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Farm Crew Leader

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Company/Organization: Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization, Inc. (MEVO)


“It doesn’t matter which end of the seed is down, or whether its 1/8 inch shallower than instructed. It’ll come up. It almost always does. The only seed that won’t come up is the one you fail to plant.” This quote by Peter Fossell represents the way MEVO trains, recruits, and empowers our Farm Crew Leaders. We are looking for someone who wants to lead a passionate group of farming volunteers. This internship gives you amazing leadership experience outdoors, as well as a wonderful experience working with community members and plants. It does not matter what your experience in farming is; whether you are an avid gardener or simply a passionate environmental person, we would love to hear from you! Plants will grow and a huge bounty of produce will be harvested as long as there is a confident leader interested in planting the seeds and seeing our projects through. Our Farm Crew Leader will lead our team of Farm Crew Interns throughout the summer in building organic farms, installing compost systems, caring for our chickens and bees, teaching educational workshops on gardening to children and adults, and working with different volunteer groups that come to our farms. You and your farm interns will be in charge of building, growing, maintaining, and harvesting all of our 5 gardens throughout Northern, New Jersey. We will teach you the basics of gardening if you don’t know how to do it, and once you are sufficient in working with plants, you will take the role of researching and developing your own knowledge on sustainable farming practices and implementing them into our gardens.
The Farm Crew Leader internship begins in March, when we start our seedlings for this coming spring. In March and April you will work with a small team of Farm Volunteers. In May, the Farm Summer Crew formally starts and will operate until August, which you will lead three days a week. From September to November you will work with another small team of Farm Volunteers finishing out the farming season. During March, April, September, October, and November your weekly schedule can be more flexible. From May – August it is expected that you lead your crew three days a week. We are open to any ideas you might have on a custom schedule or time commitment, because we need all the help we can get. As long as you have a passion for organic local farming, we can figure out a way for you to work with us. .
Leading and Inspiring: The Farm Crew will be made up of college and high school students from a variety of backgrounds. They are a part of this program because they want to learn about environmental sustainability and organic local farming. As the leader, you have to teach these crewmembers all that you know on helping the environment and growing clean and good food. We want you to inspire your crewmembers with a passion to make a difference for the environment and in the world.
Teaching: The Farm Crew, each summer, serves as our primary team of educational volunteers that operate our summer camps in conjunction without our partner not-for-profit, “Pony Power Therapies, Inc.” Farm Crew members teach children from shelters, children in hospice, people with disabilities, and other groups about organic gardening and local food. As the Farm Crew leader, you will be the primary teacher of these weekly summer camps and will be leading the educational workshops along with your crew members.
Organizing projects and work: Keeping gardens healthy and productive is a big task that requires a focused person who can keep track of projects that need get done, as well as prioritize in order of importance. This coming summer, the Farm Crew will be carrying out projects ranging from tending to chickens and bees to building worm compost systems and installing fences. You will be trained on how to do all of these projects, but you will need to design a strategy with your crew on what needs to get done first every day.
Physical volunteering and getting dirty: Almost every day will be spent outdoors volunteering on farm projects. You will build rain water collection systems, plan out gardens, spread mulch, and clear invasive plants. In addition, you will work with community members on “dirty” projects like manure composting and “heavy” projects like moving stones to build raised beds. This job is not for the faint of heart!
Public speaking and decision making: As a crew leader, you will need to serve as an example to your crewmembers. You will have to teach them to make decisions and be confident speaking in front of groups of people of all ages. There is no better way to teach your crewmembers this than by exhibiting those qualities yourself. This means you need to be able to speak in front of groups and make decisions without other MEVO staff there to help you. From day one, you will need to speak in front of people and start making serious decisions about summer plans and project implementation. A crew leader must be comfortable doing both of these things already.


Passionate, friendly, and independent thinkers: These types of characteristics help to make a difference in the world enhance your ability to work with different types of communities and people. You may feel like you have some but not all of these characteristics and that is fine, but you need to express to us why you are the fit for the job. As a leader, we need you to serve as an example for your crewmembers. These characteristics, we feel, build strong leaders.
Mode of transportation: MEVO operates 5 gardens throughout Northern New Jersey, which means during the internship we will travel to all of these gardens throughout the week. As a Crew Leader, you need a car. We carpool for most days so we never need as many cars as crew members, but as a Crew Leader, throughout the day, you will be moving from place to place (probably more often than your crew members). You will be preparing job sites, meeting with special community members, or even (hopefully not!) driving someone to the hospital if they are injured. As a leader, you need to have a car to be able to manage and be in control of all possible situations and have the most resources for solutions to any issues.
Punctuality and Reliability: MEVO is lead by unpaid high school and college students and has volunteers ranging from students to adults. Because we are unpaid, the internship is designed to be a part-time position three days a week allowing you to have a part-time job as well as an internship. Regardless, you are required to be on time and be leading your crew all three days, each week. This is not a 9am to 5pm job. Some days you will work less and some days you will work more. While we understand that sometimes you cannot be present due to extenuating circumstances, we rely very greatly on your presence and seek individuals who are willing to be punctual and reliable.
Taking your work home with you: We are a local community not-for-profit organization, which means we are always connected and involved with any community we work with. That means that you have to take your work home with you, such as the e-mails you send and phone calls you make. This job does not just stay at the farm. People will e-mail and call you back at all hours of the day all days a week, no matter if you are at the farm or not. You need to be willing to respond to these people and work on MEVO projects even when you are not in the office. A lot of our work is time sensitive and for the whole summer, you will be connected with your internship and your crew members.

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Agriculture    Farming    organic    sustainability    environment    teaching    education    children    composting    gardening     
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Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization, Inc. (MEVO)

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