Land Stewardship Project hiring Interns

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Growing Neighborhood Access to Healthy Local Food Program
Land Stewardship Project

Location: Twin Cities Metro, Phillips Neighborhood
Category: Program support
Job Type: Intern
Hours: 10-15 per week
Activity Area: Food & Nutrition
Closing Date: June 1st 2012
Salary: Unpaid

The Land Stewardship Project (LSP) is looking for summer interns to deepen our work and strengthen our capacity around the Growing Neighborhood Access to Healthy Local Food Program in partnership with Hope Community in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis. Internships are a 10-15 hours per-week commitment, unpaid. Interns will gain valuable knowledge and experience working with diverse individuals and recent immigrants, with a focus on access to healthy, local food, as well as growing that food. LSP and Hope are working to engage individuals, build leadership and work with community members to develop a healthy, community-based food system in the Phillips neighborhood that includes access to growing space. Interns have the benefit of being under the tutelage of two established nonprofit organizations, both with over 30 years experience in community development and grassroots organizing.

Project Background:

Through a partnership with the Land Stewardship Project, Hope Community is working to develop a program that supports Phillips community residents in accessing land, space and materials to grow their own food, access healthy local food and engage in a community-based food system. This program, called “Growing Neighborhood Access to Healthy Local Food” is in its third season, and is looking to expand in capacity as well as the amount of support offered to participants, who are typically brand new to gardening. Through a series of events and classes, LSP and Hope have engaged over 60 individuals in work related to food during the 2012 growing season. We are continually looking for ways to continue to engage more people, support individuals who are already involved, foster leadership, and create more access points to fresh, healthy, local food.

All programmatic work will be supervised within a core “Food Team” at Hope, consisting of: Betsy Sohn, Hope Program Manager; Rhys Williams, Hope Mentor Gardener; and Anna Cioffi, LSP Program Organizer. Interns will spend their first two weeks in training and orientation to learn community organizing techniques, skills, learn more about LSP and Hope as organizations, and gain familiarity with current gardeners. Interns will work closely and consult with this core “Food Team” frequently, as well as manage work independently.

Internship Descriptions:

Cooking & Nutrition Program Associate will be responsible for:

  • Conducting and documenting at least 20 conversations with individual neighborhood residents around preserving, preparing and eating food to gain a deeper understanding of current levels of access.
  • Using these results and working with the core “Food Team” at Hope work on a plan and structure around a program that addresses cooking and nutrition on a neighborhood level.
  • As a team, identifying leaders, community organizations and experts to lead cooking classes (number to be determined between intern and supervisor) in the Hope community kitchen. At least one class should be specifically geared towards children.
  • Recruiting and registering neighborhood residents and promoting these classes through various channels, ensuring good attendance at classes — exact number and schedule to be determined between intern and supervisor.
  • Keep detailed records of attendees, and have follow-up conversations to determine success, challenges and further improvements to the classes.
  • Goal: To provide data that will deepen our understanding around nutrition education and the preparation of healthy foods in the Phillips neighborhood and to pilot at least two cooking classes where 8-10 Phillips neighborhood residents are present. 

Community Outreach Program Associates will be responsible for:

  • Documenting use of Hope Community Garden space, with the intent to deepen our understanding of how garden space is being utilized. Use of new technology, such as video or audio, is encouraged. All documentation will be given to Hope Community.
  • Communicate with gardeners to identify problems and barriers gardeners are facing, and work with gardeners to find community-based solutions and opportunities.
  • Tracking gardeners who have completed our “Gardening in Small Spaces and Containers Class” and making site visits to see how kits are being used, troubleshooting if gardeners have questions or problems.
  • Co-organizing at least two garden work days, with the goal of bringing people involved in Hope’s food work together to accomplish needed tasks in the garden, such as composting, sign-making and regular garden maintenance.
  • Creating other community events with the core “Food Team” to engage gardeners outside of the garden ( such as  Harvest Celebration, movies, etc.).
  • Goal: To keep garden participants connected and engaged throughout the 2012 growing season and increase the amount of contact gardeners are having with other gardeners, activities that serve to connect community, and information about gardening food systems, and food access issues in Phillips.

Details & Other Considerations

Interns will be supervised by Anna Cioffi, program organizer for the Land Stewardship Project; goals, objectives, and determination of success will be decided upon between intern and supervisor.

  • Candidates must be detail-oriented, keep accurate records and communicate effectively. Interns should have comfort working across cultures as well as the ability to be self-directed and work in a team setting.
  • Candidates who have a background in nutrition, environmental science, public health, anthropology, sociology, agriculture or human development are preferred, but not required. Interns do not need to be students. Basic understanding of vegetable gardening is preferred, but not required.
  • Candidates should also have the physical ability to do gardening work, such as shoveling, bending over and lifting up to 25 pounds.
  • Candidates with proficiency in Spanish or Somali will be strongly considered. Applicants who live or work in the Phillips neighborhood are especially encouraged to apply. Interns must be able to commit to frequent evening and some weekend hours. Specific schedules will be determined by intern and supervisor.
  • Candidates must be able to commit to the internship from June to September. Start and end dates are flexible and will be arranged with supervisor.

To Apply:

Please submit a resume with relevant experience, a brief letter of interest, as well as three references. One can be a personal reference. The other references should be work-related, or be someone who is able to speak to your work style. Application materials should be sent by June 1, 2012, to: Anna Cioffi, LSP, 821 East 35th St., Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55407;; phone: 612-722-6377.

Background of Organizations Involved:

Hope Community is located in the Phillips neighborhood within Hennepin County in the city of Minneapolis. The neighborhood is located less than a mile from downtown Minneapolis. The 20,000 neighborhood residents include people from African American, American Indian and European American cultures, as well as immigrants from many African and Latino countries. Eighty percent of Hope’s residents are people of color. Hope’s work involves culturally diverse, working class and very low-income people. Hope Community tenants and community program participants reflect the neighborhood demographics. Historic lack of resources, racism and other stereotypes impact outsider views of the neighborhood and are a strong influence on how people who live here perceive themselves and their potential. Many studies have shown the Minneapolis area to have one of the highest disparities between people of color and whites in the country relative to many indicators. Residents are challenged by poverty, isolation, a poor educational climate, lack of services and amenities, exposure to violence and a sense of limited chances for success in life. Many people tell us that they feel helpless to make a positive difference or to impact the community to make a positive difference.

The Land Stewardship Project (LSP) is a grassroots organization of over 2,600 member households in the upper Midwest, working in communities to organize for strong food systems.  LSP was founded in 1982 to foster an ethic of stewardship for farmland, to promote sustainable agriculture and to develop sustainable communities. The Community Based Food Systems and Economic Development Program works to create a Regional Food System that benefits farmers, consumers and the land. The Land Stewardship Project’s office in South Minneapolis is working in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area to make sustainably-grown, local food available to urban residents from a variety of backgrounds. This worked is based on the philosophy that our urban and rural communities are deeply connected through food, and we are strongest when we work together.