Apply for a Youth Farm or Education Internship!

Reblogged from: Growing Food and Sustainability

Spring is in the air!  Even though it feels spring is miles away, this month we have a made leaps and bounds in our summer planning.

Our summer internship application is LIVE! This year we have TWO separate internships: youth farm interns and education interns.

  • Youth Farm Interns will launch our NEW CSA, manage all farm maintenance and projects and run BIKE POWERED compost pick up and produce deliveries.
  • Education Interns will DEVELOP curriculum for multiple age groups from ages 5 to 13, LEAD summer garden camp activities and ORGANIZE group bike rides to the Middleton Food Pantry.
  • Also, all of our interns will PARTICIPATE in weekly INTERN CLASSES on organic farming practices, curriculum planning, the green economy, environmental justice and anti-oppression.

If you are interested, check out the poster below to learn how to apply!

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Urban Farming Internship

Originally posted on Summer of Solutions Hartford:

Summer of Solution Hartford is hosting a 7-month internship in urban agriculture. We are looking for up to 12 interns to work with us in community and school gardens in Hartford. You can apply here! bit.ly/LuqlDr

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We are looking for 12 young people (ages 14-30) to intern with our program this year. The internship commitment is 10 hours/week from April 1st-October 31st. Interns will work in one of our community or school gardens for 8 hours/week. Their time will be spent building and maintaining growing spaces, organizing community events, teaching gardening to children, and harvesting with our neighbors.
For 2 hours/week the whole group will come together to participate in a workshop series on leadership development and environmental justice.
Each intern will receive a $2,500 stipend for successful participation in the program. Some travel assistance is also available based on need.
The application closes on March 1st, and applicants will…

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Reflections and Insights for the New Year

Last month, Robin, Gabrielle, and I (Program Leaders for Growing Food and Sustainability in Middleton, WI) attended the annual Grand Aspirations January Gathering in Roger’s Park, Chicago. (Though it tried, we did not let the polar vortex stop us.) Basically, January Gathering is a time for program leaders from all over the Midwest (Middleton, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, Highland Park-Detroit, Chicago, and Lexington) to come together to share skills and knowledge that help us run awesome programs, like green infrastructure projects, youth garden camps, and youth-run worker cooperatives.

We also get to hang out and make revolutionary frirends! Anthony (program leader in Chicago) taught us how to make a gif at the No Talent Show.

We also get to hang out and make revolutionary friends! Anthony (program leader for Lets Go Chicago) taught us how to make a gif at the No Talent Show.

This was Gabrielle and my third January Gathering (hard to believe!), so we were thrilled to have Robin attend for her first time as a new program leader. (Unfortunately our fourth program leader, Emilee, was too sick to make the trek with us, but as you can imagine, she has heard ALL about it.) Gabrielle and I both remember how transformative our first gathering was and hoped Robin would come away feeling empowered and excited for the year ahead. Read her reflection below to hear how the gathering impacted her:

January Gathering grounds and energizes programs. January Gathering is a time to reflect and to look back over the year to search for success and evaluate failure in order to find solutions. To begin, it is important to look at the core values of Growing Food and Sustainability and Grand Aspirations: Justice, sustainability, prosperity, and community. Looking back at our core values, there were some that we were making progress toward, and others we had hoped to do better. Evaluating our progress allowed us to become grounded, to look forward and make important changes, such as improving our intern curriculum. To improve your program, you have to improve yourself. The gathering allows time to remember why we do it. When walking into a training session there is energy that fills your body. You feel hope and joy fill your soul. While in sessions you begin to grow as you self reflect. In Grand Aspirations energy and passion are recovered to make a change. You finally can feel one with yourself and a serene sense of freedom comes over you. When sessions are finished, you feel empowered and you begin to realize that it is not just about your program. It is about every program around the country and the amazing work we are doing as a whole. The work we do today will eventually change the world by solving the problems, one garden, one solution at a time. One garden may seem too small to have an impact, but when we all come together and work towards the same goal, something much greater is born.

Even though it was my third January Gathering and fifth gathering in total (including two National August Gatherings), I came away with tons of new insights and perspectives on our work including…

  • Leverage existing institutional resource flows to grow the green economy. Or in other words, we need to focus on creating new, sustainable systems that meet needs within our community.
  • It’s all about the ripple effect. If you don’t have the ripple effect, it’s not enough.
  • “Morph the system while winning within it” – Lynn Hinkle
  • Anti-oppression needs to be central to every part of our work. Every time we make a big decision or build a new project, we need to have anti-oppression at the center of our conversation.
  • Growing food with kids is sweet and cute, but the work we are doing is also “deadly serious”.
  • The systems we’re trying to change are huge and intimidating (the industrial food system), but are also very intimate (the food I can grow for my neighbors).

Since we’ve been back, we’ve had some great discussions reflecting on the history of our program and where we are going from here. We’re all itching for spring and are eager to put our plans into action!

Look how excited we are to get to work!

Look how excited we are to get to work!

Stay warm, Natalie and Robin

Ring in the New Year! January Gatherings Got Me Pumped!

Friends,

A quick note from the National Gatherings Team — we wanted to let you all know how excited we are about the programming that this January Gathering is boasting, and we wanted to bring you into the know.

As always, our January Gathering is being modulated to meet the growth needs of our many teams, team members and regionalities! Our three gatherings, Oakland, Chicago, and D.C., will each have specifically designed curricula to explore old and new topics — we will continue developing our anti-oppression programming, our trainings on how to train, our budgeting and fundraising sessions and our personal development sessions.

THE NEW AND EXCITING SESSIONS ARE: a totally revised and revamped media training that will more intentionally link media to local needs AND a session on fractal leadership model development. There is room for more sessions, too, so if you have something to suggest, let us know! Anthony from the Agenda Committee can take your comment or question at anthony.betori@gmail.com.

The food is going to be good // the connections are going to grow our network stronger // the snow in each city will be beautiful // the possibilities are growing!

We can’t wait to see you, new teams and old! The second best time of the year is here — January Gathering is coming!

January Gathering is Coming

Resiliency in the Face of Stronger Storms

By Josephine Chu, Washington, DC

Unlike many environmentalists, I did not grow up appreciating nature or spending a ton of time outside, unless I was going to the beach. I associated the outdoors with mosquitoes, scorching heat in the summer, and freezing cold in the winter. I was a nerd who much preferred spending my time reading books in the climate controlled-temperatures of the library.

So where did my passion for “protecting the environment” come from? It stemmed from a realization that the actions we are taking are extremely harmful to the environment, yet we are so dependent on the resources such as clean air and water that nature provides. My first introduction to these problems of environmental pollution came when I took an environmental studies class my senior year of high school. However, it was only when I took an introductory environmental studies class in college and learned the extent to which we had already polluted the earth and the degree to which that affected our livelihoods, that I dove head-first into all things “environmental.”

That was seven years ago now and the extreme weather events of the past few years have only served to remind me of our need to build communities that instead of polluting the earth, restore it and adapt to the growing impacts of climate change.

In particular, as someone who grew up on Long Island and whose parents still live there, the impact of Hurricane Sandy made me think even harder about the implications of climate change and what we can do to make our communities climate-ready. In light of all of this, I see the work that people all around the country and world such as my fellow Solutionaries are doing to build resilient communities even more important and urgent.

I wrote a blog about the need for resiliency in the face of stronger storms, which was just posted on the EPA website and I re-posted below.

We all remember Superstorm Sandy, especially those of us who live along the East Coast. My parents, who reside on Long Island, were very lucky and did not have any major damage to their home. They did, however, have to live without electricity for two weeks.

Seeing the impact on my parents during this time made me realize just how much we depend on electricity to run the daily tasks in our lives. My parents could cook at home on our gas stove, but without a working refrigerator, they couldn’t store perishables. Long lines at the gas stations meant that even the simple task of driving to buy supplies became difficult. Some of my friends didn’t have running water since there was no electricity to operate the water pumps. These stories made me wonder: will we be prepared if another Sandy hits? Are more Sandys in our future?

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While there is uncertainty about the impact of climate change on the frequency of hurricanes, scientists have evidence documenting how climate change will intensify storms. According to the US Global Change Research Program, it is very likely that increased levels of greenhouse gases have contributed to an increase in sea surface temperatures. The intensity of North Atlantic tropical storm activity for most of the mid- to late 20th century has increased, too (see the orange “Power Dissipation Index” line in the figure above). This trend is associated closely with variations in sea surface temperature (see the dashed purple line). As sea surface temperatures are projected to continue increasing in a warming climate, we can expect that warm waters will fuel more intense storms.

Government agencies, including EPA, are working together to implement the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy, with the goal of accounting for the impacts of more intense storms. Cities are also taking action; in June 2013, New York City mayor Bloomberg proposed a $20 billion plan of flood barriers and green infrastructure to build a more resilient city.

Check out EPA’s page on adaptation efforts for more information about how we can work together to build climate-resilient communities. With better adaptation efforts, hopefully, my family and other communities can be better prepared for the next storm.

Josephine Chu currently works with the communications team of the Climate Change Division at EPA and is the co-founder of Zenful Bites, a social enterprise providing food education and eco-catering services in the DC area.

Chu pictureand yes! now, I love spending my time outside and can’t get enough :)

A Year of Beekeeping in Bulgaria

After our prolonged blog silence – for which I apologize! – I decided to share with you chronological glimpses of what happened with our GA Local Initiative Program: Sofia, Bulgaria. Just as a reminder, our program revolves around an urban beekeeping project which I, Elena, and my friend Teo have been working on for over a year now.

At this time we have wrapped all summer and fall activities and are assessing the results and sustainability options. Our first and foremost achievement is the successful and legal installation of two Langstrot Ruth hives and one demonstration hive in the Physical Garden at the very very center of the city. We also managed to lead over So here’s how it all progressed.

February, 2013 – Brussels

We leave for Brussels! So, the funding we received for our project came from a contest for sustainable urban development ideas. The contest was conducted in many other European countries including the Czech Republic, Luthuania, Romania, Hungary, Poland. The winning teams were invited by CEE Bankwatch to present their ideas in support for changes in the structure of the EU funding mechanisms that would allow small citizen-lead projects to qualify.

People loved our project and we loved the dynamic and vibrant international community. Other projects included urban farms and community gardens, bike-recycling, and many more!

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