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Information about the 2021 Organic Farm Internship

Internship Collage

More About the Organic Farm/VSA Internship Program:

The VOL Supported Ag (VSA) program is an on campus organic Community Supported Ag (CSA) program. In a CSA program, individuals and families from the community sign up to receive a share of our farm’s harvest by paying a flat rate fee in the winter/early spring preceding a growing season. Their fees go towards the farm’s supplies, seeds, and employee salaries. In return for their support, each member receives a weekly box of vegetables and other items grown on the farm. The VSA season lasts 22 weeks, from May to October, and we offer 75 shares. Interns that apply and are selected to participate take two classes related to organic production and the internship for which they earn credit. When the semester concludes in May, interns are expected to work full time on the UT Organic Crops Unit in South Knoxville. The internship is extremely hands-on and emphasizes learning through experience. You will have many opportunities to learn about crop production, rotation, succession, small business marketing and management, pest management, weed control, and food safety practices (among other topics).

How to Apply for the Organic Farm/VSA Internship Program:

Applications can be downloaded or by contacting vsa@utk.edu. Please fill out the application and email it back to vsa@utk.edu (a printed and scanned version is fine) along with the requested documents on the form: resume, cover letter, and 3 references. Applications that do not include all these requested components will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed. Applications are due no later than Monday, November 16th, 2020. Interviews will begin in late October. After the interview, those selected to participate as interns will need to enroll in PLSC 492 and PLSC 275 for spring 2021. Seniors who are graduating in May 2021 are welcome to apply, but will still need to register for those spring classes if selected. PLSC 492 will be locked until all interns have been selected. More information about PLSC 275 and PLSC 492 is below:

More Information About the Classes:

PLSC 275 — Organic and Sustainable Crop Production. This class is taught by Dr. David Butler. Class description is as follows: Introduction to organic and sustainable production practices and principles for vegetable, fruit, field, and forage crops. Introduction to organic certification, soil fertility & quality, tillage systems, crop rotation, cover crops, propagation, composting, season extension, and management of weeds, insects, & diseases in organic cropping systems. 

PLSC 492 — Internship in Plant Sciences. Time/Location is dependent on intern schedules. Registration for this class is locked until all interns have been selected. This class is led by Samantha Flowers, the VSA coordinator. Credit is earned by both successfully completing the class component of the internship in the spring semester as well as participating in field work during summer. During the early spring portion of the class, the interns and Samantha will discuss topics and projects directly related to the internship and the VSA program including pest and disease management, crop planning, marketing, etc. During the later spring portion class is held on the farm and consists of hands-on tasks such as seeding, transplanting, weeding, etc. in preparation for the upcoming VSA season. After classes end in the spring, interns will work full time on the farm to gain experience and earn the remainder of class credit.