In order to develop diverse food system knowledge, the internship introduces students to a broad range of local food initiatives and activities in the Boston area.
Key activities include:
Farmers’ Market at Harvard. Interns participate in the weekly farmers’ market (Tuesdays 12-6pm) and help with programming, set-up, vendor communications, EBT transfer and market access.
Urban farming classes. In order to gain a core base of knowledge in urban farming and the local food system, interns participate in bi-weekly four hour classes taught by the FLP Coordinator at the Urban Farming Institute in Roxbury. Other class participants come from diverse backgrounds. In addition to learning basic sustainable food production skills such as weed management and integrated pest management, each student develops an independent business or project plan, conducts research to present in class, and participates in entrepreneur skill-building workshop activities. Curriculum available on request.
Field trips. Field trips to local farms and food enterprises (almost weekly) give interns a diverse and nuanced introduction to the Boston area food system. Example 2014 fieldtrips: The Food Project, Lanni Orchard, Revision Urban Farm, Mattapan Beekeepers, Rosasharn Farm, Spring Rain Farm, Mei Mei Street Kitchen, and Elizabeth Peabody House.
Independent projects. Interns each choose an independent enterprise topic to research, develop, write an enterprise pIan (business plan complete with budget), and implement at the garden during the summer. The projects can range from developing educational programming to growing a new produce variety. 2014 independent Harvard Garden student project plans included: Garden Curriculum Development For ELL High School Students, and Self-guided Garden Tour Educating the Public about Sustainable Production Practices.
Accountability. Interns create monthly work plans and are held accountable by each other and the FLP Coordinator. Interns also contribute to the quarterly reports.
Communication. In addition to a structured weekly meeting with the FLP Coordinator, the FLP Coordinator is available to answer questions and help problem solve as needed. Additionally, the FLP Coordinator meets individually with the interns once a month to check in and provide feedback using a format developed by The Food Project called Straight Talk.
Hands on urban farming. With guidance from the FLP Coordinator the interns implement sustainable and organic urban farming practices from crop planning to seeding, weeding, watering, composting, and harvesting to preparing and serving meals to low-income community members.
Community programming. In addition to growing food, the interns are responsible for building and maintaining community relationships and providing educational and fun programming in the garden for the community. Nearly each week interns hosted an open garden work day, held a film screening in the garden, and taught lessons to children from ages 5-18.