*This course is free, but you must register in order to view syllabus and content. The next session that includes course moderation and live webinars will begin again in May 2017. Students will be notified when the next 6-month cohort and additional materials become available.*
This six-month internship combines hands-on education, farm-based independent study, and classroom and online learning. The program is a joint effort of Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA).
The goal of the program is to grow a network of seed farms that provide interns real-world experience in seed production, business planning, and other skills. The program emphasizes training in organic seed production given ongoing gaps in the supply. Organic seed production is a potentially lucrative opportunity for farmers, yet the specialized skill set required to grow high-quality organic seed serves as a barrier to entry for many farmers.
Sales of organic products in the U.S. have grown tremendously, including sales of organic seed. Planting organic seed is a requirement of the national organic standards; however, certified organic farmers are allowed to use untreated, non-organic seed when availability is limited because the organic seed supply hasn’t caught up to meet demand.
While demand for organic seed is high, there aren’t enough trained organic seed farmers to help these seed companies fulfill their supply needs. The Seed Internship Program is one effort to address this lack of training.
BENEFITS OF PARTICIPATION
- Connect to a global network of farmers, scientists, activists and innovators building resilient food systems
- Gain support from Organic Seed Alliance to contract with seed companies
- Receive a Certificate in Organic Seed Production upon course completion from Organic Seed Alliance and MESA
- Find a farm that can host you as a seed intern for at least 6 months*
- Sign seed internship agreement with host farmer (within first month)
- Keep a weekly field activity workbook (every week beginning in July)
- Complete monthly reading
- Attend/watch monthly webinars
- Optional: participate in the forum and chats
- Complete production report
- Complete program evaluation(s)
*If you are interested in participating but you are not on a farm you may register for the webinars and online resources but might not qualify for the certificate.