2015 Internship Positions!

2015 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.

Gordon Parks High School Youth Worker Coordinator and Farm Intern
For the past 6 years Cornercopia and Gordon Parks High School have been working together to co-create a relationship between our two programs during Gordon Parks summer sessions. The person filling this position will work with the staff at Gordon Parks HS and Cornercopia to develop and execute learning activities at Gordon Parks HS and most importantly at Cornercopia.  During the 6 weeks of the GP summer sessions and the week before classes start, the person filling this position will spend half time working directly with GPHS staff and students.  During the time the GPHS classes are not in session the person filling this position will work at Cornercopia producing food, caring for the land, and providing training and leadership to other farm workers and volunteers.   Additionally the intern filling this position will also provide leadership to develop connections and partnerships with other community groups.

Gordon Parks High School is an alternative high school located on Giggs and University Avenues in St. Paul. Their mission is to create college-bound, career-aware students, fluent in the varied media arts and experienced in work-based learning, who can apply these skills toward change in their lives and communities.

Food Safety & Composting Coordinator
In 2012 Cornercopia created a food safety plan for the farm. Implementing the food safety plan and tracking the onsite composting process are the primary responsibilities 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.

Chicken Interns: 
The University of MN Student Organic Farm, located on the St Paul Campus, will raise broiler chickens this summer. The birds will be raised in a pasture setting, in huts that are moved on a regular basis to give the birds exposure to fresh forage for consumption. We’d like to hire 1-2 students to care for about 150-200 birds per batch, with two batches being raised over the course of 12-13 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. 
Research Opportunities for undergraduate students:
Students are encouraged to apply for research project funding through the UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program http://www.urop.umn.edu/ ) Applications due February 23rd  2015 or the Johnson Undergraduate Research Internship (http://www.misa.umn.edu/StudentPrograms/Internships/JohnsonResearchInternship/index.htm) Applications due Thursday March 12th 2105 4pm. Students with research projects will be a part of the Cornercopia Internship Team working on the farm. Other interns will assist research interns with aspects of their projects and research interns will help out with additional farm activities (planting, weeding, harvesting, processing, going to market, etc.) to get a full experience of farm activities. 

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 tchi0003@umn.edu

Additional questions can be sent to Courtney Tchida at tchi0003@umn.edu

2015 Internship Application: 

Cornercopia U of M Student Farm Intern Application                                     Date Received:
Applications received by March 1st will be given priority, drop off in 413 Hayes (MISA Office) or 411 Borlaug Hall (mailing address for MISA office) or email to tchi0003@umn.edu  

Position Seeking (check all that you are interested in)
 Sales and Marketing Manager
 Volunteer Coordinator
 Outreach Coordinator
 Gordon Parks Outreach
 Food Safety & Compost Coordinator
 Chicken 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? 

Sunchokes: A Little-Known Native Tuber

While harvesting potatoes this week, we came across bunches of tuberous-looking roots in the same area. Turns out, we had ended up with a second harvest that day: sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes). I had never heard of the weird looking roots, but was surprised to find out that the were the roots of the sunflower-like plants that had sprung up in the potato plots that summer.

The flowers, probably familiar to some of you, look like this.

That day, we also took a trip to Campus Club to celebrate the end of the season wrap-up with a tasty lunch. And what did we find there? Sunchoke bisque. Now that we knew the tubers could be made into something that delicious, it was almost more fun continuing to harvest them after lunch. We went back to harvesting with a little more enthusiasm than before.

Our tubers are a little on the skinny side since they had to compete
with potatoes, but they were still prolific in number!

But what are sunchokes anyway? I certainly hadn't heard much about them before harvesting them. so I did some searching to find out a little more about them.
Turns out, even though they also have the name "Jerusalem artichoke", sunchokes are native to North America and have no relation to Jerusalem. They also are in no way related to artichokes and are a member of the Asteraceae family. There are many theories about the name which can be found on the Wikipedia page here. "Sunchoke" is most likely derived from the combination of the words "sunflower artichoke". They are raised for their tubers, which contain 10% protein and lots of carbohydrates. If they're stored for any amount of time, the carbohydrate inulin, which makes up about 76% of the tuber, will be converted into fructose. Fructose is better tolerated by those who are type 2 diabetic and for this reason, sunchokes are promoted as a healthy choice for those living with that condition.

This plant was first widely cultivated by Native Americans, and was brought back to France by French explorer Samuel de Champlain. The French became particularly fond of the vegetable around the turn of the 19th century. It was voted "best soup vegetable" in the 2002 Nice Festival for the Heritage of the French Cuisine. In their raw form, they have a similar consistency as potatoes, but a slightly nuttier flavor. They're often used as soup thickening agents or sliced thin for salad. It should be noted that they also often have the same affect as eating too many beans (if you get what I mean), but seem to be better if cooked first. A recipe for a Roasted Sunchoke Bisque can be found here. 

This plant also was involved with a pyramid scheme in the 1980s where farmers were assured that the plant would soon appear on the commodities market even though there was little market for it at the time. The only profits that were made were by the first few levels of distribution, and many of the farms that had planted large amounts of the crop were ruined. Despite this, sunchokes have started to be seen in menus and grocery stores around the country. They've also become popular for foragers who know the tuber's potential better than your average gardener. 

Hope you enjoyed our little uncommon vegetable lesson for the day! If you're ever out and about and see "sunchokes" at your local co-op or grocery store, give them a try!

Fall on the Farm

Fall is known for colors. Most think of the colors of changing in the form of leaves, but fall on the farm definitely means an incredible array of colors in our produce. I've found myself taking more and more pictures of our beautiful produce in the past few weeks and thought I'd share some with you. 

If you'd like to come out and enjoy the beautiful colors of our farm and the beautiful weather we've been having, our farm will be having a Crop Mob this coming Saturday the 27th, from 10am-2pm. Come out for an hour or the whole time, whatever works best for you schedule. You'll be helping us pick our produce and have a really good time getting to know us and the other volunteers that come out. We will also be feeding you lunch! We've already had one successful Crop Mob and we wanted to do it again. We hope you join us. You can find the event to RSVP to on Facebook at this link.

Our most recent crop mob helped with our tomato crop!
Happy Fall everyone!

This Week at Cornercopia: Ground Cherries and Tractor Fun

We had a ton of ground cherries at our farmers market stands today and we got of questions about what they are and what you do with them. Ground cherries are not actually cherries, but are a relation of the tomatillo. But instead of being similar to a tomato like the tomatillo is, ground cherries are sweeter and more like a berry and are best when used like one. Courtney was given an excellent and easy to make recipe for Ground Cherry Chai Preserves (over at the Cheese and Champagne blog) by one of our dedicated St. Paul market customers, Jean. This preserve makes a great spread to pair with cheese, crackers and other items for dinner parties, holiday parties or just to fulfill your snacking needs. Take note that this recipe is not intended for water bath canning, and the site does link to another recipe that is appropriate if you would like to do so. The recipe itself only has four ingredients and takes around one hour to prepare since a good amount of simmering over low heat is required.

Ground Cherries: The tomatillo's sweeter cousin.

The other fun part of our week is the shiny new walk-behind tractor that was delivered to the farm. The model allows different attachments to be purchased and switched out, meaning that it's a good, multi-use machine. Our farm has the flail mower attachment and the power harrow attachment. The flail mower is much more powerful than the regular lawn mower we've been using in between our rows and to cut down large areas of tall grass and weeds. It also cuts much closer to the ground, keeping weeds away for longer. Our power harrow attachment also makes preparing beds for planting a lot easier.
But of course, new toys don't come without their hiccups. During our first tests with the flail mower, we managed to run over a hose and the owners manual (CD included was chopped to bits as well). Makes for a good story though.
We can't forget to thank everyone that made it possible for our farm to purchase the tractor: the Campus Club, University Dining Service, Honest Tea and all of our amazing customers!

Courtney using the tractor with the power harrow attachment. 

Graham using the flail mower attachment.

View of the underside of the flail mower.

Our second round of broiler chickens are already set for processing next week after spending their short lives out in the chicken tractors. Unlike last time, we moved some of the chicken tractors out to our newest field near Cleveland Ave. Our chickens help raise the soil fertility in the fields that we move them around in, so those fields are getting a healthy dose of chicken poo which will be incorporated into the soil so it's nice and nutrient rich for crops grown on it next summer.

Otherwise, harvesting is starting to become a more common chore as more and more crops start putting out fruit. The tomatoes are finally ripening, the cucumbers are still going strong and our winter squashes are starting to get fruit as well. The melon vines still only just have flowers, but we're hoping to see fruit from those sometime in September. As always, if you're interested in coming out to volunteer at the farm or bringing a group out to visit, send us an email at umsof@umn.edu.

Look at those lovely heirlooms!

National Zucchini Day

Happy National Zucchini Day, everyone! Yet another one of those I-didn't-know-there-was-a-day-for-that days that we might as well celebrate, especially since we've had zucchini at our farmers market stands for the past few weeks. We thought it might be fun to share some zucchini-related facts and a recipe for all you zucchini lovers out there.

Zucchini Fun Facts
1. Botanically, zucchini is considered a fruit because it's the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower.

2. The name for zucchini is derived from the Italian word "zucchina" meaning "small pumpkin/squash". Zucchinis as we know them today were also developed in Italy, after being brought over from the Americas.

3. Many other countries typically harvest zucchinis when they are still very small, around the size of a finger. This is especially common in South Africa.

4. Zucchini are low in calories and have useful amounts of Vitamin A, folate and potassium.

5. Zucchini flowers are considered a delicacy at vegetable markets since they're hard to store and transport. Picking them for culinary use before they can start to produce fruit can often help the over-abundance many gardeners experience with zucchini.

(Facts taken from the zucchini Wikipedia page.)

Zucchini bread is one incredibly popular use for zucchini, especially when you have an overabundance of them. Shredded zucchini, one of the components, also freezes well, making it easy to shred a large amount and then keep it for later zucchini bread baking. Here's a recipe for easy zucchini bread if you don't have one to try:

Mom's Zucchini Bread
(Makes 2 loaves)

-3 Cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
-3 eggs
-1 cup vegetable oil
-2 & 1/4 cups white sugar
-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
-2 cups grated zucchini
-1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Taken from allrecipes.com. (Link here)