Prospective interns should come to this program with the desire to learn the art and science of organic farming. This is a work-based education program, founded in the philosophy that the best way to learn about farming is to do it! Farm work can be boring, tedious and exhausting, in conditions that range from hot sun with mosquitoes to cold, rain and wind. However, with the right attitude, many people find that they acclimate to the work and find it enjoyable and satisfying. There is something about looking back on a cleanly weeded or cultivated field, or stacking up a mountain of winter squash, that can’t be achieved in an office environment. There is no better connection to one’s food supply than being able to watch a crop from seed to harvest.
We are committed to instructing interns in the “whys and hows” of the various techniques employed on our farm. This education will take place during fieldwork sessions, periodic farm walks and after hours, if desired. Educational field trips are organized and encouraged, and may include visits to other farms, markets, special events or other activities as the interest arises. The College has an extensive library, to which interns have free access.
Our goal is to train a new generation of sustainable farmers, as well as environmentally and socially conscious consumers. We seek dedicated and interested people to help run our farm. In our internship program, you will have an opportunity to learn what may have otherwise taken years in an employer/ employee situation. We expect our interns to have a willingness to work hard, quickly and efficiently, with the goal of getting the job done well while learning the craft of farming. Not all work on a farm is fun – there will be many, many hours of using various hand tools to work in the fields under a hot sun, as well as early, frosty mornings when it is still freezing outside but harvesting needs to get done for CSA distribution.
After a season at Fulton Farm, highly motivated and confident interns may feel qualified to begin their own market garden. Others should possess the skills to find employment on other organic farms, potentially in a management role.
Particular skills our interns typically learn include: low-input greenhouse propagation and production; seeding and planting techniques; irrigation design and operation; compost production and use; soil preparation and conservation; manual and mechanical weed control; cover cropping; harvesting efficiency and quality control; planning CSA distribution; managing a farmers market stand; irrigation design and implementation; and potentially, tractor work and equipment maintenance. Other topics can be researched according to the intern’s desires and in consultation with the farm manager.
What an intern takes away from Fulton Farm depends a lot on what she or he puts into it. In addition to being a great learning experience, a summer on the farm should certainly be a memorable time. Throughout the season, open communication will be stressed to promote satisfaction and avoid conflict. We require applicants to visit the farm to assess compatibility.