The following 101, on finding farm internships and sustainable food system jobs, was contributed by HOMEGROWN member Ethan. Thanks so much, Ethan—and good luck, everyone, in your job searches. Please keep us posted!
Looking to get started in a career as a farmer? Interested in helping build an alternative food system? Want to make a difference by working in the good food field? When looking for traditional jobs, a few common resources might pop into your head: Monster, Career Builder, Craigslist, and the help wanted pages in your local newspaper. But when it comes to finding work in the good food movement, those places often come up empty—or, at best, undercultivated. Below are a few websites that can help you, the aspiring farmer or social change-maker, find the right opportunities for you.
ATTRA provides high value information and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, extension agents, educators, interns, and others involved in sustainable agriculture in the United States. Launched in 1989, the group's internship and apprenticeship directory focuses on sustainable and organic agriculture within the United States, with some listings in Canada. The online tool is very user friendly and easily navigable by state, helping job seekers locate farms in their area that need extra help.
The international network WWOOF helps organic farmers across the globe find temporary interns. In return for your hard work on the farm, participating farmers will provide you with food, lodging, and a memorable experience. My oldest sister WWOOFed at an organic orchid farm in Hawaii and made some lifelong friends from around the world during the two months she was there. WWOOF farmer-partners are often very flexible in scheduling, making this an ideal way to fill an empty summer or a void in your life. Plus, WWOOFing is a great excuse to travel and explore another part of the world.
This e-list is maintained by Tufts University's School of Information Technology and serves as a national “announcement service for jobs, internships, and similar opportunities across the (sustainable) food system spectrum." To subscribe, enter your email and you will receive up-to-date announcements.
This national (and growing) database aims to connect potential employees with farmers, restaurants, and other food-related organizations that need help—representing a broad spectrum of opportunities all across the food system. In addition to searching listings, job seekers can subscribe to email updates about new positions.
The resources above are primarily national tools, but regional websites and organizations often offer even more comprehensive and up-to-date listings; for an example, see the Directory of Organic Farming Apprenticeship Programs from NOFA/Mass in HOMEGROWN's home state of Massachusetts. Got another job source—local, national, or international—to share? Post a comment below, and we'll add it to the list. There's pretty much nothing we like better than adding smart, capable, forward-thinking minds and hands to the food system! For more good food resources of all kinds, check out HOMEGROWN's Find Good Food page. And you can always find more things to make, craft, cook, preserve, plant, grow, and apprentice in the HOMEGROWN 101 library.