Student Internship and Volunteer Opportunities


    Spring 2022 Center for Agroecology Internship and Volunteering

  • Farm, Gardens, Produce Pop-Ups, Pantries, and Kitchen Volunteers - *In-person* spring 2022 

    In-person student volunteer fieldwork opportunities remain OPEN. Details for each site and scheduled volunteer fieldwork is included in this sign-up form. Spring quarter internship enrollment has CLOSED. 

    Welcome! Thanks for your interest in getting involved with the Center! 

    The Center manages and supports UCSC campus programs and facilities that focus on hands-on experiential learning in production, distribution and nutritional and culinary operations, as well as research in organic farming and agroecological production practices. All of our work advances our mission of advancing agroecology and equitable food systems through experiential education, participatory research, agricultural extension, and public service. We envision an equitable food system that empowers local communities, builds relationships, and nourishes all people and the environment, and are committed to fostering diversity throughout the Center and equity in access to food, resources, and knowledge.

    The Center for Agroecology is committed to serving underrepresented students and hiring students who are in need of financial support through our educational and employment programs. If you are unable to intern with us this quarter, due to time constraints or scheduling conflicts, please consider volunteering and getting to know the place, people and programming. 

    We offer in-person, hands-on internships that focus on introductory fieldwork and food systems experiences across our campus sites, prioritizing students’ basic needs for food access. Internship fieldwork focuses on land-based agricultural and horticultural production and post-harvest handling to food distribution through Produce Pop-Ups, and nutritional and culinary preparation and services in the Cowell Coffee Shop. Our sites include the Field, Farm Garden, Black Lives Matter Garden, Alan Chadwick Garden, Produce Pop-Up markets at Bay Tree Plaza and Porter College, as well as the Cowell Coffee Shop, and the Demeter Seed Library at Oakes College. Students will primarily focus their fieldwork at one of these sites with opportunities to work across sites further outlined in the sign-up form for each quarter. 

    Come be part of making these operations, which are focused on serving and supporting students, actually work for students, and for you! When you intern with us, you will join a team of students who are all working and learning together and from each other, as well as learning from the land and our Center student staff and professional staff. 

    Our internships are run through the Environmental Studies Department’s “Internship Office.” The Center for Agroecology serves as the “Agency Supervisor” for both lower division two and five unit internships. Two unit internships require an average of six hours per week of fieldwork. Five unit internships require an average of 12 hours per week of fieldwork. Our internship fieldwork schedule is offered Monday through Friday (varying each quarter). Depending on class schedules, we can make some accommodations for students who need to leave somewhat early to make a class however, all interns need to be able to start their fieldwork at the scheduled start time, so that the fieldwork introductions can happen together, as a team. 

    We have multiple sites and fieldwork activities to choose from and we have further details about each site below (please take a look and think about where you would want to dig in to your experience!). Fieldwork opportunities exist across multiple sites, Monday through Friday, from 8:30-4:30, depending on the site. Details for each site and scheduled fieldwork for VOLUNTEERING ONLY is included in the sign-up form

    Please read and fill out this internship sign-up form so we can get you started doing fieldwork! For interns, once you fill out this form, the Internship Office will send you a course number that you will need to enter into your “myUCSC” website in order to enroll. You must take this additional step of entering the course number into “myUCSC" to register for this internship and get units. Volunteers can just show up!

    While you are engaged in fieldwork with us, we may also be hiring paid student staff to contribute to our educational and production programs. Hiring students is part of our student success and retention programing for students with financial need. Our student staff start at $17/hour and are part of a Leadership Development Program that provides hands-on, project-based training opportunities leading towards positions as Student Assistant Managers. Student staff have the potential to work with the Center for many years, while getting credit and studying at UCSC. Please talk with our staff once you start your internship or volunteer fieldwork. We look forward to working and learning with you!

    Fieldwork Site Descriptions

    Field

    Located at the base of campus between the Hay Barn and the Village. Interns and Volunteers in the Field site will be engaged in a diversified tractor scale production system. This includes seed propagation, transplanting, harvesting, weeding, irrigation, orchard care, and research activities. During the spring internship, time will be spent harvesting produce for our Basic Needs program as well as planting and tending a diversity of summer vegetable crops. You will join a team of 6+ existing farm student staff to keep the field running!

    Farm Garden

    Located at the base of campus between the Hay Barn and the Village. Interns and Volunteers in the Farm Garden site will be engaged in caring for a dynamic garden ecosystem with a diverse range of food and flower crops, while exploring food growing and land stewardship practices that support the building of a more equitable food system. Winter activities will include planting overwintering bulbs and transitioning the garden to fall/winter cover crop, weeding, seed saving and processing, pruning and care of perennial crops, while working side by side with our student staff team and professional site managers.

    Black Lives Matter Garden

    The BLM garden is an honoring of and place to convene with all of our relatives lost to state and systemic violence and to gather together to set forth intentional movement around building love, joy, and solidarity with all our relatives who are still in struggle towards a sovereign future of true, collective, and self-determined Liberation.

    Chadwick Garden

    Located just below Merrill College. Learn basic skills related to organic growing superimposed on the care, shepherding, upkeep of the Chadwick garden. Basic activities revolve around intensive gardening, using raised beds we will look at and engage in a wide range of activities; soil and tillage, direct sowing and transplanting of fall vegetables and flowers, basic fruit tree care, watering, weed, control, crop culture, greenhouse propagation, fertility - compost, cover crops and use of organic fertilizers in an 'idyllic setting'- a biodiverse mixed intensive garden.

    Cowell Coffee Shop

    Located at Cowell College. A student-run cafe designed to increase student food access. The cafe processes local and farm fresh produce from campus and our farmers markets into juices, purees, fruit leathers, fermented goods, pickles, jams, dried fruit, and other preserves. In addition, the Coffee Shop has partnered with the Slug Support Pantry during COVID to serve as a distribution hub for second harvest goods and semi-prepared meal kits made from scratch at the cafe, all free of charge in an effort to provide students with access to healthy food options.

    Produce Pop-Ups

    Located at Quarry Plaza on Wednesdays and Porter College Quad on Fridays. Interns and volunteers will help run a low-cost organic farm stand, work with on-campus pantries and local vendors, and learn and teach others about different varieties of produce, seasonality, tips for cooking, and more. Produce Pop-Ups are part of campus Basic Needs efforts to address food security and food justice by making high-quality organic produce from the UCSC farm more accessible to all.

    Inter-Site Internships

    For students interested in interning across multiple sites in a single quarter. Inter-site internships are only available between the Field, CCS, & Pop-Up. Interested students will be assigned to slots in 2-3 sites of their choosing each week, pending availability. Inter-site interns will have the opportunity to engage with winter crops all the way from planting and harvesting to distribution and culinary preparation.These inter-site offerings are intended for students that want broader exposure to operational sites and their relative contexts in the campus food system.

    Food Systems Working Group

    For internships with the Demeter Seed Library (demeterseedlibrary@gmail.com) or Rachel Carson College Garden (ztwebste@ucsc.edu or @rachelcarsongarden on Instagram), please contact the student leads directly and sign up through the ENVS Internship Office: https://envs.ucsc.edu/internships/available-internships/campus-internships.html