Internship in Tropical Agroforestry

Advanced Study Internship in Tropical Agroforestry at Permanent Agriculture Resources Holualoa, North Kona, Hawai'i Island

Craig Elevitch is currently focused on education and research in agroforestry, food security, and ecological design. With his daily guidance and supervision, interns work largely independently in the field and have opportunities to participate in other educational activities consistent with their experience and abilities.

Introduction

This program is for those on a career path to teaching, extension, or facilitation for the betterment of communities and human-managed environments. We offer qualified applicants a unique opportunity to work within a professional environment on projects related to agroforestry and ecological design and to carry out an extension-level project.

Interns work closely with Craig Elevitch, Director of Agroforestry Net, who has focused on agroforestry systems in Hawai'i and Oceania since 1990. Craig's internationally recognized publications have guided thousands of readers in becoming more proficient in ecological food production, agroforestry, and reforestation. Craig's books include Agroforestry Guides for Pacific Islands (2000), The Overstory Book: Cultivating Connections with Trees (2004), Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands: Their Culture, Environment, and Use (2006), and Specialty Crops of Pacific Islands (2011).

Next opening is anticipated April-May 2015

Activities

We have a wide range of on-going activities and special projects that interns will have opportunities to participate in consistent with their skills, knowledge, and abilities. Interns work in our agroforestry environment as well as participate in other facets of our activities, such as educational events and research projects. Interns commit to working a minimum of 30 hrs/week on field and other on-going projects. Additionally, each intern undertakes a special study project developed collaboratively during the first week of the internship.

These are some of the projects we are currently working on:

Hawaii Community-Based Food Security: This project educates Hawaii residents about food security and how to grow food at home in perennial gardens with reduced imported inputs of fertilizers, fuel, and chemicals. Interns will have an opportunity to participate in this project consistent with their writing, editing, and research skills.

Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu—Revitalizing Breadfruit, a project to promote breadfruit as a nutritious, abundant, affordable, and culturally appropriate food which addresses Hawai'i's food security issues. Interns will have an opportunity to participate in this project consistent with their abilities.

Hawai'iki Agroforestry Project: Interns will be involved in developing and maintaining our research and demonstration agroforestry environment, which currently includes planting a new 1/3 acre tropical multistory perennial homegarden. Our farm is located in Holualoa, Hawaii, in the heart of the upland Kona agricultural belt, with a tropical climate and average annual rainfall of 2,000 mm (80 inches). We planted our farm in 1995, and much of it is currently being redesigned and renovated for additional food production. Craig is currently spending much of his time on educational and research projects, which means interns work long hours in the field independently.

Agroforestry education: We take part in various educational activities such as workshop presentations, talks for community groups and school classes, and farm tours. We also publish a wide variety of educational materials, including the popular Agroforestry Net web site and The Overstory e-Journal. Interns can assist with educational activities at a level consistent with their knowledge and skills.

Agricultural extension agents and farmers tour Hawa'iki Agroforestry Project.

Qualifications

This internship works best for those who have a deep passion for serving others. We are looking for candidates who are on a demonstrated path to a teaching, extension, or community development career related to agroforestry, sustainable development, organic agriculture, local food production and food security, resource conservation, community forestry, and environmental education. Applicants are required to have completed an undergraduate degree at an accredited university or have minimum four years professional work experience in fields related to agroforestry (e.g., horticulture, agriculture, ecosystem conservation, etc.). On-the-ground experience in community service roles—especially in collaboration with indigenous communities—weighs heavily in our decision to accept candidates into our program.

Applicants are required to have completed an undergraduate degree at an accredited university or have minimum five years professional work experience in fields related to agroforestry (e.g., horticulture, agriculture, ecosystem conservation, etc.). Ecological design, wilderness awareness, rite of passage, or on-farm experience are all pluses. We are looking for interns who both work well autonomously and thrive as a team member. Field skills in farming and gardening, construction, and field research activities are highly valued, as are writing, communication, and computer skills. Knowledge of tropical plants, animals, and soils is highly desirable prior to applying. Command of spoken and written English is required.

This is 8-week experience includes a minimum of 30 hours/week of fieldwork on our site plus many hours per week of study and research on an intensive study project. There is a $250 reservation fee to be paid in advance to hold your space. The program includes daily interactions with Craig Elevitch regarding fieldwork and coaching to achieve a valuable experience for everyone. There is usually only one intern at a time participating in the program. There are simple intern living accommodations available. Interns are responsible for your their food and other personal items. Upon successful completion of the internship, the $250 reservation fee is refunded.

Interns must be willing to dedicate themselves entirely to the internship experience during the 8-week period. They must have their own cell phone, laptop computer, and health insurance, and agree to be tobacco, alcohol, and drug-free during the entire internship period. Interns are responsible for their transportation to/from Kona and are required to show us documented legal residency status in the U.S. Due to staff time constraints, we cannot help non-U.S. citizens with immigration documents (please do not ask us for immigration assistance).

Study project

An intensive study project complements the field work and is an integral part of the internship. During the first week of the internship, we will collaboratively develop a project involving research, design, education and possibly field study. The project is intended to produce an extension-level educational product of lasting value (e.g., a how-to guide, research data, workshop curriculum, visual documentation, etc.) that will benefit growers and communities in Hawai'i. The most successful interns dedicate most of their free time to their study project.

How to apply

Prospective interns are required to complete our application (Word file). If you have any questions, send an e-mail to internship@agroforestry.net. Brief, specific questions are most likely to be answered quickly. We receive lots of e-mail, so we usually do not have time to answer general questions. Make sure that you have thoroughly read the website and supporting materials before you contact us or apply.

Download the application (Word file)


2011 intern Elin at breadfruit harvest location. Elin's study project documented her 7-week experience of replacing her familiar northern European foods with locally grown foods, such as breadfruit.

FAQ

Can I start at any time of the year?

Our internship program is ongoing. We usually have only one intern at any given time, and at certain times of year we cannot accommodate any interns. If you feel this program is right for you, it is best to apply well in advance of your desired time period to ensure that there is an opening for you.

Are there any fees?

There is a $250 reservation fee to be paid in advance in order to hold your place. Once your place is reserved, cancellations up to 60 days before your internship start date and receive a refund minus a $100 cancellation fee. For cancellations within 60 days of your internship start date, there is no reservation fee refund. Upon successful completion of the internship, the $250 reservation fee is refunded. Interns cover the costs of their food (aside from what is available from our farm), personal items, and all travel costs to/from Kona. There is no cost for staying on our farm during your internship.

Is this program only for U.S. citizens and permanent residents?

We welcome program participants from anywhere in the world. However, upon arrival you must show us your legal U.S. immigration documentation valid for the entire 8-week period of your internship.

Who will supervise me?

You will work closely with Craig Elevitch, Director of Agroforestry Net, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to education and research in agroforestry and ecological resource management. The organization's internationally recognized publications have guided thousands of readers in becoming more proficient in ecological food production, agroforestry, and reforestation. Craig edits The Overstory E-journal, a monthly agroforestry journal with 8,700 subscribers in over 185 countries. He has coordinated numerous workshops and field days for Pacific island agroforestry, with over 3,000 farmers and resource professionals participating since 1993. Craig completed the permaculture certified basic and advanced training taught by Max Lindegger and Lea Harrison in 1990-91, and has authored many agroforestry books as well as over 75 permaculture and forest stewardship management plans throughout Hawai'i. You can expect an hour or two a day working and/or meeting with Craig.

How much of my time will the internship take?

We expect you to devote yourself entirely to the internship, which includes farm and garden work, the study project, educational activities, and other related work and projects. You are also expected to participate in general household activities such as food harvesting, preparation, clean-up, etc. This is not a "9-to-5" experience, rather, it requires flexibility and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. We are looking for people who will make the most out of their experience.

Can I complete an internship in less than 8 weeks?

Only in special cases (extensive tropical agroforestry experience and ample experience producing extension-level educational materials) would we consider an internship period of less than 8 weeks.

Will there be an orientation?

There is a two week no-fault trial period during which time you will be able to get a feeling for our farm, projects, and working environment and we will get a sense for how well we work together.

How long will it take for you to respond to e-mail questions?

Before writing us, please read this web page and scan the contents of our web site to learn more about our activities. Questions that are specific and require brief answers are more likely to be answered quickly.

Audience for Craig Elevitch's presentation about traditional agroforestry homegardens, which took place at the Kona Outdoor Circle, in Kona, Hawaii.

Accommodations

Interns stay in a private open-air cabin in the midst of a perennial homegarden and food forest setting. There is outhouse, kitchen, and shower access.

How to Apply

Prospective advance study interns are required to complete our application [Word format]. If you have any questions, send an e-mail to internship@agroforestry.net. Brief, specific questions are most likely to be answered quickly. We receive lots of e-mail, so we usually do not have time to answer general questions. Make sure that you have thoroughly read the website and supporting materials before you contact us or apply.

Download the application (Word file)

Recent interns

Donna - 2013

"Craig provided a window into a small corner of the world where I observed the cooperation of many living things thriving without a lot of human intervention. I came away from the experience validating some instincts while also acquiring new agroforestry skills."

Read Donna's:
"Hey, Who Are You Calling a Weed?: Conversations with the Most Poisonous Plant in the World"

Lauren - 2012

"The immersive experience working in tropical agroforestry helped me rapidly grow my skills set, and build up my strength. I appreciate how Craig values the cultural heritage in Hawaii, and also requires a research project that is of educational benefit here. Living in a context that was environmentally conscientious and sustainable was invaluable."

Read Lauren's study project created during her internship:
"Illustrated Homegardens for living light in the Tropics"

Kaleo - 2012

"When I arrived I expected to learn and practice skills in agroforestry, particularly those with roots in Polynesian traditions. What I got was this and much more, a deepening of my connections to nature, community and myself. Even more awesome, I have a renewed and strengthened commitment to be of service to my community."

Watch Kaleo's:
"Discovering 'Ulu with Hua o Ke Ao students", filmed and edited during his internship
for the Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu—Revitalizing Breadfruit project.

Niki - 2011

"The guidance was invaluable. Craig’s advice was (and remains) incredibly important to my total experience. I valued his open communication and professional approach to problem solving and advice giving. In the spirit of 'See one, do one, teach one', I thrive when shown tasks and then am able to work through them on my own. Thus, I thought that the internship had a perfect balance of guided and independent work—the best of both worlds!"

Watch Niki's video produced during her internship.:
"Introduction to tropical homegardens"

Contact information

Craig Elevitch
Permanent Agriculture Resources
PO Box 428
Holualoa, Hawaii 96725 USA
E-mail: craig@agroforestry.net