Internships for Sustainable Food & Farming (Campus) Students: How They Work

Seeking interns for your farm or project?

We get a lot of inquiries from local farms and organizations who are looking for interns.  Western Massachusetts is a unique place to study and practice agriculture; there are abundant and diverse local farms, initiatives, and organizations where our (wonderful) students can gain valuable hands-on experience. In order for an internship to be mutually beneficial and compatible with a student’s schedule, please consider the following information.

Important internship information from the university can be found here.

During the Fall (Sept-Dec) and Spring (early Feb-mid/late May) semesters students can earn credit gaining relevant experience working on/with a farm or organization.  If the internship is completed in the fall/spring, students typically pursue a 1-4 credit internship in lieu of a course.  For reference, 1 credit (during the semester) is roughly equal to 3 hours/week of student engagement.  If there is consistent mentorship available from the farm/organization and it works with the student’s schedule and learning goals, sometimes students can earn more than 4 credits during the semester. 

What about the Summer and Winter?

Students can earn internship credits during the summer and winter sessions, but in order to do so they must pay about 200$/credit.  We are more eager to promote internships that pay our students fairly, especially in the summer/winter as students must pay for credits.  

How do the credits work?

Summer/Winter: In the summer, one credit = approximately 35-40 hours total/credit up to 9 credits max. We try to be flexible in the summer because we have students working in a variety of settings but that is the general formula we use.  Students are expected to keep track of their own hours.

Fall/Spring semester: one credit = approximately 3 hours per week over the semester (some weeks may be more than 3 and others less but the total should be 35 to 40 hours per credit).  For example, a 3 credit internship is apx. 9 hours of work per week. Students are expected to keep track of their own hours.

When to plan and promote the internship?

Students enroll for courses & internships pretty far in advance.  Students enroll in Fall courses in March/April and in Spring courses in November.  Sometimes, short notice internship requests can work out, however planning in advance is best. Advisors might share information about unpaid opportunities if they are of interest to advisees, but in general we will not widely promote unpaid internships without proof of robust training being provided for students. 

Post Directly to Job Boards:

Farms/organizations can post internship announcements to students in two places.

  • Stockbridge Career Net will require you to fill out some fields about the opportunity. This site catalogs Stockbridge-specific opportunities and is monitored.

AND

  • Handshake is the University-wide system for promoting internships. 

What Stockbridge Advisors need:

To promote your internship to our SFF email list, we will need a short but detailed description from the farm/organization (either a .doc or PDF or link to the position on your website) that outlines the scope of work, general days/times required.  This description needs to outline clearly if this is a paid opportunity and what the earnings will be. We generally send emails to SFF students in batches so your announcement may not get sent via email to our students immediately.  

Role of Faculty Sponsor

Once a project/internship is identified, students complete a contract with their faculty sponsor that outlines the student’s learning goals, timeline, expectations, and the project/reflection to be submitted for a letter grade. See a Sample Contract here.  

The faculty sponsor is responsible for helping students articulate their learning goals and timeline, holding periodic check-ins, and clarifying criteria for the graded project.  Effective internships provide students with a point person/contact at the farm/organization from whom they will receive direction, supervision and mentorship carrying out the day-to-day tasks and work.