Innisfree Village Vegetable Gardens are part of Innisfree Village, a working and life-sharing community with adults with intellectual disabilities. The village is located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Central Virginia and is host to people from across the country and world. The veggie garden is one of many workstations that provide therapeutic work opportunities for folks living in the Village; other workstations include a bakery, woodshop, weavery, herb & flower garden, farm (focused on raising animals), and more. In the veggie garden, our main goals are to grow good food in a healthy and responsible way with the help of each member of our gardening community.
The Innisfree Veggie Garden is committed to caring for the 3+ acres of land it cultivates for vegetables and subscribes to traditional organic principles, including multi-season cover cropping, large-scale composting, beneficial insect habitat, and crop rotation. We manage our 3 acres intensively (mostly by hand) with the support of a small farm tractor and an articulating spading attachment. We grow all our own starts in our 1000 sq ft heated greenhouse using our own home-mixed potting soils, and extend our season with a 3000 sq ft unheated hoophouse. We do not use plastic mulches in our growing practices, and only use sprays that are OMRI approved.
Additionally, we follow a compost tea regimen in an effort to support soil life. Our vegetable distribution is CSA-style (mainly to the houses in the village) it also includes a village-wide market, a local farmers market, and the occasional sale to a local grocer. We also process our crops using fermentation, canning, and freezing methods.
Interns with previous growing experience who are looking for a change of pace from the production farm mindset are the best fit for our gardens.
Interns should be community-oriented with a strong interest in intensive organic vegetable gardening and be open-minded to working alongside our fellow gardeners with disabilities at times.
Given the long, hot days of summer and the community’s mission to be both therapy- and production-oriented, we look for hard-working and responsible people with positive attitudes and good leadership skills.
Interns should be capable of engaging and supporting their fellow gardeners when working together, but should also show initiative when working on own.
Interns will have opportunities to learn about integrating different populations into farming work, and can work with the head gardeners to focus their internship around their personal areas of interest and development. We are also active members of the local CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliances for Farmers in Training) community, and have a personal lending library brimming with gardening knowledge.
Interns support seasonal needs of vegetable operation beginning with greenhouse planting and spring bed preparation. Throughout the season, interns focus on planting, weed management, harvesting, irrigation (drip), and vegetable distribution via shares or markets. They will also be involved in CSA prep and supporting others in their gardening tasks. Interns work 5 days/week, which typically amounts to 40-45 hours/week. Our workdays lengthen as the season peaks, however, which can lengthen our hours to approximately 55/wk.
Interns live in shared housing in Innisfree village and may be living closely with other volunteers and people with disabilities. This may include some sharing of house responsibilities like preparing one meal a week for everyone in the house. Food and housing are provided along with a stipend of $450/month.
This position begins mid March and ends November 1st
How to apply for the Innisfree Village Vegetable Garden Internship:
Please email a resume and short cover letter to Meagan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline: March 1st (2017)