Internships: School Garden Supervisors, Organic Farm, Alaska

School Garden Supervisor: 2011 Internship Description and Application Guidelines - ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS NOW! (5 positions available)

Terms: Seasonal, full time – 5 days/week (some weekends), approximately 40 hours/week; Dates: April 1st – September 30th, 2011; Monthly Stipend: $500 and housing and vegetables from the garden (you will be responsible for your own food other than veggies during the growing season); To be Filled by: Open until filled ***PLEASE NOTE: We are currently looking into shared Americorps positions with the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.  If that works out, some of the terms of this position will change significantly.  We will update this job description as soon as we can. Educational Opportunity: Interning as a School Garden Supervisor, is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in gaining valuable experience in the field of sustainable agriculture and education.  You will receive training and acquire extensive experience in a wide variety of areas including: 1) small-scale, intensive, sustainable agriculture; 2) direct marketing through a CSA and/or neighborhood farm stand; 3) managing a youth work crew; 4) hands-on education for grades K-12; 5) working with a neighborhood community; 6) working with a school community (teachers, parents, students)


As a School Garden Supervisor, you will be responsible for a neighborhood school garden from April through September.  During the spring and fall, you will work intensively with the school community, supporting them in using the garden as an educational resource.  You will meet with a school-based Garden Committee, work with teachers and students in the garden, and assist teachers in using the garden to teach all subjects.  During the summer months you will be responsible for a crew of Student Gardeners who will work to prepare, plant, harvest, and care for the garden as well as outreach about the program and assist with fundraising events.  You will also be responsible for organizing the EATinG Celebration – a public event involving all of the Student Gardeners.  The EATinG Celebration will be held at the end of July.

As a School Garden Supervisor, you will be expected to:

  • Work on program activities, approximately 40 hours/week
  • Maintain all evaluation records for you school garden
  • Maintain open and positive communication with the other school garden supervisors, student gardeners, school personnel and Calypso staff
  • Participate in weekly meetings with Calypso Staff and other garden supervisors for planning, feedback and training
  • Participate in weekly staff meetings at Calypso Farm


  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Experience working with youth, preferably teenagers
  • Small-scale farming experience (preferred, not required)
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Enthusiasm!


  • Background Check – you must be able to pass a criminal background check (Calypso will cover the cost).
  • Personal Computer – You will need to bring a personal computer (a laptop is recommended).
  • Personal Transportation – You will need to have a vehicle in which you can transport tools and plants from the farm, to your school garden.  Calypso will provide assistance in covering fuel costs during the planting season (mid May-mid June).

What to Expect

Throughout the season, you will spend Fridays at Calypso Farm, participating in training and feedback sessions, working with the field crew, completing program documentation and having fun!  You will also participate in weekly staff meetings (1-2 hrs on a set day of the week).  Aside from this, your season here will be ever-changing…

When you arrive, there will likely still be snow on the ground and the winter season will be yielding to a slushy and muddy spring.  April is a transitional time in every respect.  Schools are gearing up for the end of the school year and the farming and gardening season is looming.

In April, in addition to getting acquainted with the Calypso staff, the school community, and the program, you will begin the process of recruiting and hiring teenagers to be Student Gardeners for the summer.  You will also plan an orientation for the Student Gardeners and begin preparations for the growing season.

In May, you will collect applications, interview potential Student Gardeners and finalize your list of Student Gardeners for the summer.  You will also begin working regularly in the garden and with teachers and students at the school (this is very weather dependent – some years you will be able to prep and plant for a few weeks, other years perhaps not at all).  School ends mid-month and  Student Gardeners will begin working right away.  May garden work will focus on preparing beds, seeding and transplanting.  You will be organizing your plants at the farm and transporting plants to the garden during the second half of the month.

In June, you will complete transplanting and much of the seeding and then settle into a weekly rhythm of working with the students to harvest, market the produce at your Farm Stands and CSA, build compost and maintain the gardens.  During this month, you will begin talking to Student Gardeners about both the EATinG Celebration and participation in the Tanana Valley State Fair.

In July, the number of crops ready for harvest will significantly increase – as should participation at your Farm Stands.  You will continue working with Student Gardeners to harvest, do some late season seeding and compost pile building.  The EATinG Celebration will take place at the end of this month!  July is also the time to start planning for the start of the School Year (believe it or not!).  It’s a good time to start thinking about lessons and methods for reaching out to teachers.

August is another transitional time, in which the Student Gardeners’ season wraps up and the school year begins.  You will communicate with the principal and teachers at the school about what happened during the summer, garden lessons, harvest celebrations, etc and you’ll begin offering garden-based lessons.

In September, you’ll continue offering lessons in the garden, wrap up all evaluation materials for the season and put the garden to rest. It should be a great time to reflect on the season as a whole.  You will also be a part of Calypso’s largest annual fundraising event – the Annual Benefit Dinner and Auction.  This is a fun and popular community event and should be a fun way to wrap up your internship as a School Garden Supervisor with Calypso.

Living in Fairbanks

Housing – You will be housed in the Fairbanks community.  Housing situations change annually – we do not have anything set in stone yet for the 2011 season, but we are happy to fill you in as we solidify plans.

Food – You will be responsible for providing your own food.  Keep in mind -you will have access to all of the food grown in the school garden during the season.  The gardens usually start to produce (salad greens, etc) in early June, by mid July on – you should have access to a good array of produce (broccoli, lettuce, carrots, beets, and more).

Transportation – You will need to have a vehicle that can transport tools and plants.  However, you will not need to drive everyday so you may want to bring a bike – or talk to us about bikes that we have available for you to borrow for the season.  There is also some limited public transportation in the Fairbanks city area.

Come prepared! – Although, summers in Fairbanks are often quite warm and sunny, we have been known to have some chilly, wet weather and your April and September can likely be cold.  Come prepared with a very warm sleeping bag, layers of warm clothing, rain gear, rain boots and warm and dry outer layers.


To Apply

Please email or mail the information listed below to or Calypso Farm and Ecology Center, PO Box 106, Ester, AK  99725.  Please put the “Application – School Garden Supervisor” in the subject heading or on the envelope.

Include the following in your application:

1) A current resume

2) Three work-related references

3) Answers to the following questions:

Why are you interested in being a School Garden Supervisor?

Describe any relevant experience that you have working with youth.

Describe any relevant experience that will aid you in this position.

Why do you think school gardens are important?

If you were a vegetable, what would you be and why?


We welcome and encourage questions about the position! To learn more, please contact Susan at (907) 451-0691 or with “School Garden Supervisor Questions” in the subject heading.

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