Here you can find links to articles, internship programs, internship guidebooks, and other resources to help prospective interns and beginning farmers get started.
Small Farm Internship Project – This program, directed by Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, allows interns to work on small farms to learn about farming practices through a structured curriculum, and access to Labor and Industries (L&I) workers compensation insurance. FIP applications are available on the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries website.
Internship Legalities – A 2011 article from the Tilth Quarterly has a brief overview of what to expect and look for in an internship.
Yakima Valley Anti-Human Trafficking Network – (509)-966-5129 This organization supports migrant workers who are interested in working in Yakima Valley by providing resources to a multitude of other organizations who can directly provide assistance.
Tilth Producers’ own internship listings
ATTRA – National directory of paid and unpaid internships
WWOOF – Directory of international farm volunteer opportunities
growfood.org – Directory of domestic and international farm volunteer opportunities
Farm Training Programs
Cultivating Success (Available through WA State and Idaho) – Washington State University and the University of Idaho have several on-farm internship programs available as a series of courses that can be taken individually or entirely for a certificate of completion.
Food to Bank On (Whatcom County) – This three-year farmer incubation project connects beginning sustainable farmers with business training, markets and mentorship while providing farm-fresh product to food banks and shelters.
The Organic Farm School (Greenbank, WA) – Greenbank Farm hosts a full-time, 7-month long experiential program for aspiring farmers seeking to learn and practice the technical and business skills needed to run a small scale organic farm.
Viva Farms Incubator (Mount Vernon, WA) – Viva Farm teaches new farmers how to farm and establish farming as a business (available in English/Spanish).
Cloud Mountain Farm Center (Everson, WA) – Cloud Mountain Farm Center offers paid internships for prospective farmers and educational programs for gardeners.
The Young Farmer Program (Carnation, WA) – The Young Farmer Program at Dog Mountain Farm offers children (ages 5-17) the opportunity to explore small-scale farming with a variety of programs.
Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships (Across US) – ATTRA provides a comprehensive resource for finding internships across the United States for all fifty states.
ATTRA’s Farm Internship Handbook – This guide is for farmers accepting interns.
Greenhorns Field Guide for Beginning Farmers – This guide provides a number of resources about finding the right internships and farmer/agricultural education.
Greenhorns Wikispace – Young farmers can upload and revise pages regarding farms and farming practices
Internships in Sustainable Farming: A Handbook for Farmers – Follow the link for a free download of this guidebook.
General Questions to ask about the farm internship experience:
Visit the potential host farm. Talk to the farmers, workers, past interns, and look at the fields and the infrastructure. Get a feel for the dynamics and the routine if one exists. Look for a well-rounded position. Get exposure to a range of management skills.
Is there an emphasis on education? How are you taught? Will you be primarily used as labor? Will there be set educational hours in a day/week for interns?
Evaluate the amount and type of labor required.
What does a typical work day look like? How long is the season? When are you expected to be at the farm, when can you leave? What are the hours day to day? How many days off a week?
Be clear on compensation.
Is it a paid internship? You and the farmer should understand all terms of the agreement before any employment. Is there a fee or a stipend? Are housing and meals included? Where do you sleep and bathe? Do you cook and eat together or on your own?
Questions to Ask the Farmers:
What kinds of tasks do you give your interns?
How do you handle training?
What kind of employer are you? Do you like to give sets of defined tasks or start with a goal and let your staff figure it out?
How will I be supervised day-to-day?
Do you work a set schedule or work until the work is done?
What will I be learning and doing on your farm this season?
Do you collaborate with other farms hosting interns or tour other farms?
Intern Equipment Checklist
- Sun hat
- Work gloves
- Water vessel
- Sleeping bag
- Medical kit
- Work boots
- Rain gear
- Wool sweater
- Thick work pants
- Secret stash of chocolate