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Local horticulture graduate completes first organic farming internship

Cecelia, intern and Rebecca, organic farmer

by Susan Whitfield

Blooms Organic and No More Empty Pots collaborated to launch a pilot paid organic farming internship in 2016.  The goal of the pilot was to train future farmers to operate a successful commercial organic farm, learning all aspects of food crop production and marketing.  The internship ran from April 2016 to 2017.

Cecilia Saavedra, a 2016 graduate of the Metropolitan Community College Horticulture – Small Farm Market program, completed her internship at Blooms Organic, a privately owned certified organic farm by Rebecca Bloom, organic farmer and educator.  Blooms Organic in Honey Creek, Iowa has been certified for ten years by Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Bloom provided supervision, mentoring and guidance to Cecelia during the internship.  The organic farming internship objectives include: 1) develop a recruitment and training plan; 2) interns learn to produce salable crops, and 3) intern markets organic produce.  Cecelia developed a business plan as one of the requirements of the internship.  This exercise challenged her to take what she learned through practice, coaching and observation then put it into a written guide with financials.

Cecelia digging potatoes at the farm

An excerpt from Cecelia’s reflections: “Before the internship, I had no experience working at a small organic farm. But through my experience of the past 9 months I was able to learn the ups and downs of farming. Some of the things that I learned by working with Rebecca are: practical marketing products, preparation for restaurant orders/grocery stores/farmer markets/ plant sales, educational materials, seed transplants/ when to transplant plants, how to properly water in the greenhouse, varieties of herbs and vegetables, simple is always better – not to fight with nature/work with nature, follow directions and ask a lot of questions for reassurance.”

We are grateful to the Jewish Federation of Omaha for supporting Cecelia in the first organic farming internship through grant funds.

No More Empty Pots and Blooms Organic plan to offer the Organic Farming Internship in 2017.  For more information please send requests to info@www.nmepomaha.org.

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