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Academic Internships


Working for Sustainable Agriculture
This internship program will provide opportunities for Western Washington University students to receive hands on experience with the production and marketing of Whatcom County agriculture products. Interns can choose from a wide variety of local farms offering a diverse range of opportunities. The County is known nationally for its production of Berries (raspberries, strawberries and blueberries), and its Dairy industry (Darigold produces powdered milk for export). The County also has a smaller but vibrant organic local food industry. This industry is made up of smaller farmers who participate in both wholesale and direct marketing of fruits and vegetables (CSA and Farmers Market sales). At this time most internship opportunities will be with small local farms.

How the program functions:

  • Participating students must be enrolled in Western Washington University during the quarter of their internship. Gigi Berardi of Huxley College and John Tuxill of Fairhaven College will sponsor and advise students on their independent studies.
  • Cloud Mountain Farm Center will manage a list of farms interested in participating. Participating faculty will also have the listing for students to review.
  • Students may receive up to 10 college credits of independent study from Western Washington University. This is equivalent to 3 hours of work per week for each credit. A student taking a 10 credit internship will be expected to work on the farm 30 hours per week. This includes active farming, discussing farm-related topics with their farmer mentor, and documenting their learning. It does not include travel time to and from the farm.

WWU's Quarter Schedule is available here: Western Registrar's Calendar

Farmer Responsibilities

  • The goal of the internship is to provide both work experience and academic study. Farmers are expected to spend some time explaining farming processes to the student in addition to directing them to tasks. Students and farmers may also develop a project of mutual interest.
  • Farmers should not allow a student to begin work until they receive a copy of the student's Independent Study Contract (for Huxley) or Independent Study Proposal (for Fairhaven). These documents verify students' enrollment in the program and number of credits they will receive.
  • Farmers are not required to accept students they don't think are a good fit for their farming operation.
  • As long as students are enrolled at WWU, they do not fall under the L&I requirement to be paid as they are covered under the University's insurance policy. It is suggested that the farmer supply a stipend or transportation subsidy: i.e. gas money, farm vegetables, etc. as an incentive. Any reciprocation will be determined by the farmer.
  • All participating farmers will be required to write a short evaluation of their student's contribution at the end of the quarter. This evaluation should certify that the student fulfilled work commitments, and briefly reflect on the work the intern performed on the farm. This evaluation must be given to the student or sent to their faculty advisor in order for the student to receive credit.
  • Farmers may direct interested students to appropriate WWU faculty.

Student responsibilities:

  • The student will contact the farmer they wish to work with directly, and develop an Independent Study Contract/Proposal that details the work he/she will perform on the farm. This document will serve as the contract between farmer, student, and faculty advisor.
  • Students will keep a daily log documenting hours worked, tasks completed, and a paragraph reflecting upon the day's learning. Students must have this daily log signed by the farmer each week. Fairhaven students may use these notes to write their self-evaluation at the end of the quarter.
  • Students are expected to fulfill the number of hours of farm work determined by the number of credits they wish to receive. Fairhaven students are also required to write an end-of-quarter self-evaluation.
  • Independent Study Contracts for Huxley College must be approved by instructor Gigi Berardi, department chair, and the dean's office. Independent Study Proposals for Fairhaven College must be approved by faculty member John Tuxill and the Fairhaven Registrar.
  • Current Western students can register for internship credits using the online Web4U registration process. During Summer Session all students must complete the Summer Session application and register through the Registrar's Office.
  • Students should contact Gigi Berardi (Huxley) or John Tuxill (Fairhaven) for details.

    Gigi Berardi:
    Email: gigi.berardi@wwu.edu
    Office: 204 Arntzen Hall
    Phone (360) 650-2106

    John Tuxill
    Email: john.tuxill@wwu.edu
    Office: 320A Fairhaven College
    Phone: (360) 650-4435

    Farmers interested in participating should contact Cloud Mountain Farm Center
    Email: info@cloudmountainfarmcenter.org
    Phone: (360) 966-5859