Experiential Learning Opportunities for Graduate and Undergraduate Students

Final Report for LNC03-229

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2003: $60,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Helene Murray
University of Minnesota
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Project Information


Student internships in sustainable agriculture provide educational opportunities for experimental learning that deepen students’ appreciation for the complexity of sustainability challenges and the need for broad-based solutions. Each student that completes an internship also contributes to the “What’s Up in Sustainable Agriculture” weekly seminar series which broadens the exposure to more students, faculty and staff as well as others for the variety of experiences and innovations that are going on within the realm of sustainable agriculture.

Project Objectives:

1. Twelve students will work with faculty advisors and community-based internship hosts on collaborative learning opportunities over three years.
2. Students will present their internship experiences in the weekly meetings of a campus-based learning community consisting of students, faculty and staff (average 30 participants/ week). The seminar series is known as, “What’s Up in Sustainable Agriculture”.
3. The steering community will take part in developing evaluation and reflection tools for internships and WUSA seminars.


Materials and methods:

None, this was not a research grant.

Research results and discussion:
Internships Funded

Derek Folden
Summer 2003
Farm Intern
Natural Harvest CSA

Angie Goodrich
Summer 2003
Farm Intern & Sustainable Ag at a School
The New Dawn Center & Finca Loma Linda

Michelle Menken
Summer 2003
Certification Survey
Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture and Energy Program

Amy Moore
Summer 2003
Researching Legislative issues
Minnesota Farmer’s Union

Melissa Driscoll
Spring 2004
Grazing Plans
Natural Resources Conservation Service

Marjorie Ross
$ 350.00
Spring 2004
Organizing the Food & Farm Festival
Land Stewardship Project

Dina Kountoupes
Summer 2004
Turtle Effigy Garden & The Big Back Yard gardens
Dream for Wild Health

Nadiene Lehrer
Summer 2004
Farm Intern: Agroforestry, Local Policy Development
Moonstone Farm Organics

Deborah Garrido
Summer 2005
Wild Edibles
Dream for Wild Health / Cora’s Garden

Meagan Keefe
Summer 2005
Perennial Guild Design
Ecological Gardens

Rachael Dettmann
Summer 2005
Organic Crop Certification
Minnesota Crop Improvement Association

Ravi Raju
Summer 2005
Sales and Marketing Internship
Cornercopia Student Organic Farm / Minneapolis Campus Farmer’s Market

Ben Jordan
Summer 2005
Mushroom Cultivation
Bell Museum

Joel Bradley
Summer 2005
Cut Flower Production
Riverbend Farm

Marilyn Johnson
Spring 2006
CSA Farm Inventory
Land Stewardship Project

Peter Hinck
Spring 2006
Blue Earth River Basin Initiative
Rural Advantage

Grace Anderson
Spring 2007
Production of Organic Lettuce Mix with Edible Flowers
Cornercopia Student Organic Farm & Other Farms

Amanda Janet
Spring 2007
CSA Internship
Blue Roof Organics

Karen Weiss
Spring 2007
Farm Sustainability Life Cycle Assessment
Little Foot Farm and Greenhouse

Charles Eckman
Spring 2007
Evaluation of Strawberry Cultivars Under Organic Production
Hoch Orchard & Cornercopia Student Organic Farm

Joy Hilton
Spring 2007
Cut Flower Production
Shining Hills Flower CSA & Cornercopia Student Organic Farm

Brandon Hawkins
Spring 2007
European Experience with on-farm biodiesel from Canola
Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership

Chelsie Glaubitz & Peat Willcutt
$1950 & $1950
Spring 2007
Egg Production in Chicken Tractors
Cornercopia Student Organic Farm & St. Paul Hamiline Midway 4H Club

Seminars Given:

September 17, 2003
Angie Goodrich: Coffee sales, reforestation and a small organic farm: Sustainable Agriculture in Costa Rica

October 8, 2003
Derek Folden: Community Supported Agriculture, From and Intern's Perspective

November 19, 2003
Michelle Menken: My internship with MDA's Sustainable Agriculture Program

September 22, 2004
Dina Kountoupes: Summer Internship with Lakota Traditional Gardener and Herbalist Paul Red Elk

September 29, 2004
Nadine Lehrer: Beef, Trees, and Tural Policy: a Summer Internship in Western Minnesota

October 20, 2004
Marjorie Ross: The 2004 Community Food and Farm Festival: Linking Farmers and Consumers

November 2, 2005
Meagan Keefe: Perennial Guild Design

November 9, 2005
Deborah Garrido: Wild Edibles: On the Dinner Table and in the Classroom

November 30, 2005
Ben Jordan: Cultivation of Oyster Mushroom Research

December 7, 2005
Cornercopia Student Organic Farm Season One Update

January 25, 2006
Rachael Dettman: Organic Certification: Insights from a Summer Intern

November 29, 2006
Marilyn Johnson: Community, Cover crops and Compost

April 25, 2007
Peter Hinck: Multifunctional Landscapes

Graduates with the Sustainable Agriculture Systems Minor

2003: Amy Moore
2004: Angie Goodrich, Derek Folden, Melissa Driscoll, Marjorie Ross, Quill Merrill
2005: None
2006: Megan Keefe
2007: Dina Kountoupes, Jennifer Blecha

Research conclusions:

This grant has allowed students to receive compensation for their work with community based organizations and farms that would have been difficult for the host to provide. Students have also provided hosts with completion of work and projects that otherwise may not have been accomplished. Students have completed internships and graduated with the sustainable agriculture systems minor. Through presenting seminars students have exposed others within the university to innovations and projects in sustainable agriculture.

Economic Analysis

None, this was not a research grant.

Farmer Adoption

None, this was a project targeted toward university students studying sustainable agriculture.

Participation Summary

Educational & Outreach Activities

Participation Summary:

Education/outreach description:

See Seminars given in accomplishments/ milestones section above.

Project Outcomes


Areas needing additional study

We need to continue to provide opportunities for students to complete internships on farms, with NGOs, goverment agencies and others working in the sustainable agricutlure arena.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.