New 2017 Cornercopia Apprenticeship Program

Cornercopia Student Organic Farm Apprenticeship Program:
Do you want to learn about organic agriculture through a season-long paid opportunity? In 2017 we will start an exciting new apprenticeship program that will begin in January and span the entire growing season. Our goal is for students to gain a comprehensive view of organic farm management, practice leadership and practical farming skills, and strengthen our organic agriculture program at the University of Minnesota through more continuous involvement with the student farm. 
Applicants have the option to participate in one or more seasons of work, with preference given to students opting for the full three seasons. Apprentices will participate in all aspects of the farm from helping create the crop plan, to implementing it throughout the growing season, and marketing the crops we grow. We anticipate having a weekly set meeting time followed by fairly flexible options for M-F work.
A sample seasonal schedule looks like this:
Spring: 5-10 (paid) hours per week. Activities include ordering seeds, growing microgreens, making soil blocks, planting seeds, preparing and planting greenhouse and high tunnels, record keeping, and supervising volunteers. Although a large sum of our work spring semester will take place in the greenhouse, by the end of the semester we will be working outside on the farm. 
Summer: Full time (40h) week. Activities include marketing the farm’s produce, coordinating volunteers and outreach efforts, helping raise chickens, manage weeds, pests and diseases on the farm and /or carrying out on farm research, and more! Part time options for summer are also available.
Fall: 10-15 hours per week. Activities will include harvesting and marketing (early fall is one of the busiest times of year on the farm!), and end of season wrap up.

Enrollment at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus Spring Semester is required for the Apprenticeship. Applicants interested in the Apprenticeship Program at Cornercopia should complete the application and submit it to Courtney Tchida either by email at or to the MISA office (in person 413 Hayes Hall or by mail in 411 Borlaug Hall). The Cornercopia Apprenticeship Program is funded in part by the Martha Anderson Fund for Organic and Sustainable Agriculture.
Applications received by Friday January 20th 2017 will receive top priority. We anticipate the apprenticeship will start the week of January 30th 2017. 

May 31st 2016 Season Update

by Casey Selle
It’s been a busy few weeks out in the Cornercopia fields! We had some help planting and getting the fields ready with students from the Student Organic Farming Class offered on the St. Paul campus but the last 3-4 weeks we’ve had our 10 interns out in the field.
Market Manger/ Food Safety: Sarah, Moriah, & Angie
Volunteer Coordinator: Jorie
Outreach Coordinator: Ashley
Weed Management: Reo
Chickens: Casey, Reo, Richard & Joel
Ginger Research: Kalley
One of our first projects of the season was to take everything out of our shed so we could clean and organize it so we will all be able to easily access tools and equipment.
We’ve all been busy preparing the beds for planting by tilling, weeding, and laying down tarps for the onion beds. We’ve transplanted lettuce, turnips, beets, kohlrabi, scallions, cabbage, kale, chard and others! We also helped some of the graduate researchers plant strawberries.
We spent a few days weeding and preparing the high tunnels so that we can could dig 12 inch pits for our ginger research. We also planted some turmeric and galangal root in the high tunnel since they prefer the warm conditions just like ginger.
There’s not much to harvest this early in the season but we’ve harvested plenty of chives and asparagus and a few winter onions.  
We were looking forward to our Potato planting UDS crop mob day, were a bunch of volunteers come out and help us plant all of our potatoes, it unfortunately rained all day but with the help of our interns we got all of the potatoes planted in a few hours!

We’ve been blessed with many sunny days out in the field but it is spring after all so bring on the rain. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean we stop working! When we’re inside it gives us time to make soil blocks and get more transplants started and move growing transplants from the mist bench into the green house. We also had time to clean out the cooler and scrub all the shelves down as well as clean out all of the bins well be using for produce this season.

2016 Internships now accepting applications!

2016 Cornercopia Student Organic Farm Internships

All Internships (Research & UMSOF Positions)
Working hours on the student organic farm are typically 8 am (or earlier) until 3 or 4pm M-F. Weekend and evening hours can be put in but not exclusively. Weekly group intern meetings and field walks will be held so that everyone understands the goals for the week. There is a fair amount of overlap with duties between all interns. Non-market managers will help out at the farmer’s market. Everyone will help plant, weed, harvest and process crops.

Marketing Manager Position
The sales/marketing manager is responsible for the marketing activities focusing on product, pricing, promotion and placement. Duties may include but are not limited to:

*Coordinating harvesting and post-harvest processing
*Taking inventory pre- and post-market
*Coordinating the market stand
*Ability to project/determine the demands & needs of the market
*Website, facebook and email updates
*Various record-keeping

This position is typically 15-30 hours a week Mid May through September. Often Cornercopia hires two marketing managers which share the responsibilities for both Minneapolis and St. Paul market stands. Cornercopia Student Organic Farm has established markets that this position would follow up with in addition to exploring new options. Both market stands are currently on Wednesdays (11-2 in MPLS, 3-5 in St. Paul).

Volunteer Coordinator Position
Volunteers are an essential part of our labor strategy on the farm and we have lots of interest from all types of people in volunteering on the student organic farm. Recruiting and communicating with volunteers and utilizing them effectively is the motive behind this position. In past years we have organized a number of crop mob volunteer days which were highly successful (20-30 people gathering to volunteer on a weekend day for bigger projects, lunch provided). The Volunteer Coordinator would be encouraged to continue organizing crop mobs and other such events. This has typically been a 20-25 hour a week position Mid May through September. In 2015 we are planning on hosting several UDS crop mobs and working on partnering with master gardeners for volunteering opportunities as well.

Duties include:
*Recruitment of volunteers
*Schedule dates & times for volunteer workers
*Assignment of tasks to volunteers as needed

Outreach Coordinator
An important component of the mission of the Student Organic Farm is reaching out to our surrounding community to develop relationships that benefit the University community and our neighbors. The intern filling this position will both work on the Student Organic Farm becoming familiar with all farm operations and perform outreach activities on the farm and potentially in the community. About half of the time will be spent in day to day farm operations, and half of the time on developing other community outreach connections. In the past Cornercopia has conducted outreach activities to a wide range of audiences everyone from elementary age school groups through middle and high school groups, incoming freshmen, and college students, to alumni and the general public. This position is typically 15-20 hours a week Mid May through September.

Food Safety & Composting Coordinator
Overseeing the implementation of Cornercopia’s food safety plan is the primary duty of this position. Tracking the onsite composting process is also a responsibility of this position. Both of these tasks are fairly simple but require attention to detail as record keeping is involved. An in-depth orientation will be provided for the food safety and composting aspects. This position is typically 15-20 hours / week and goes mid-May through September.

Weed Management Intern
Weed Management is part of every intern’s job on the farm but this internship will focus on weed management utilizing tractors and mowers. This intern will receive training to safely run and operate various tractors. Primarily the farm’s walk behind tractor but others as well as needed to help with day to day operations that include rototilling or power harrowing areas for bed prep or cultivating for weed control. Other tasks will include: hitching and unhitching implements safely and efficiently; checking and maintaining fluids in our equipment; reporting breakdowns and disrepair immediately to staff; keeping daily records on labor and equipment use; and regular creative problem solving. This position will be 15-20 hours / week Mid May- October.

Ginger Research Intern:
Ginger and Turmeric are Tropical crops that are usually grown in Hawaii, a few adventurous farmers having been trying to grow them in High Tunnels in Minnesota with some success. Farms typically have limited high tunnel space, which is prime real estate for other crops. In 2016 & 2017 Cornercopia Student Organic Farm is participating in a study to grow Ginger and Turmeric both in high tunnels and in field conditions with a few innovative ideas to grow it outside the high tunnel in low tunnels.
We are looking for students interested in helping with this innovated research project. Students will plant, collect data, help manage the plots and have additional opportunities to help with other aspects of the farms. This position will be 15-20 hours/ week and goes from Mid-May – through the beginning of October

Livestock Interns: 
For the past several seasons we have been slowly refining the process we use for raising broiler chickens on pasture at Cornercopia. In 2016 our normal meat processing location (The Andrew Boss Meat Lab) will be closed for remodeling. At this point we are open to student interest for what livestock we will raise- could be broiler chickens, lambs or pigs. Currently we have infrastructure for broilers, other options would have to be developed. The intern can be experienced raising birds or other animals, or have a desire to learn about raising livestock in a pasture setting. Wayne Martin, Alternative Livestock Specialist with Extension is the adviser for this project. This position is typically 15-20 hours/ week and goes Mid- May through September- some weekend shifts are requested. 

To apply for any of the above listed positions:
Fill out and return Student Application Form to MISA office (413 Hayes Hall in person drop off or mail to 411 Borlaug Hall) or submit via email to
Additional questions can be sent to Courtney Tchida at

Applications received by April 8th 2016 at 4:00pm will be given priority.  

Cornercopia U of M Student Farm Intern Application                                     Date Received:
Applications received by April 8th will be given priority, drop off in 413 Hayes (MISA Office) or 411 Borlaug Hall (mailing address for MISA office) or email to  

Position Seeking (check all that you are interested in)
 Sales and Marketing Manager
 Volunteer Coordinator
 Outreach Coordinator
 Food Safety & Compost Coordinator
 Weed Management Intern
 Ginger Research Intern
 Livestock Intern  
 Research Intern (additional application to either UROP or Johnson Internship program required)

Student Information

            Your Name:______________________________________________________________
            Degree Program & Year : (indicate if you are a non-degree student)_________________
            Anticipated Date of Graduation: ____________________ Student ID: _______________
            Email Address:  __________________________________________________________
            Street Address:  __________________________________________________________
            Phone Number: ________________________Is this a cell phone number?____________
Do you have other summer commitments that need to be considered (other jobs, lengthy vacations? ______________________________________________________________

1. Describe your previous garden or farm experience.

2. Describe any related course work you have previously taken.

3. Describe any previous record keeping experience you have.

4. In terms of your professional development, what are your expectations for this internship?

5. Describe any previous management experience you have.

6. Describe any previous experience you have specific to the position you are applying for marketing, volunteer coordinator, outreach, etc.

7. Are you seeking Credit or Pay (typical wage is $10/ hr) for this internship?