How to start looking for summer farm jobs
December 28, 2010 7:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm a college student and I want to work on a farm over the summer.

I'm a 20 year old college student, in the Midwest, and I want to have a summer job on a farm. I've heard about programs that offer housing and food right on the farm, as well as a stipend. I am not sure if I am willing to travel very far (out of the Midwest), but if the pay is right I might just consider it.
I volunteer right now at an urban farm in my city but I want to learn more about the field. I'm studying environmental science and have an interest in sustainability/urban farming. I figure this is also one of those "experience things" I want to do while I'm young. I have looked on google a few times and am overwhelmed and confused by all the results I get.
So metafilter, can anyone give me tips, advice, anecdotes, links, or any information about these programs/jobs?

posted by frnzks.a to Work & Money (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This is what wwoof is for. It does generally involve travel, but that's part of the point.
posted by brainmouse at 8:06 PM on December 28, 2010

The Sustainable Food Jobs blog is frequently a great source for stuff like this. Willing hands without any knowledge are often hired as 'interns', as office-like as that terminology might sound, so that might help you in your search. If you're a farm intern, you'll probably be way underpaid, but the farm manager should hold up his or her end of the deal by educating you and making you understand (at least to some degree) why you're doing the tasks you are.
posted by threeants at 9:25 PM on December 28, 2010

You may be interested in The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. I can't find anything specifically related to summer internships/jobs on their website, but you could contact them and ask. If they don't offer anything like what you're looking for, they could certainly give you some ideas or referrals.
posted by amyms at 9:56 PM on December 28, 2010

95% of the time wwoofing does NOT offer a stipend, but it DOES offer room and board. This ranges from a room in a farmhouse to a place to sleep in a hayloft or camp on the property.

The wwoof USA website has farm descriptions listed by state. Become a member to receive farm contact info; you work out scheduling on your own. Each farm, as you can imagine, is totally different, and expects/offers different things from/to their wwoofers. Most people travel by means of wwoofing -- some farms offer work for a weekend, some want you to stay a minimum of a few weeks, offering a chance to hop around an area, state, or country. You could find several farms in your area and work at all of them for a couple weeks each to get a wide range of experiences.

Do you live in a farming community? You could also seek actual jobs. I worked on a farm when I was younger than you one summer -- loved it so much I went back the next. You don't need to have a lifetime of farming experience to get a job in the fields.
posted by missmary6 at 9:57 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: ATTRA is the best listing of farm internships I've used, and you don't have to pay for it. I'd err on the side of contacting farms that look interesting, even if they don't have exactly the start/end dates or pay you're looking for or their listing is old.

You might also try calling your favorite farmers market vendors / looking at a list from the market website. When I was looking for a farm internship, I also found a couple other internship lists via google, but none of them had anything that wasn't on ATTRA.
posted by momus_window at 3:36 PM on December 29, 2010

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