Troy Community Farm Internships
Our 2015 Internship Application is now available!
Continue reading below for more information about interning at the Troy Kids' Garden, or visit the Community GroundWorks' Internship Opportunities page for information about all of our intern programs.
What do they do?
Farm interns work in every aspect of vegetable production on our certified organic urban farm including: seeding and transplanting from our passive solar greenhouse, composting, cover cropping, weeding, mulching, trellising, bed prep, pruning, harvesting, and post-harvest handling. Interns also assist with marketing our crop through our CSA and weekly on-site farmstand.
Available Positions: All farm interns receive the same training and education, as well as access to “farmer food” and our u-pick CSA flower and herb garden. (Farmer food is blemished or unsold produce that is available to farm staff, interns, and volunteers.) All these positions are educational internships and should be considered as such, whether or not they are paid. Paid interns are required to work at least 300 hours over the season and roughly 20 hours per week during the height of the season. They also receive a stipend of $2175. Volunteer interns are required to work at least 200 hours over the season and roughly 8 or 15 hours per week. They also receive a Market Share CSA membership. Priority for paid internships is given to applicants who have worked on our farm before and/or have previous experience on other farms.
Schedule: Ideally interns will work 20 hours per week through the height of the season (May through August). Interns who wish to start in April would work 8 to 12 hours per week for that month; and those who continue on into the fall could work anywhere from 8 to 20 hours per week in September and October. Our field schedule is: Mondays, 7 to 3 (3:30 on class days); Tuesdays, 7 to noon; Wednesdays 7 to 3; and Fridays, 7 to 12. All interns are required to be at the farm on Mondays for the weekly field tour and intern intensive day as well as the intern classes. Interns are also required to attend the field trip, which will be on a Tuesday afternoon in July or August from noon to 6:00 PM. Interns design their own schedule with the Farm Director within the above parameters.
Professional Development: All farm interns attend our series of formal intern classes on Mondays from 2:00 to 3:30 PM beginning on May 19th and ending on August 25th. The class series covers topics such as greenhouse production, soils, cover crops, irrigation, starting your own farm, and pest management, as well as several elective topics that interns choose as a group. There is also a field trip to a nearby vegetable farm, scheduled for a Tuesday afternoon in July or August. See the 2013 Intern Class Schedule.
Interns help to distribute the CSA share on at least one Thursday evening from 3:00 to 6:45 PM. Working the CSA pickup provides an important opportunity to interact with the community that eats our food. As a symbolic graduation from the farm internship program, interns can choose to participate in the intern solo week during the third week of October. For that week the farmers step aside and the interns harvest, pack, and deliver the CSA share all on their own.
All farm interns receive a copy of the Troy Community Farm Intern Training Manual. The manual provides detailed information about how things work at the farm, and includes copies of all the farm’s planning and record keeping documents, such as our planting schedule and crop spacing guide. Interns use the manual as a learning tool, as a reference while working at the farm, and as a lasting resource once they leave the farm. The written manual in combination with weekly formal instruction, hands-on experience working side-by-side with the farmers, and increasing responsibility supervising others at the farm gives interns a solid foundation in small-scale organic farming.
Interns will also receive access to professional development opportunities from other Community GroundWorks' programs.
Why do they love it?
Interns walk away with knowledge, skills, fond memories, and new perspectives on life. Read what interns have to say about their experiences on the farm:
"With all of the ups and downs, successes and failures, I felt like I was part of the process. It felt like it was my farm too, and I had a sense of pride when I'd look at the beautiful leeks snuggled in their deep mulch, or the growing broccoli under its protective row covering. I feel a confidence about getting that farm of my own that I didn't have before."
- Debra Willis, 2013
"The emphasis on education at Troy was very evident and much appreciated, from the weekly farm tours, to the weekly classes, to the book discussion to the intern presentations to the field trip. I felt like I was able to listen in and participate in the farm decision-making process as it happened, not just do work and ask questions afterwards."
-Diane Farsetta, 2013
"This was the most real learning experience I have ever particiapted in and it affected me greatly."
-Eli Mandel, 2013
"Troy has truly taught me to pay attention--to the people around me, the technique with which I approach even the smallest of daily tasks, their plants and their wants and needs, the joy of a mouthful of food that you grew right up out of the dirt. Thank you for such a great summer."
-Erin Crabb, 2013
"Perhaps the most beneficial characteristic of the internship for us aspiring farmers is the comprehensive educational approach taken by Claire, Jake and Julie. From day one, the impression is given that the development of us, the interns, is of primary concern. Significant time is spent laboring in the field (an important lesson in and of itself), but much time is also spent on field tours, selected course instruction, farm-task prioritization rationale, anecdotal lessons learned from past years, and detailed explanation of the management systems in place at Troy."
– Phil Weyers, 2012
"This internship gave me the opportunity to be part of a program that should be a model for other internship programs. I hope to utilize both the practical farming techniques and organizational skills that were modeled and expected of us for other future endeavors. I would recommend this internship to any person who is looking to gain experience in successful organic vegetable production."
– Sara Randle, 2012
"Another great aspect of the internship was learning how financially viable small scale organic farming can be! From experience working at the farm stand to the classes, discussions, and handouts, it was very motivating to see how mindful practices can create such a flourishing, deeply rooted business as Troy Farm."
– Sadie Sturgeon, 2012
"Solo week was a great way to end the internship on Troy Farm. Back in April when I started, I remember feeling nervous on whether or not I would be ready or qualified to take over a farm for a week. But these nerves were nonexistent by the time solo week arrived because I felt so confident taking charge with all of the information I acquired over the last 6 months on the farm. Solo week was especially symbolic for me, because I felt like I evolved from my position as an intern to become a leader."
– Steph Armstead, 2012
"I am starting a small farm operation next year, and the planning tools and general farming knowledge gained at Troy will be extremely helpful to my efforts. The experience was both empowering and humbling, and has caused me to be more cautious and methodical about starting out on my own. I am extremely grateful to the managers at Troy for being so open and honest with us interns, and for being such good teachers and motivators."
– Eric Udelhofen, 2012
"Perhaps the most interesting thing I find myself thinking about after this season is something not specific to farming per se. Though the stereotypical farmer lives in an isolated setting and spends his days in the cab of a combine or tractor, what made my experience at Troy so meaningful were the interactions we had as a farm team; the community that was built on the foundation of our shared work."
– Wayde Lawler, 2012
"When I started my internship at Troy Community Farm this season, I did have a couple of years experience working on other vegetable CSA farms. I had come to love being outdoors and growing vegetables, and I knew I wanted to farm. But it is a different animal to work at a farm solely as an employee. The things I wanted to know, like the behind the scenes work, looking at the farm as a whole from before the season started until the beds were cleared in the fall, could not be answered readily at those farms. So I was very excited that I was offered the internship at Troy Community Farm. From the first day I knew this was the place I needed to be."
– Kara Sparks, 2011
"I now feel like I have a base of knowledge that in future seasons can be expanded and built on more easily, as I won’t be trying to synthesize everything from square one. I can’t imagine a better farmer to learn from and I truly appreciate your meticulous approach to everything from planning to execution."
– Laura Jasiczek, 2010 & 2011
"I had an absolutely wonderful internship experience. I learned a tremendous amount, enjoyed myself, and feel so lucky to have had the chance to be part of the farm this season. Thank you for all you did to make the internship so productive and fun, and especially for how seriously you take intern education."
– Meghan Morris, 2010
"I am so thankful that I was able to be part of such an exciting and innovative farm this summer, working with an incredible crew and learning from two gifted farmers and teachers. I can see why so many interns come back to visit or to become worker-shares—Troy Community Farm is a special place."
– Megan Bjella, 2010
"Being offered and accepting this position has been one the greatest experiences I've had. Working with everyone on the farm has only made me want to pursue farming further and I would do this over in a heartbeat because of how positive everything was for me."
– Brian Danhoff, 2009
"I found that the internship offered a number of challenges, all of which helped me grow not only as a potential farmer but also as a leader, effective communicator, and member of a community."
– Alex Lyon, 2009
"As a lover of the land, of growing life, and manual labor, I now have a new five-year plan to own or rent land with the intent of direct-market, organic farming, possibly with a future in CSA."
– Gini Knight, 2008 & 2009 (now operates Sweet Magnolia Farm in Marshall, WI)
"I learned that there is a lot more to farming than romance. Working at Troy, I gained a more clear-eyed perspective of what it really means to be a farmer... a sweaty, sore, stressed, and sleep-deprived farmer. I learned that while reality may not live up to the romance, it's still pretty good."
– Lisa DiPietro, 2008
"Claire and Jake have been incredible role models for me as I imagine having my own farm and having the many responsibilities that this dynamic duo own up so dutifully."
– Eva Denny, 2007
"There is something extremely satisfying about completing a job on the farm. Whether it is weeding, planting, or harvesting, there is always some sort of product. You can always see the difference you made."
– Rachel Hart, 2007
"I feel privileged to have worked with Claire. She is a great teacher. She is patient with questions, cares about her students, and is demanding and unwavering in her expectations."
– Kevin Coleman, 2005
"One of the things I wanted to experience most on the farm, was just working outside. I worked under whatever weather the sky had to offer that day. I listened to the breeze. I felt the hot sun on my back. I dug, scraped, plucked, bent, squatted, and hauled. I got dirty. I worked hard. When I got home, I always felt so satisfied."
– Cassie Nolterwyss, 2004 & 2005 (now operates Crossroads Community Farm in Cross Plains, WI)
"The experience and involvement I had at Troy was truly one of a kind. In the end it became a whole body experience... something I physically enjoyed, nutritionally benefited from, and something that motivated me to learn more about urban agriculture."
– Ingrid Remak, 2004