Category Archives: Work and Internships

A growing number of young Americans are leaving desk jobs to farm

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Liz Whitehurst dabbled in several careers before she ended up here, crating fistfuls of fresh-cut arugula in the early-November chill.

The hours were better at her nonprofit jobs. So were the benefits. But two years ago, the 32-year-old Whitehurst – who graduated from a liberal arts college and grew up in the Chicago suburbs – abandoned Washington, D.C., for this three-acre farm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

FARMERSShe joined a growing movement of highly educated, ex-urban, first-time farmers who are capitalizing on booming consumer demand for local and sustainable foods and, experts say, could have a broad impact on the food system.

For only the second time in the last century, the number of farmers under 35 years old is increasing, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest Census of Agriculture.

Continue reading A growing number of young Americans are leaving desk jobs to farm

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Jason Silverman on his farming experience

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Jason is a graduate of the Sustainable Food and Farming Program at UMass Amherst

CONWAY — Aging farmers own a collective $1.8 billion in farming infrastructure and land throughout Massachusetts, according to Land For Good, a nonprofit promoting New England agriculture.

That combined with rising property values — which have increased steadily since 2006 based on United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics — pose problems for first-generation farmers who don’t already own land or have access to investment capital. Nationally, farm real estate averaged $3,020 per acre in 2015, up about $1,000 over 2006.

Continue reading Jason Silverman on his farming experience

Women in Agriculture Series at UMass

Women make up nearly half of the global agricultural workforce but receive much less funding, land, input, and training than men.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has spotlighted the gender gap in agriculture as a key obstacle to sustainable development – here’s a great infographic with statistics around this issue.
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We want to take these stats and turn them on their head. We’ve rallied women entrepreneurs in agriculture locally and regionally who have the capacity to inspire others to create a better food system.
We’re inviting the campus community and the public to join us to learn about the successes and challenges of their journeys.
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There are three lectures in the series, with one taking place each month this fall (click the title for details):
The series has been organized and coordinated by Stockbridge instructor Angela Roell and lecturer Sarah Berquist and the flyer was designed by SFF student Annalisa Flynn.
Each lecture has its own Facebook event (links are included above). Those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP to individual events on Facebook.
We’d appreciate if you could pass along this information to anyone else you think may be interested. Questions and feedback can be directed via email (abthorpe@umass.edu).
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Learn about the UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture! 

or…

The Shambhala Worker Prophecy

As students return to universities around the world and I return to my role as a professor of Sustainable Food and Farming, I am thinking about how to maintain the freedom of thought and action that I experience during the summer months while returning to work within a hierarchical institution of power and control.  Students often wonder the same thing…….

I ask each fall – how do we maintain our sense of freedom and hope when we are faced with the sometimes oppressive  university hierarchy?  In 2003, I addressed this question during a graduation ceremony speech in which I claimed the key was compassion for all and knowledge of the connectedness of all things. I adapted an essay by Joanna Macy for this speech which I renamed “the Shambhala worker” (with the author’s permission of course).

I’ve posted it here for you

Namaste…..

Volunteering for the Amherst Summer Farmers’ Market

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The following is a description of UMass Sustainable Food and Farming graduate Sam Bavelock’s experience working at the Amherst Farmers’ Market.  Great story…..

cowOver the summer in 2016, I had the opportunity to volunteer for the Summer Farmers’ Market here in Amherst, MA!  I had been helping out with the Winter Market and wanted to continue to help throughout the summer and fall seasons.  I was eager to be outside, note the differences between the two markets, as well as engage with community members, farmers, homesteaders, artists, bakers, and more, in the discussion about food. Continue reading Volunteering for the Amherst Summer Farmers’ Market

Student Forest Garden Manager Job

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The Stockbridge School of Agriculture is seeking applications for a Student Forest Garden Manager to manage all aspects of the Forest Garden at the UMass Agricultural Learning Center (ALC) this season. The Forest Garden is a 2 year old 1/4 acre garden located at the ALC with the following goals and objectives.

  • A permaculture demonstration garden and an aesthetically-pleasing leisure place for the university and
  • A site for active and hands-on learning by students and community members where workshops and classes are held.
  • The Food Forest produces an abundance of food and medicinals for the community and to be donated to those in need.
  • The Food Forest is a place of opportunity where students, faculty, and other individuals make a connection to where food comes from and begins to understand a new type of agriculture which works with natural systems.

Responsibilities include:

  • Pre-season, 3-5hrs/week (Late April): Assisting with irrigation planning and ram pump irrigation workshop. Working with other land managers either with the UMass Student Farm or Food For All garden to market or donate food from the food
  • Summer Season, 15 hrs/week (May-Sept)- Establish irrigation system, mulching and weeding existing beds, sheet mulching existing plantings, establish understory plantings, labeling,
  • Fall Season, 3-5 hrs/week (Sept-late Oct/early Nov) hosting UMass permaculture classes for workdays, harvest & deliver fall crops, prepare garden for winter

Compensation for is $12/hr.

Required Qualifications:

  • Current UMass Sustainable Food & Farming student with at least 1 of the following completed courses permaculture course (Intro to Permaculture or Permaculture Design and Practice)
  • Experience with establishing and caring for perennial food systems either with UMass Permaculture Initiative or other small farm or landscaping experience
  • Excellent leadership and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently in the field
  • Commit to 15 hours/week

Desired Qualifications

  • PDC Certificate holder
  • Prior coordinating or leadership position with UMass Permaculture Initiative or equivalent.

To Apply: Send Lisa DePiano a copy of your resume with 2 professional or academic references and a paragraph describing your interest & qualifications at: ldepiano@umass.edu by Friday March 31 st 2017.

 

Veteran Farm Training

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Jake Alexander welcomes Chip Pinder as the new farm manager for Vets and Veggies!

We want to congratulate one of our recent Stockbridge alums, Chip Pinder, who is the new farm manager at Vets and Veggies in Athol, MA.  Chip completed the Bachelor of Sciences degree program in Sustainable Food and Farming in the UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture just last month.

We hope you will help support this new community building and training operation for Veterans at their GoFundMe link.

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Vets and Veggies offers housing to veterans that are interested in learning how to become a sustainable farmer. Through a small scale sustainable farming operation veterans will be guided through the process of planning crops, planting, integrated pest management, and proper harvesting techniques. Veterans will work together and create a local food systems for the residents in the community.

Here are a few resources that may be of use to Veterans interested in farming:

The Stockbridge School of Agriculture welcomes Veterans to join our Bachelor of Sciences degree program in Sustainable Food and Farming.  For those Vets who are not able to join us in Amherst, MA, you may be interested in either our 15-credit online Certificate Program or our online 60-credit Associate of Sciences degree.

Jobs Listings Related to Sustainable Food Systems

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I have a list of list serves along with a bit of advice on finding good work here:

https://stockbridge.cns.umass.edu/SFF-good-work

In addition, here are more resources compiled by the C0rnucopia Institute.

Ag & Food LLM program at the University of Arkansashttp://agfoodlawjobs.blogspot.com/.  To announce an opening, email Sara Hiatt  at LLM@uark.edu.

Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems and other programs http://forms.vermontlaw.edu/career/carpos.cfm or email a job description to Shelly Parker at Career Services, sparker@vermontlaw.edu

 

Women, Food, and Agriculture Network (WFAN), https://www.wfan.org/

Idealistwww.idealist.com

 

Good Food Jobs https://www.goodfoodjobs.com/

 

Southern SAWG http://www.ssawg.org/jobs

 

The Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network www.wsffn.org. Write Clara Duff, Development Associate, WSFFN, cduff@wsffn.org, to subscribe to their listserv.

 

International Association of Culinary Professionals. Email margaret@iacp.com to share opportunity with membership. Check out our newly launched website here: www.iacp.com.

 

Sustainable Agriculture Listings (National)

ATTRA Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships List: This directory of on-the-job learning opportunities in sustainable and organic agriculture has been published since 1989 as a tool to help farmers and apprentices connect with each other. It is available for farms in the U.S and its territories (there are a few in Canada and the Caribbean as well). Anyone can browse the listings for free. As a subscriber, you can maintain a personalized listing to connect with internship seekers. The listed farms are primarily seeking interns/apprentices from North America

BackdoorJobs.com has a “Sustainable Living and Farm Jobs Page” that lists employment, internship and volunteer opportunities throughout the country.

The Farm-Based Education Network lists food and farm jobs

Helpx.net “is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.”

Local Harvest, though not a job search site, lists many small, local farms. If you’re looking for an internship, apprenticeship, or job in a particular area, you might want to look up farms this way and contact a farm of interest directly.

Orion Magazine lists jobs related to the environment, including some farming and agriculture-related jobs.

Sustainable Agriculture Jobs, Internships, and Apprenticeships is a facebook group formed to create an outlet for some of the sustainable agriculture-related opportunities frequently posted on the Tuft’s COMFOOD listserv. Includes

WWOOF-USA lists opportunities for “Visitors, or ‘WWOOFers.’” They “spend about half a day on a host farm, learn about the organic movement and sustainable agriculture, and receive room and board – with no money exchanged between hosts and WWOOFers. WWOOF is an educational and cultural exchange program. WWOOFing is a way to learn practical farming skills, be part of the organic agriculture movement, and experience the heart of American agrarian culture.”

Stewards of Irreplaceable Lands (SOIL) is “Canada’s Sustainable Farm Apprenticeship Program.

Sustainable Agriculture Listings (Regional/Local)

North East Workers On Organic Farms (NEWOOF) is a regional farm apprenticeship placement service sponsored by the New England Small Farm Institute. NEWOOF annually publishes an annotated list of farms, primarily in the northeast, seeking apprentices.

Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) lists jobs on organic farms throughout the Northeastern U.S.; NOFA NY also has an Online Apprenticeship Directory

Cornell Cooperative Extension County Association Positions – lists jobs available through the Cooperative Extension Association by County.

Cornell University Jobs – Lists jobs available through Cornell University.

General Agriculture Listings

AgCareers.com is a good source for finding employment in a range of agricultural fields. 

AgGrad.com is a new website that posts jobs and internships for aspiring agriculture professionals.

Agriculture Jobs allows you to search job boards, company career pages and associations for USA Agriculture jobs.

Agri-Management Group lists jobs submitted by employers; jobs are searchable onfarmjobsearch.com.

AgriSeek combines a worldwide news service with an interactive business directory and international online job market focusing on agriculture and related fields.

AgriSupport Online helps people looking for careers in agriculture.

CareerBuilder.com has an agriculture job listing section.

Job-Applications.com lists free applications and jobs for some of the nation’s largest farm and heavy equipment companies.

Learn4Good lists agriculture jobs in the USA and internationally.

Nationaljob.com lists agriculture jobs.

PickingJobs.com has information on seasonal jobs picking fruit and vegetables in the USA and internationally

The Science Societies Career Center lists jobs, and links to the American Society of AgronomyCrop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America webpages.

United States Department of Agriculture posts government jobs in agriculture.

International Job Listings and Opportunities

Agriseek.com has a listing of international agriculture jobs

BASF often has many international jobs listed.

CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) “is a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future.” Job vacancies are listed on their website. 

Devex.com lists jobs in international development related to agriculture.

Goabroad.com lists agriculture jobs overseas.

Indeed.com lists international agriculture jobs.

JuJu’s job search engine can help you find international agriculture jobs.

Learn4good.com lists international agriculture jobs by location.

Transitions Abroad lists various organizations that provide opportunities or facilitate doing farmwork abroad. Some of the sites listed on Transitions Abroad may already be listed in our international listings.

USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service “links U.S. agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities and global food security.

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) provides opportunities to work on farms worldwide.

Ecological Farming Association lists posted jobs in agricultural and related fields

 

 

Young farmers wanted as generation ages

 By Caitlin Andrews  –  June 05. 2016
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Phil and Becky Brand hold their 4-month old son Tom at their farmstand at Brandmoore Farm in Rollinsford. Photo by John Huff/Fosters.comr a caption

 

When you picture a New England farm, it might look something like McKenzie’s Farm.

Owners Jock and Annie McKenzie purchased the original 5.5 acres of land in Milton in 1987. Half the land was riddled with rocks and brush, and took two years to become plantable and yield a crop.

Now, the main farm is 80 acres, with another 20 acres being leased in Milton Mills. McKenzie’s has survived many calamities, from struggling to get off the ground and turn a profit, to losing an entire crop of strawberries to black vine weevil in 1999, to dealing with the constant threat of marauding deer and porcupines.

Sometime in the future, McKenzie’s will face another farming challenge: changing hands to a new owner. Luckily for Jock, 70, and Annie, 66, their oldest son, Brett McKenzie, 31, is Continue reading Young farmers wanted as generation ages

Lets talk about jobs in sustainability

The University of Massachusetts recently announced a collaboration among three academic departments, establishing the new UMass Amherst School of Earth and Sustainability.  While many students are attracted to the concept of sustainability, some wonder about opportunities for employment after graduation.  Here are a few thoughts on “jobs in sustainability” addressed to those students who have chosen to major in Sustainable Food and Farming, one of the 10 undergraduate majors offered by the new School.

Sustainable Food and Farming Jobs

Sustainable Food and Farming students are offered guidance throughout their time in college to seek and find their calling (career).   When students in this major take Junior Writing for example, they explore the concept of Good Work, which according to economist E.F. Schumacher should...

  1. Provide us with a decent living (food, clothing, housing)
  2. Enable us to perfect their natural gifts & abilities
  3. Allow us to serve other people to free us from our egocentricity
While students are often inspired by these powerful ideas, parents want to know about JOBS! 

So we list resources that provide students with access to internships and jobs on our Stockbridge School of Agriculture web page.  We also provide examples of the diverse nature of employment opportunities after graduation by listing the early career paths chosen by our recent graduates.  And we know that about 30% of the farmers in New England will retire in the next 10 years and 90% of them have no young person farming alongside them to take over the farm.  Trends analyses suggest sustainable food and farming is one of the hottest growing professions in America.

bfnOf course, entry to this profession is a challenge.  Access to land, finance and competition from industrial farming that exploits the land and people make more sustainable ways of growing and marketing food difficult.  But there is help.  The Massachusetts Beginning Farmer Network for example, is one of the local organizations that have emerged over the past few years to help young people navigate this rapidly changing situation.

Looking Ahead with Alan AtKisson

Our students know that we are living in a time of rapid transformation, not only for the New England food system, but for every biological and technological system on the planet.

According to futurist and sustainability pioneer, Alan AtKisson, who wrote in Sustainability is Dead – Long Live Sustainability

“people dedicated to promoting sustainability ideas and innovations—are needed in every field, in ever increasing numbers. 

“We need, especially:

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“The artists, to help us feel the gravity of our predicament, to facilitate our envisioning a more beautiful way of life, and to inspire us to strive for better things;

“The scientists and engineers, to find solutions, inventions, new ideas that can rapidly transform our way of life;sustainable-business

“The designers, to redesign virtually everything, and to fuse beauty and functionality in a transformed world;

“The business people, to reimagine and redirect the flows of money and investment and talent in ways that can recreate the world while enhanc- ing global prosperity;

503_400_occupy_painting“The activists, to call attention to those issues about which societies at large are in denial or unable to act because of systemic or hegemonic forces;

“The average citizens, so-called, to reimagine themselves as global citi- zens, to enthusiastically support change efforts, and to dare to reach for their own aspirations for a better world;

“The professionals, so-called, such as those in health care or the law or international development, to change the standards of practice in their profession and to lend their considerable weight to a general movement for change;

“The politicians, to motivate us with inspiring rhetoric, to frame new policies that encourage transformation, and to tear down obstacles to innovation and transformation;

“The educators, to prepare current and future generations for a great responsibility: directing human development toward sustainability, and beyond.susteduc

“If a critical mass of people in all walks of life seriously take the charge to make transformation happen and if they are supported with widespread communication networks, resources, and incentives, then transformation will happen, and sustainability will become an attainable dream.

“And transformation will enrich us, not impoverish us. It will enrich us spiritually, socially, and economically. We will know our purpose more profoundly, live together more compassionately, and develop wealth more equitably. There is so much work to be done that there will be jobs for all the generations of life to come after us.”               Note: the long quote above is from “Sustainability is Dead.

Sustainability Education in Food and Farming

Those of us who teach in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture are inspired by the words of Alan AtKisson and are working to help students learn how to navigate in this rapidly changing world.  We have created new classes such as Agricultural Leadership and Community Education and Tools for Life, and we encourage students to gain real-world experience through internships and apprenticeships.

The Sustainable Food and Farming major at UMass helps prepare a student for both life and livelihood. 

Many of us believe that the work of our new School of Earth and Sustainability is to create an educational environment in which students may acquire information, knowledge, and wisdom.  In addition to gaining basic skills and subject matter knowledge, students must be guided to clarify their core values, and to examine their behavior in the context of these values.  In this process students  are challenged to discover their place as citizens of the world, by constructing a sense of self beyond the individual-self to include the family-self, community-self, and global-self.

sfebannerThis approach seems to have made the Sustainable Food and Farming major attractive to many students who search to find meaning in their lives, their studies, and their intended careers.  In fact, this major has grown from just 5 students to over 150 in the past 10 years.

The Sustainable Food and Farming major provides students with the opportunity to build their own major, guided by experienced faculty who help them make choices among a diverse array of course offerings.  In addition to the traditional career path of food production and marketing, students may explore the rapidly growing interest areas of food and land policy, as well as community-based agricultural education, permaculture, urban agriculture, and much more. CurriculumColor

The Stockbridge School of Agriculture is pleased to be one of the three founding departments in the new College of Earth and Sustainability, as well as an integral part of the history of UMass dating back 150 years to Mass Aggie.  The story of the remarkable growth of the Sustainable Food and Farming major and the opportunities available to students today may be found on our blog page.

Its surely a good time to be a Stockie!

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If you want to learn more about the major, check us out here: SFF Major at UMass.  Or check out our ONLINE classes in Sustainable Food and Farming which will allow you to earn a Certificate or Associate of Sciences degree fully online.

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