Finding a Foodie Internship
Finding a Foodie Internship
A “foodie internship” is for students who are interested in the food movement, either as an intended farmer, or just interested in understanding our food system from a different perspective. Foodie internships can be for horticulture majors, minors, or those enrolled in the Organic Agriculture Certificate or the Local Food Systems Certificate. There are numerous opportunities for foodie internships and apprenticeships throughout the US and around the world.
As the food movement has matured, the number of type of foodie internship has grown exponentially. It has reach a point where almost every city and county has an active organization (or multiple organizations) with a mission to improve the delivery of fresh affordable produce and healthy food to consumers, while insuring a fair profit for farmers. Organic farms, community gardens, farm to table restaurants, and farmer’s markets are springing up everywhere and there is a national shortage of well trained and educated individuals to support these operations. That is where a horticulture major, minor or certificate holder can find a career. An internship is a chance to explore this possibility and gain valuable practical experience.
When looking for foodie internships, it’s important to read the job descriptions carefully and recognize that there are many people and non-profits entering the realm of food production and food systems. Some of these groups have good intentions and lots of non-profit experience, often with very little knowledge or experience in food production (i.e. long on ideas, short on resources). The best opportunities are those that have staff or partners with sound knowledge and experience growing food and can provide a true mentorship experience. Those opportunities that expect interns or apprentices to start up a farm from scratch have good intentions but are dreaming. Opportunities that do not, at least, provide housing and some kind of stipend should be scrutinized to determine what the true benefit is for the intern. It may be the perfect entry into a career field, or the experience may be a nightmare operation with no resources or ability to implement stated goals. The best internships are with organizations or small farms with years of experience, that pay a stipend or provide a food allowance, provide housing (or adequate salary to cover housing) and have experienced mentors.
Study abroad internships rarely pay anything. Many, require participants to pay for airfare + housing + meals, and some even tack on a fee for the experience. As a general rule, it is typical to pay your way to and from an abroad experience, but the better opportunities at least provide a bed to sleep on and meals. UGA students, interested in working abroad should contact the UGA CAES Global Studies Office to learn about possible scholarships and work experiences that are vetted by the college and provide a structured learning environment.
The best websites to find US Foodie Internships are:
- Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
- National Center for Appropriate Technology
- Sustainable Living and Farm Jobs
- Good Food Jobs