Forest Gardens for All Intern Opportunity – Northampton, MA

A small team of part time local folks have decided to use their various farm and gardening experiences, agricultural, education and social science degrees, and awareness of the needs of many people in our community to launch Forest Gardens for All.

FGFA is a new not for profit organization in Northampton Massachusetts. We aim to put the structures of Permaculture based food and medicine production in the hands of anyone, regardless of their income or housing status.  In the long term our missions include employing as many people as possible, addressing inequalities in healthy food access in the Connecticut River valley, and directly solving problems that families intertwined with the criminal justice system face through free transportation, job training, and healthy food access.

As our first step in 2012 we are starting a decentralized bicycle based organic nursery.   We offer a unique selection of individual seedlings in pots made of  dried cow manure at local Farmers Markets.  As the season progresses we will begin to offer magical themed plant habitats in ‘air pots’ made of recycled plastic bottles.

Our core group currently works to create food access in Northampton without barriers, red tape, or bureaucracy.  Forest Gardens for All looks to systematize free produce and medicine production through closing the broken loop in our food security system.

We want to maintain as large of a work force as possible to help create jobs for our neighbors and community members.  Currently we are friends using all of our available space to grow about fifty species of vegetables, herbs, and flowers in our rentals in the Northampton area, and in community garden plots .

As soon as we can find available, affordable, we will centralize our operation. Accomplishing our initial goals will help us envision and fund our future space and expansion.

Because our goals include making our products available to as many demographics as possible we are developing a sliding scale pricing system. We offer a variety of sizes and pot choices to customers.  We use pots other gardeners might disregard, industrial food processing containers (like coffee bags), and repurposed containers of many shapes and sizes, to help cut costs and to diversify how gardens are conceptualized.  We also offer locally sourced and industrially sourced containers for more traditional looks and functions.  Our bottom line is a maximum of community spread not total profit.  To us hitting the maximum community spread means getting our potted polycultures to everyone who wants them in our current focus area, while employing the maximum number of people at a job with dignity and (hopefully) sanity.

Part of the mission for 2012 is to place intentional polycultures in public as well as private space.   We hope that, among many other changes, someday this lush valley will again feed its inhabitants.

We use small and slow solutions!

Some potential responsibilities for a 2012 summer or fall intern:

  • Identifying local schools and organization who would appreciate donations of potted polycultures.
  • Planting seeds, transplanting, taking clones, grafting, creating soil mixes, maintaining gardens, biking with a bike cart full of plants, working at farmers markets.
  • Updating our web site with new plant availabilities.
  • Working on print and digital media to help educate people about permaculture and food security.
  • Identifying, writing, and applying for grants.
  • Researching and presenting information on:
    • Equitable potting soil components
    • International community actions resisting corporate takeover of local food systems
    • Non-profit tax and insurance rules and regulations
    • Farm land acquisition

For information, contact Tony Hall at; forestgardensforall@gmail.com

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