Please share widely! We are still planning to offer farming internships during the summer and fall.
Zenger Farm is a 501(c)3 nonprofit working urban farm in Portland, OR. We model, promote, and educate about sustainable food systems, environmental stewardship, community development, and access to good food for all. We are guided by a vision of a healthy, resilient community, where the wellbeing and prosperity of children and adults, regardless of race, geography or socio-economic status, is enhanced through access to affordable, plentiful and nourishing foods. We believe nourishment is a basic human right. zengerfarm.org.
Farm interns graduate ready to work on a sustainable mixed-vegetable farm as a Crew Member. Some people use this program to decide whether to pursue a future in farming. Still others use this program to gain skills that they use in their careers as educators, chefs, gardeners, social workers and at non-profit organizations.
We seek to train an inclusive next generation of farmers. Nationwide, the average age of a farmer is 60-years-old, 85% of farmers are men, 95% of farmers are white. Many other groups are underrepresented. This disparity in representation is due to racism (particularly white supremacy), sexism, and classism, and therefore we encourage people of color, women, LGBTQ people, religious minorities, recent immigrants and applicants from different generational, economic and educational backgrounds to apply. This farm apprenticeship program is designed for people with little or no experience farming. Farm apprentices rarely work independently and instead spend most of their time being closely mentored by our two farm co-managers, Bryan and David. Both are cis-men of European descent with no African, Latino, or Indigenous heritage; one is gay and the other bisexual. It is important to consider how their identity may shape your experience.
We seek to provide an economically-viable alternative to “conventional agriculture.” We adopt a view of food sovereignty. Farms should be responsible and accountable members of their communities. Farms should improve community resilience and self-reliance. Farms should foster healing connections with the land. We seek to reform conventional farming practices that depend heavily on machinery, chemicals and exploited labor. Conventional agriculture damages land, air and water; harms the health of communities that consume the food grown; and harms the workers who feed our communities.
Farm Apprentices care for four acres of diversified vegetable crops and fruit orchards. We strive to model social justice and economic viability at our organic farm. We earned $135,000 from the distribution of produce in 2019. Over 90% of income was from vegetable crops. 70% of our produce feeds our 220-member CSA, with pick-ups at the farm and at the nearby Multnomah County Mid County Health Center. Our farm is in a culturally vibrant neighborhood and we operate a bilingual English/Spanish CSA. Our farming operation allows us to model innovative practices. In one such program, we educated over 500 other CSA farmers how to accept SNAP payment. We have since set up a system to provide centralized SNAP processing for over 50 Oregon CSA farms. In another such program, for-profit CSA farms are paired with low-income health clinics providing subsidized shares to patients with diet-related illnesses, called CSA Partnerships for Health. The remainder of our produce sales are to local restaurants.
The core of the Zenger Farm Crew consists of two experienced farm co-managers and four full-season farm apprentices. Four short-season interns will join the crew 2 days/week for 8 weeks at a time in the Summer and again in the Fall. Farm apprentices rarely work independently and instead spend most of their time being closely mentored by our two farm co-managers. Similarly, farm apprentices will work closely with and mentor the farm interns. Additionally, farm apprentices will lead volunteers and other work parties.
Education of the body is a core component of this apprenticeship. We teach apprentices the underlying ergonomics of farm work. Proper ergonomics are essential for an economically-viable farm. Your speed, stamina and efficiency will allow you to operate your own farm and compete when other farms lower their costs with machinery, chemicals, and exploited labor. Close mentorship from our farm managers allows apprentices to learn proper ergonomics.
We provide an immersive and comprehensive education in farming. Farm apprentices will have direct experience in all aspects of our farming operation, taking turns being responsible for every aspect. The farm apprenticeship includes over 40 hours of classroom instruction in topics such as crop planning, irrigation, seed saving, soil fertility, enterprise budgeting, etc. Farm apprentices will be provided additional opportunities to attend classes and tours at other local farms. While apprentices will occasionally participate in other programming at Zenger Farm (youth education and community engagement), most of their time is spent farming.
We provide a compassionate and healing education. Zenger Farm recognizes that many people, disproportionately people of color, have experienced trauma related to the land and farming. This includes the land where Zenger Farm is located, which is stolen indigenous land. The farm crew reminds ourselves that indigenous people are still connected to this land by incorporating culturally specific practices and centering indigenous knowledge and history. As a crew, we foster a healing environment with positivity, mindfulness, shared responsibility, Nonviolent Communication, regular check-ins, open feedback (both given and received), and Popular Education methods. Together, we examine the root causes of injustice in our food system—particularly racism and sexism— with facilitated discussions prompted by readings, talks, videos and personal stories shared by the apprentices, as well as visits with other community members and leaders.
• Wednesday and Thursday, 8 hours/day
• Summer: June 17th – August 6th, Fall: August 26th-October 15th.
• Field Work: Most field work at Zenger Farm is done by hand, and includes seeding, planting, weeding, watering, trellising, harvesting, hauling, washing, and packing produce for sale
• Animal Care: Watering, feeding, cleaning, and care of chickens and turkeys
• General Farm Maintenance: Tool and equipment care, farm and property upkeep
• Summer and Fall tasks will differ, please inquire for more information
• Interest in gardening or farming.
• Ability to lift and carry 50 pounds, farm outdoors in all weather conditions and perform the above responsibilities.
• Attitude: Positive, driven, flexible and team-oriented.
Benefits: This is an unpaid volunteer internship, room and board are not provided
• Hands-on training in small-scale, sustainable farming practices
• 10 hours workshop instruction in sustainable farming practices
• 1 CSA share during internship dates
Little to no background in farming or gardening.
You can apply online or by mail, but not by email.
• Apply online at zengerfarm.org/portland-farm-internship or
• Print and mail the following application to: Zenger Farm, Attn: David Wills-Ehlers, Farming Internship, 11741 SE Foster Rd. Portland, OR 97266.
Contact David Wills-Ehlers (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions, but please do not submit your application by email.
A complete application includes these sections:
1. Applicant information
4. Demographics (optional and voluntary)
Apply by end of day June 10th for the summer session, August 19th for the fall session. We will begin reviewing applications on May 1st for the summer session and July 1st for the fall session.