Renee Hamblin '19 secured a summer experience as the Social Media and Community Outreach Intern for Queen City Brewery in Burlington, VT. Hamblin saw the craft brewery as an ideal place to get hands-on experience in food systems and entrepreneurship. Read the full story.
Food Systems Internships
The Food Systems major reqires 6 credits of Field Experience which can be satisfied by doing research or internships. This requirement ensures that our majors can make a meaningful contribution to food-related businesses and organizations while building essential knowledge and career skills for their future.
Clarissa Ludwig '22 | Produce Production Intern @ ShakeyGround Farm | Charlotte, VT
Name of Internship organization & what do they do? ShakeyGround Farm is a small-scale diversified vegetable farm that is run by two extremely passionate females. The farm grows produce in every season to keep the farm stand stocked and to have foods to sell in retail markets. They grow all sorts of fruits and vegetables such as okra, beans, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuces, kale, eggplants, peppers, root vegetables, and so much more. In addition to working the land for food, the farm also has chickens, llamas, and a herd of Icelandic sheep.
Tasks performed during the internship? I did pretty much every task imaginable that you can do on a farm! I got the opportunity to do lots of harvesting, washing, packing, weighing, and labeling of produce. I also got the chance to help clear beds for the winter season and plant winter crops. Every day I was at the farm, I began my morning by opening up the farm stand which involved turning on all the lights, sanitizing all highly touched surfaces due to COVID, and making sure there were enough check out sheets for customers to fill out. Some of the random tasks I performed during my internship were relocating chickens which involved me carrying them upside down by their feet, learning how to drive the Gator to transport harvested foods, helping to give the sheep their shots, and helping to move the outdoor wash-pack setup indoors for the winter months.
Highlights of the internship? About halfway through my internship, their 14-year-old sheep gave birth to a little boy lamb. Icelandic sheep have an average lifespan between 12 and 14 years, and she is the oldest sheep on the farm. They had no idea she was pregnant, so it was an extremely unexpected birth, and I got to hold him within his first few hours of life. They even gave me the task of naming him, and I decided on the name Pickles!
How did this experience connect to your major/minor/and career goals? As a food system major with minors in nutrition and community & international development, it was exciting to apply what I’ve learned in a classroom setting to a real word situation at ShakeyGround Farm. I was able to see exactly what it takes to run a small-scale farm in Vermont from growing, maintaining, and harvesting the plants to washing, processing, and packaging and then to sales. It felt like I was an active part of the local Vermont food system by taking part in this internship. While I’m still not sure what I want to do for a career, I know that I learned so many valuable skills about farming and connecting with a community.
How do you plan to apply this experience to your future? I hope to be able to apply this experience to my future by maintaining the strong connections I built with my internship supervisors. I know that they have a vast array of connections with other farmers, food buyers, and academic professionals through UVM Extension and NOFA-VT, so I’d like to expand my network further through this experience.
How did you find out about this opportunity? I took a class Sophomore year with Ethan Thompson called Comparative Food Systems, and he had a panel of local Vermont farmers come to our class to speak about what they do and their experiences. My internship supervisor, Megan, was one of the panelists and I immediately connected with the things she spoke about and honestly, I thought she was the coolest person ever! Because of this, I reached out to Ethan to get Megan’s contact information to see if she would be open to having an intern at ShakeyGround Farm, and she was!
Elise Schumacher '20 | INTERN @ Boundbrook Farm | Vergennes, VT
Boundbrook Farm is not your average Vermont farm. Yes, there are rolling hills, barns, and tractors, but the livestock (ducks) and main crop (rice) are unusual.
“Rice and ducks have been managed together in various ways going back about 3,000 years,” says Boundbrook owner Erik Andrus. “This is a modern version.” After struggling to grow other grains on his Ferrisburgh property, he learned about Japanese farmers who were growing rice in climates similar to Vermont. He planted his first rice paddy in 2010 and hasn’t looked back. Elise Schumacher spent their summer internship learning the ins and outs of rice paddy management, from planting rice seedlings and caring for ducklings to basic carpentry. This episode of Across the Fence goes to Boundbrook Farm where Elise learned about the interdependence between rice and ducks in an agricultural model unusual for Vermont:
Isabella Fazio '20 | Intern @ New Farms for New Americans | Burlington, VT
Name of Internship organization & what do they do? New Farms for New Americans sets up community garden spaces for refugees to grow their own food. They are a part of the larger organization AALV which works with the refugee communities on various levels.
Tasks performed during the internship? Upkeep of farms, closing down farms, speaking with farmers/families on what they need, writing curriculum about culturally significant food of different refugee populations for school field trips to farm, designing a permaculture/pollinator/medicinal herb garden space at the Ethan Allen homestead plots
Highlights of the internship? Working with the community and working on the farms
How did this experience connect to your major/minor/and career goals? I am really interested in urban farming and food sovereignty as a career goal and this was a perfect combination of those two interests. It connected well with previous and current classes and I used my knowledge from them but also learned a lot.
How do you plan to apply this experience to your future? I learned a lot of transferable skills regarding communication, planning, how non-profits work, etc. which I can use in future experiences.
How did you find out about this opportunity? I found out through one of the UVM emails sent out about internships in my field. Those are a great resource!
Leah Corbin '21 | Apple & Grape Research Intern @ Catamount Farm | S. Burlington, VT
Name of Internship organization & what do they do? The UVM Catamount Farm provides educational and research opportunities for the UVM community, as well as fresh produce for sale. Students are integral in carrying out all activities on the farm, from planting to marketing.
Tasks performed during the internship? Apple sale harvest, apple research harvest, grape sale harvest, grape research harvest, farm stand sales which included the apples and grapes as well as organic vegetables from the FTP.
Highlights of the internship? Learning about many different apple varieties, how research is conducted on the farm, and what it is like to run a well-loved farm stand.
How did this experience connect to your major/minor/and career goals? I have never done any kind of research, so it was interesting to see how much was done in a not extremely formal way and definitely made me think about accounting for human error in this kind of data collection. I had also never harvested grapes or apples before, so it was a great experience learning about this and comparing it to other harvesting experiences I have had.
How do you plan to apply this experience to your future? Compared to vegetable farming, this type of harvesting was much different. It gives me more perspective and a more well-rounded idea of what different areas of agriculture are like. Even if I may never pick apples in this type of setting again, it gives me more appreciation for those who run the orchards around our state.
How did you find out about this opportunity? My advisor, Terry Bradshaw, is one of the people who runs the grape and apple growing at the Hort Farm. I expressed interest in working there and he was able to provide me with an internship.
Loren Searles '21 | Gleaning & Food Rescue Intern @ Intervale | Burlington, VT
Name of Internship organization & what do they do? The Intervale Center runs a Gleaning & Food Rescue program which actively gleans produce from local farms from July-October, distributing most of the produce through a free CSA Fair Share Program for low-income residents of the Burlington area. Excess produce is donated to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. Gleaning is the act of harvesting excess or unmarketable produce from the field, which the farmer would not be utilizing.
Tasks performed during the internship? On Monday afternoons the team weighs and bags the gleaned produce, then assembles it into CSA basket shares for pick-up on Monday evenings. On Thursdays and Friday afternoons there are regular gleans at farms in the Intervale.
Highlights of the internship? The crew of interns and the staff leader are a lovely, welcoming, and fun group to work with! The work is outside in the beautiful landscapes of nearby vegetable farms, and the act of gleaning fresh and nutritious produce to save it from wasting in the field is incredibly rewarding. Being a part of the chain of events to bring fresh produce to community members who experience limited access is humbling and feels like a step in a positive direction through a distinct and successful model of food rescue and redistribution that I hope can be expanded upon all over the state, country, and world.
How did this experience connect to your major/minor/and career goals? This experience was relevant to my Food Systems major and Nutrition and Community Development minors because it is based on rescuing local, nutritious produce from farms to distribute in an intentionally accessible way to families who are unable to participate in the market-driven, expensive, fresh local food system under normal circumstances. One of my major career goals is to work in food access and to minimize the current price, accessibility, and availability barriers between all members of a community and the local and wholesome nutrition that our farmers can offer.
How do you plan to apply this experience to your future? I plan to apply this experience to future jobs that may involve similar models of networking among players (farmers, distributors, consumers) in the food system to bridge gaps and intentionally integrate local farms into their communities. I would be interested in a job in gleaning coordination, food distribution, and/or farm/nutrition education.
How did you find out about this opportunity? I found out about this opportunity on the Intervale Center’s website this past spring and was able to get in touch with the program coordinator to discuss credit and timing options that worked with my schedule.
Sydney Brouse '21 | Farm to Fork Intern @ Common Roots | S. Burlington, VT
Name of Internship organization & what do they do? Common Roots is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote farm and food education through events that engage all members of the community.
Tasks performed during the internship? At the Farm to Fork program, I spend the day in the kitchen preparing meals and desserts to be purchased by members of the community.
Highlights of the internship? I have advanced my culinary skills and made great connections with fellow interns and people that work for Common Roots.
How did this experience connect to your major/minor/and career goals? This experience is relevant to my major and career goals since it is very food centered, specially farm to table focused. I would love to work as a nutrition or food educator that teaches people the importance of knowing where your food comes from.
How do you plan to apply this experience to your future? I plan to apply this experience into my future by having it be a stepping stool for working in a more professional kitchen/bakery or by using the connections I’ve made to do work for Common Roots.
How did you find out about this opportunity? I found about the internships with Common Roots from the first Food Systems seminar and from a few friends who had interned or were planning to intern with them as well.
For Students: How to Get an Internship
Food Systems majors should consult with their academic advisor for information about how to find internships and earn academic credit. Academic internship requirements may vary per department.
For Host Sites: How to Get an Intern
For organizations interested in hiring UVM student interns, check out the Career Center's webpage on how to get started with this process: https://www.uvm.edu/career/hosting-internships.