Organic gardening and food growing Internship

Want to learn more about tropical organic agriculture? Want to spend time living and learning about the jungle? Want to work with interns from other cultures and expertise? Want to help feed a field station in a local sustainable organic fashion?  Then this is the internship for you!

The goal of the T.R.E.E.S Hosting Center is to be able to feed all guests/visitors with local food grown sustainably and organically. As an education center, T.R.E.E.S also desires to have these organic gardens set up as “demonstration gardens”, where people from the local community can come and learn about organic gardening that works. There is a strong sentiment in the surrounding community that organic doesn’t work, and in even the smallest gardens in the neighbouring hills they use copious amounts of the worst pesticides (pesticides that are banned in North America and are shipped to developing countries). If through this project locals can be convinced that organic does work and is a feasible long-term farming strategy, and are taught how to go about it properly, there will be a very positive effect on the local environment.

The intern should be willing to work on the T.R.E.E.S garden plots and organic fruit orchard using organic growing techniques. The position will also involve visiting local organic farms and acquiring local expertise. As the center is wishing to go organic, the intern (with guidance from the project leader)) will also be responsible for seeking out local leaders in the organic community in Belize to find out what can and can’t be used to be organic. Thus this position will require the intern to go and chat with locals about agriculture in tropical Belize, including: best time to plant, best soil mixes and compost, and insect control via organic means. This may require inviting locals to the center to discuss their ideas and suggestions and use their local expertise. It will also require the intern to go visit local projects from time to time, as well as occasionally going to town to get supplies.

The intern has access to two shade-cloth covered greenhouses (one is 10*12 feet and the other is 12*30 feet) that are partly used. Together with these greenhouses and other open-air plots there is much space to create a variety of vegetable gardens and fruit orchards. There is great opportunity for expansion and exploration through this position, including the possibility of building raised plants beds, creating a cold sprout room, and expansion on the 17 acres of organic lime orchard that is already mature. The orchard has much available space to add new fruit trees, and a few large plots that can be used for a variety of agricultural endeavours.

The center is also currently in the process of acquiring some farm animals. This will be started small, with 10-12 laying hens, 2-3 cows, and a few goats with the eventual intent of expanding the range and scope if the small projects are successful. Although T.R.E.E.S managers have some experience with this component and will take the lead on it, they would like assistance from the garden project intern as well in order to do this as efficiently as possible.

Tasks

 Long hours in the field planting, pruning, weeding, preparing seedlings, etc.

  • Work under supervision of project leader
  • Work in the community with locals in gaining local knowledge about growing fruits and vegetables in the tropics.
  • Help project leader build raised plant beds, shelving for inside greenhouse, irrigation system for greenhouses, etc.
  • Help project leader build a series of compost bins with their own specific use.
  • Write a 4-5 page report on findings during internship (requests, suggestions, future ideas, do’s and don’ts).
  • Daily maintenance of farm animals.

Desired Qualifications

 Previous experience working with organic vegetable gardens an asset.

  • Pruning experience an asset.
  • Experience with organic gardening in the tropics an asset.
  • Experience with permaculture techniques an asset.
  • Experience with starting seedlings an asset.
  • Knowledge of raising farm animals an asset; chickens, cows and goats.
  • Enjoy working with a diverse community of people.
  • Able to spend long-hours in the field (difficult conditions).
  • Flexible easy-going attitude.

Physical Requirements and Work Conditions

Ability to tolerate high temperature and high humidity

  • Ability to work in environments where exposure to spiky plants, toxic vines, scorpions, spiders, ticks, and biting flies is common. In addition, it is the jungle; venemous snakes are uncommon but present.
  • Ability to live in remote conditions away from electronic ammenities
  • Possible indoor work is performed in a typical office setting.
  • Ability to lift, carry, and position objects weighing up to 50 pounds.

Benefits

Gain experience about organic farming and gardening in the tropics.

  • Opportunity to attend personal/professional development days with local experts.
  • Opportunity to live in and enjoy the scenery, wildlife, and cultural resources of a beautiful country in Central America.
  • Opportunity to grow local, as organic as possible food.
  • Opportunities to work with a dynamic team; T.R.E.E.S managers, interns, guides and locals from diverse backgrounds that share a common interest in preserving and protecting our natural lands and eating in a healthy sustainable manner.

Terms

Application deadline: Open until filled.

  • Desired start date: March 30, 2016
  • Length of position: 6 month
  • Schedule: 30 hours per week, Monday – Friday (minimum requirement).

 Fees

The agricultural volunteer internships have no fees but there is a minimum stay of 6 months. This includes use of all facilities as well as mentorship for the intended internship. Interns must have international travel insurance during their stay in Belize.

 To Apply
Please email your resume and a thoughtful cover letter to info@ecorana.ca Please indicate the position title in your email subject line.

No phone calls please