hearts to let you know that Knoll Farm is postponing the 2020 fellowships in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Every fellow accepted this year will be given a fellowship next year.  Current fellows are being given alumni status now to allow you to receive the solidarity grants mentioned below.

We want to share with all our alumni the budget we would have spent this summer in the form of Better Selves Solidarity Grants. This is our effort to build community and stay in relationship when we cannot run the fellowships. We recently received an anonymous gift that enables us to do this.

We did not make this decision to postpone quickly or easily, and in the end it’s not our choice.  We kept alive the possibility of the fellowships until June 10th, out of hope that the VT quarantine could be lifted for the summer.  

Ultimately, we believe most of all in the social contract to keep each other safe. Vermont’s public health regulations for the summer, announced last week, require lengthy isolation for all travelers except those arriving by car which makes the fellowship impossible for far majority of our fellows.     

Many of you are essential workers who have not had any breaks and have especially needed this fellowship. Many of you have gone to great lengths to arrange family and work schedules to come here.   

The relationship between the pandemic and the uprising makes the need to renew and to come together ever more important. Some of you have written to us about this, and so it’s particularly sad that the fellowships can’t happen this summer.  We acknowledge the disappointment, yours and ours, of this decision. And we acknowledge the inequity of being in Vermont, having this farm, and being unable to share it with you.  All of this is painful.

We also want to acknowledge that the communities in which you live and work very likely need you now more than ever.  In part because of this, and mostly to advance the gift economy and to stay connected, we are paying forward what we would have spent on these fellowships to our alumni in the form of Better Selves Solidarity Grants. 

Being a refuge is our long work. We will be here next year and through the years ahead.   When it’s safe and right, we will come together in person.  

With respect and gratitude, Peter, Helen, Mandy and all of us at Knoll Farm

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