St. Frances Agriculture Internship – Louisisana

Louisiana Vegetable Garden

St Francis Vegetable Garden Agriculture Internship Spring 2017 - Thibodaux, LA

 The Intern will serve as a Farm Manager for our organization. He or she will be responsible for organizing and leading volunteer groups, help cultivate the gardens, design lessons and work with students at our school gardens, help run the Rienzi Market, work with local ag agents, farmers, and civic organizations to organize educational programs.  The internship will provide hands on practical experience in farming, classroom gardening, and organizing and running farmers markets and events.  The intern should be comfortable with operating a tractor or willing to learn. Interns will have the daily opportunity to learn and work closely with volunteers, farmers, teachers, Ag agents, and chefs from around the region. Our organization has built an amazing large group of volunteers who plan, maintain, harvest, deliver food to the food banks, educate the public on our mission, and lead school groups during field trips.  Having gone from 1 site to 5 in the past year the need became critical for a full time team member that can coordinate volunteers, be on site with for school field trips and work days, conduct weekly lessons for students at our school gardens, and be available when immediate unexpected needs arise. The internship program was established in the Fall of 2016 and has been an as asset for interns and the organization. In the three years since our organization was founded we have grown from one to five gardens in two parishes.   Our three school gardens serve over 1200 students on campuses.  Each year over 1000 students visit the garden in Thibodaux and we expect this number to double as well with students visiting the Southdown location.  The Rienzi Market has 25 local farmers as vendors and has an average attendance of 300 customers each week. Agriculture Internship Stipend = Housing (apartment with all utilities paid), 100.00 a week plus gas for all garden related travel. Agriculture Internship Dates: Jan 1, 2016-July 31, 2016 About the St Francis Vegetable Garden Organization:  The St Francis Vegetable Garden is non-profit organization that began in 2013.   Our mission is three fold and allows us to serve all members of our community.
  1. Grow community vegetable gardens and donate the harvest to local food bank
  2. Provide teachers and parents a living outdoor classroom
  3. Support local growers by educating the community on the importance of fresh local food for our health and the region’s economy
The City of Thibodaux donated the ½ acre use of land in a city park, and provides the water for irrigation of crops meter free.  The ground is tilled and rowed by local farmers who donated their time and expertise.  Corporate groups, individual volunteers, civic and religious organizations, and Master Gardeners plant and maintain the garden.   It is a large garden and shows how much can be accomplished when the entire community comes together.  We grow a fall and summer garden and over 4 tons of fresh produce has been donated to the food banks since inception. Over 1000 students have visited the garden on field trips, which we offer free of charge.  Science and health lessons come alive and students are encouraged to take home part of the harvest of the day.  We love watching kids explore the garden while eating an ear of sweet corn they picked from the stalk.  We often get phone calls from parents who can’t believe how excited their children are to help prepare and eat the veggies they took home that day.  This garden is changing the way children in our community view healthy eating.   The most important lessons learned at the garden are ones that children don’t realize they are learning which are self-sufficiency and the importance of giving back to your community. Last spring the Rienzi Market was created as the fulfillment of our third mission.  The market features local farmers selling, fruit, vegetables, seafood, flowers, plants, honey, eggs, meat, and artesian bread.  The atmosphere at the Rienzi Market is exciting.  As you make your way through the booths you’ll hear farmers telling stories and answering gardening questions, customers swapping recipes, and kids running around exploring the garden behind the market.  The Rienzi Market is the only farmers market in the state that does not charge farmers a fee for selling there.  We are proud to support or local growers. The most exciting part of our organization is the support that we provide for those who want to replicate a garden in their own community or school.  Last spring we designed, obtained funding, and installed four additional gardens.  A garden on the grounds of the Southdown Plantation museum mirrors what we have done in Thibodaux and provides field trips for school children and donates produce to the food banks in Terrebonne Parish.  A raised bed school garden at Thibodaux Elementary is used to teach health lessons as well as provide sensory therapy for the Autistic students at the school.  At HL Bourgeois High School an architect donated in kind services and designed a handicapped assessable garden that is used by student’s parish wide.  The produce from that garden is used in the life skills classes to learn to cook healthy meals. Our goal is to have a St Francis Vegetable Garden in every school or town that could benefit from it. In 2016 the St Francis Vegetable Garden Inc. was awarded organization of the year in the state of Louisiana by the National Organization of Social Workers. The following quote embodies what our organization aims to accomplish; “When food is shared in a fair way, with solidarity, when no one is deprived, every community can meet the needs of the poorest.” Pope Francis

Agriculture Internship Application 

Please return via email to stfrancisvegetablegarden@gmail.com by Dec 1st 2016.  Name: Education: Work Experience: What are you hoping to get out of the internship program? What are your farming and gardening interests? What is most appealing to you about this program? What can our organization help you accomplish? How comfortable are you with a tractor and farming equipment? What else do you want us to consider when choosing an intern?  

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