6-month and 12-month
GROW BIOINTENSIVE Internships
Applications for our 2015 6- and 12-month internship program
are now being accepted:
The internships will start mid-April 2015
Application Deadline: September 15, 2014
Despite technological advances in agriculture there are still more than 1 billion malnourished people in the world.1 Rising food prices have led to political unrest in many countries.2 In addition to the social problems of our global food system, current farming practices are unsustainable. Conventional agricultural techniques depend heavily on non-renewable resources, outside inputs from other soils, and degrade farmable soil. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has stated that the solution to
these problems can be found in small scale, localized, low-input agriculture:
"Global food production is more than enough to feed the global population, the problem is getting it to the people who need it. In market-marginalized areas, organic farmers can increase food production by managing local resources without having to rely on external inputs or food distribution systems over which they have little control and/or access3."
Aware of the intensifying world challenges and the basic need of people to feed themselves, Ecology Action has been working for over 40 years to develop an elegant, small-scale agricultural system. This system, known as GROW BIOINTENSIVE, is a high-yielding, sustainable agricultural method that emphasizes local food production and is based historically on intensive food raising systems. Ecology Action has a network of affiliate organizations and former interns working around the world to enable people to promote food security.
The GROW BIOINTENSIVE® method focuses on using small-scale, organic, non-mechanized food-raising techniques as a way of life. The work we do requires commitment, responsibility, patience, attention to detail, willingness to follow detailed instructions, self-motivation, and mental and physical stamina. While we do not
wish to discourage those genuinely interested in the program, we also want to make sure that applicants have an adventurous, hardy nature and can make a dedicated commitment to the program and its unusual living conditions for the duration of the internship.
ABOUT THESE INTERNSHIPS
Ecology Action offers 6- and 12-month internship programs where participants can get involved in hands-on research in sustainable agriculture and closed-system food production using the GROW BIOINTENSIVE Sustainable Mini-Farming technique and
the low-technology lifestyle appropriate to development work. Internships begin in mid-April of each year. For those interested in a more extended program, a 3 year apprenticeship is also available (click here for more information).
These internships are intended for people who already have an established understanding of the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method, and want to take their skills to the next level. Specifically, we have developed these internships for people who:
- Have already taken a workshop or other course in the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method, or are involved in established projects and programs that use the method;
- Are interested in an in-depth understanding and experience of why GROW BIOINTENSIVE works and how to modify it for other climates, soils and cultures; and
- Expect to be actively involved in public service in this kind of work (with selective preference given to those who have a strong interest in applied sustainable farming and/or demonstrate a significant ability to use the skills they gain through an internship to benefit their communities and the planet).
The internship is a combination of:
- Lecture and demonstrations,
- Garden work, and
- Living the method.
This combination is designed is so that participants learn Ecology Action's processes both theoretically and practically, and can understand the processes that are involved in starting this type of work (GROW BIOINTENSIVE farming, low-tech living, teaching the method to others) as well as doing it over the long-term. The internships are an opportunity to assist Ecology Action in accomplishing its work, with both direct and indirect learning occurring in the process.
During the internship, emphasis is placed on the ability of the intern to learn to farm and develop GROW BIOINTENSIVE designs and approaches, in the belief that the most creativity and strength come from people joining forces and working as a team after they have fully developed strength and independence. We have found that skill levels can be dramatically upgraded with this type of training.
Interns are free of administrative responsibilities during the program, and are able to focus on learning through reading, classes, and work in the research garden. Time is available for an independent study project, and there are periodic one-hour meetings with an Ecology Action staff member. There are also weekly meetings with staff
and other interns to discuss progress in the research garden. The Interns will take part in seasonal courses and workshops. Depending on the work done and the level of involvement demonstrated by the intern, it is possible that the internship can lead to an Ecology Action certification as a GROW BIOINTENSIVE teacher.
The program will take place at Ecology Action's three Research Mini-Farm sites in Northern California. Program interns will learn practical skills that address issues of food insecurity through a combination of hands-on fieldwork and classroom teaching. The techniques taught will be a closed system, soil building, organic approach to food production. In addition interns will learn about positive social solutions to food insecurity.
Ecology Action's garden sites, while beautiful and enjoyable to work in, are first and foremost research gardens where a multitude of experiments are run concurrently. The research focus is on using the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method to conduct scientific tests and collect data to provide solutions to the challenge of creating and maintaining sustainable soil fertility on a closed-system basis, while living a sustainable life. Interns have an opportunity to learn valuable techniques and information, to experience an alternative living style, to make lifelong ties with other interns from different states and countries, and to assist Ecology Action in accomplishing work that can help farmers, gardeners, and communities around the world to raise food, conserve resources and build fertile soil, sustainably.
The program will overlap several of Ecology Action's other, shorter internship programs, hosting farmers and activists from the U.S. and abroad, which will give all the interns a chance to network with people interested in similar work. The 6- and 12-month programs will also give participants a chance to experience Ecology Action's 3-Day Workshop in November, which is open to the public.
These internships are an opportunity to learn valuable techniques and information, to experience an alternative living style, to make lifelong ties with other interns from different states and countries. Interns will be assisting Ecology Action in accomplishing important work that can help farmers, gardeners, and communities around the world to raise food, conserve resources and build fertile soil sustainably.
For more information, please download and read the Internship Information Booklet
To fill out an application for the 2015 Internship Session, click here.