2014 Summer Farm Crew Leader

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Description

MEVO (Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization, Inc.) is looking for a kick ass high-school, college, or graduate student who can lead our 2013 Summer Farm Crew as its Crew Leader. This internship is designed for someone who wants to be a leader in environmental sustainability, an activist throughout their local community, and make a difference in creating a better future. Every year we have a really awesome inspirational Farm Crew Leader and we are looking for our next one. For this leadership position we are looking for someone who is honest, responsible, passionate, out-going, friendly, and has a basic understanding of environmental values. It does not matter what your experience in farming is; whether you are an avid gardener or simply a passionate environmental person, if you meet the personality requirements above we would love to hear from you. This is the third year MEVO’s Farm Crew builds on a legacy of environmental activism and education and empowering and training sustainable agriculture leaders. It is a hands-on learning experience that shows you how to create, develop, and implement community farming on a local level and how to manage, grow, and lead a not-for-profit farm and teach about farming.

This summer you and your crew will work throughout the Northern New Jersey area to accomplish several large food sustainability projects:
1. Building the Bergen County Educational Farm, a one acre (44,000 square foot) sustainable farm at Saddle River County Park in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. This farm will be the only one of its kind in Bergen County and will be a model for sustainable community based agriculture throughout the State of New Jersey. The space will be used for educational field trips for schools, horticultural therapy for people with disabilities, and community workshops on environmental ethics and sustainability.
2. Teaching horticultural therapy in partnership with Pony Power Therapies. Each summer we have the pleasure of operating our organic garden with Pony Power and offering a educational organic gardening program to children in abuse shelters, children with disabilities and developmental delay, children in hospice, and more.
3. Planting, maintaining, and harvesting all of MEVO’s community gardens / farms. This summer we will have over 1.5 acres of land in cultivation maintained by our crew. This land will grow food that is donated to hunger organizations and prepared into nutritious meals for our volunteers. In addition, our crew will also help several other community gardens manage their crops and learn how to farm ecologically.
4. Building and managing over 18 MEVO Bee Hives. This March, MEVO is building a 13 Hive Bee Apiary at our farm in Paramus and maintaining hives at several of our other farms in North Jersey. Our crew will be trained as beekeepers and taught how to manage our bees, from identifying the queen to harvesting honey.
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Responsibilities

During the internship you will spend your day outdoors leading your crew in maintaining organic farms, organizing community members to take action on environmental problems, teaching horticultural therapy programs, beekeeping, harvesting food, growing mushrooms, scouting space for organic farming, maintaining our compost systems, tending our chickens, learning about various organic farming practices, meeting with community members to engage more local residents in sustainable agriculture and building solutions to local and global environmental problems. You will also spend time in our office developing sustainable food projects, outreaching to local community groups about sustainable food, meeting with school groups, connecting with disabled adult groups, and getting hands on experience managing a not-for-profit farm from social media and website development to planting seeds and donating food.

Other responsibilities are:
1. Leading and Inspiring: It doesn’t matter your age, your education, or your prior farming experience. We are looking for personality and for someone who is willing to give this their all and inspire their crew to achieve an amazing difference. You will have up to 15 crew members of varying ages working for you all summer. They will all look to you as a mentor to guide their education and experience in making a better world. It’s a big responsibility but you can do it!
2. Organizing projects and work: You are responsible for all the projects that the Farm Crew needs to accomplish this summer. Tending chickens, keeping bees, organizing speakers, planning volunteer days, you are the one person who needs to be the most organized out of your entire crew. You need to be early for every meeting and the last person to leave at the end of the day. Your crew is counting on you.
3. Physical volunteering and getting dirty: MEVO’s volunteer work is tiring and you need to be in good physical shape and willing to work hard. You will spend A LOT of your summer outdoors on the farm in the heat and mud!
4. Emailing, phone calling, and meeting: Community organizing today requires you to use technology! You will get a huge amount of experience emailing, phone calling, and meeting with schools and groups from all spectrums of our communities. There will be indoor office work so be ready for it!
5. Public speaking and making decisions: This is an unpaid internship and as an unpaid crew member, we want you to end your internship with skills, abilities, and an education on how to be a leader and get people involved. This means that you will speak in public in front of groups of people of all ages and be asked to make difficult decisions with sometimes little guidance and help.
6. Teaching: We value directive education as a huge part of our organization. Every Farm Crew member will work with schools groups, disabled groups, and more to teach about sustainability and growing food.

Requirements

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5. Teaching sustainable agriculture. This summer MEVO will have multiple summer camps and schools visit our farms and we will visit their classrooms. Our crew will teach educational programs on organic farming, local food systems, the impact of conventional food systems, and environmental values around food, beekeeping, and more.
6. Building school and community gardens. Several schools and towns have reached out to our crew and want us to build them an organic garden this summer. The crew will be in charge of designing and building several organic learning gardens in a variety of spaces.
7. Using the practices of strategic volunteerism and directive education to inspire social change in local communities and grow a larger environmental movement in Northern NJ.

Requirements
Title: Crew Leader
Days for the Internship: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday

1. Planning in spring: The crew starts in May. This means you need to start pre-planning the crews activities and meeting your crew members in the spring. This doesn’t mean that if you are at a college out of state you can’t be a crew leader but rather you are going to have to have a lot more Skype meetings and emails. Pre-planning for the summer needs happen in the spring so you must be willing to do this while working or in school.
2. Taking your work home with you: Over the summer you will work hard, however, as a leader you will receive the biggest benefit. Seeing your hard work pay off in the lives of people you engage with the farms you build, feed with the food you grow, and teach in your educational programs. You must be willing to be on call at all times, answering emails, making phone calls, and sometimes attending meetings on your days off.
3. Mode of transportation: MEVO operates throughout North Jersey, which means during the internship we will travel throughout this greater area. You need a way to get to our meet up location in Mahwah, NJ. We carpool most days so you will likely either be driving the carpool or carpooling in someone else’s ride.
4. Attendance: As a crew leader, you are required to be at every day of our internship. You can’t have a crew if the leader doesn’t people show up. We allow one week of vacation time from our internship. If we choose you as the crew leader you cannot end your internship early, if the crew leader leaves the crews entire experience is compromised.
5. Working Laptop: Our office work requires a laptop that you can use. We have electricity and internet access. Sorry, but hand written letters just are not a way to get things done quickly and we are running out of time!
6. 5 Day Ananda Ashram Trip: This trip is going to be one of the most-awesome experiences of the summer. You must be able to take a few days off to attend this trip. It will be directly in the middle of the summer mid or late July.

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