Over the course of the semester, I have had the opportunity to volunteer at Cornercopia, and I have to say: It was pretty amazing. Even though the work I did there was not related to my major and future aspirations, I had a lot of fun learning how to plant different types of seeds (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, you name it), how to water plants, how to make soil blocks,  how to check the germination of seeds, and even how to prune tree limbs. Prior to this experience, I had no idea how much work went into successfully running an organic farm, and I'm glad I had a chance to witness some of the amazing things Courtney and her apprentices have been doing. One of the things that caught my eye was how meticulously records are kept: every type of seeds is carefully counted, stored, tracked and cultivated; it is a fascinating and intricate process, and I'm happy I had a chance to help. I would definitely recommend volunteering at Cornercopia to anyone interested in organic farming, as Courtney and her apprentices are very knowledgeable, extremely welcoming, and give great tips.
-Bernard Garvey Sindjoun.

The Greenhouse Might Burst

Our greenhouse is currently crammed with plants, including 90+ types of tomato just waiting to get in the dirt so you can eat them come August. The weather has been too fickle for us to get much planting done so far, but our fields are getting cleaned up, harrowed, and ready for Veg. Hopefully the sun stays out this week, and we can really get growing. Until then, we'll be digging burdock roots and snipping dandelion greens and sorrel.

So Close to Summer!

Hello fellow farm enthusiasts!

This past Monday was a hard day’s work outside on the farm. We came together as a team to

clean up the patches and dispose of all of last year’s crops and weeds. Man, what a workout it

was pulling up the brassicas! My arms were definitely sore on Tuesday. Not to mention, it was

a very, very, VERY windy day, meaning all of the weeds we pulled up were blowing all around

the farm, making it so that I had to chase them down the field! A very interesting day, to say

the least…

Today, as I write this post, it is down-pouring rain, meaning we won’t be able to get outside

today to plant.  Oh well, there is still plenty to do indoors. Today, we will be soil-blocking and

planting marigolds, romaine lettuces, and tomatillos!

Check back next week for more updates!


SELFsustain Conference at Cornercopia!

SELFsustain Conference UMN

This last weekend The University of Minnesota hosted it's annual sustainability conference for students of all five campuses! Cornercopia was lucky enough to be part of this great event and hosted approximately 60 students for tours around the farm to learn more about sustainable agriculture on campus. Here is a link to the event if you're interested in learning more about  the SELFsustain Conference.
Courtney Tchida showing a group of students at the SELFsustain Conference the soil block planter she invented

Courtney Tchida educating students on the benefits of soil blocks

Cornercopia loves being a part of such a strong community that values sustainability and healthy partnerships. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us if you or your organization would like to attend a tour at the farm. We'd love to hear from you! Contact us by email at umsof@umn.edu.

Written by: Alexa Bobyak

2017 Summer Internships- Now Hiring!

Summer Internships
Most positons are May- Mid October. 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 processing 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 25 hours a week. Often Cornercopia hires two-three marketing managers which share the responsibilities for both Minneapolis and St. Paul market stands. Both market stands are currently on Wednesdays (11-2 in MPLS, 3-5 in St. Paul). New for 2017, we will be participating in the Good Acre’s Fall Gopher CSA, so helping organize the harvest for the CSA will also be part of this position.

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 position is 23 hours a week on average.

Duties include:

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

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. Having a detail oriented personality is helpful in this position.  This position will be 20 hours / week.

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 20  hours/ week.

Chicken Interns: 
Each summer interns raise broiler chickens on the Student Organic Farm to help increase the sustainability of our fertility source, diversify our farm and raise a high value produce. Our chickens are raised in the poultry barn for the first 4 weeks, after which they move out into the lush pasture on the farm. Outside, the birds are in huts that are moved on a regular basis to give the birds access to fresh forage for consumption. We’d like to hire 2-4 students to care for about 150 birds per batch, with two batches being raised over the course of 12-16 weeks. The intern can be experienced raising birds, or have a desire to learn about raising broilers in a pasture setting. The birds have to be moved once a day and fed and watered twice a day- this intern would work with other interns and staff to create a schedule so that the chickens are always being cared for. Wayne Martin, Alternative Livestock Specialist with Extension is the adviser for this project. 

To apply for any of the above listed positions:
Fill out and return StudentApplication Form to MISA office (413 Hayes Hall in person drop off or mail to 411 Borlaug Hall) or submit via email to tchi0003@umn.edu
Additional questions can be sent to Courtney Tchida at tchi0003@umn.edu
Interviews will be scheduled as applications come in. Please apply by April 19th 2017 4PM at the latest.