Garden Jobs and Volunteering in DC

Interested in taking a more active role in DC’s gardening and food scene? There are plenty of volunteer opportunities around town, anywhere from helping various urban farm education orgs weed their plots to joining the leadership team of food policy advocacy groups!

This is just a selection of recent opportunities that are available at various organizations in DC. If you’re interested in finding more, join one of the many food- and gardening-related message groups in the DC area: DC Food For All and DC Urban Gardeners are excellent first stops.

The below opportunities are by no means a comprehensive list of the organizations and gigs available. There are more gardening, food justice, and related organizations in the DC area than can be counted! If you’re looking to support a specific type of organization and its mission, a good place to start your search is through DC’s Field to Fork Network’s Partners list. (And, of course, you can always sign up for DC State Fair’s Volunteer Newsletter to hear about our own opportunities!)

Leadership Opportunities

Wangari Gardens is seeking a new Co-Director

Wangari Gardens is a 2.7 acre community garden and park created last year in Ward 5, on the corner of Kenyon and Park Pl NW.

The park was named after the late Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai, the founder of the Greenbelt Movement and an activist for peace, environment, and social justice. We wish to honor her life and continue her message of using unused green space for the non-profit benefit of the surrounding community.

The park currently has 60 family plots and a variety of public plots open to the public such as a 45 fruit tree orchard, a public vegetable garden, an herb garden, a berry garden and a berry patch. These plots can be harvested by anyone in the community but are maintained by the plot holders in an agreement to have their own plots. This is a chance to give back to the public in an inclusive environment.

In addition to maintaining gardens, Wangari Gardens develops and implements a variety of free agriculture, therapeutic, environmental, and recreational programs, projects, and workshops.

2013 Possible Projects
This year we hope to expand a variety of projects and programs
– Expand another 30 family plots
– expand our youth employment program
– create a youth garden
– create a fully accessible garden for people with disabilities
– create a public medicinal and sensory garden
– organize workshops, programming and events
– create a recreational field for the community
– construct and implement a community compost system
– run a seedling program
– a gleaning free CSA program for low income households
– Establishing a 501c3 board and a community governing structure
– Further outreach into the community

Job Description
– This Co-Director position is a great opportunity for someone who is passionate about community outreach and organizing around green projects.
– This position will give you a background and experience in organizing community projects in an urban DC environment
– This position will offer insight into the process of organizing a 501c3
– There will be an endless opportunity to learn about urban agriculture, permaculture, environmental issues, and therapeutic garden programming.
– This position is unpaid but the rewards for you and the community go beyond monetary value.

Day to Day
– Help (I say “help” because these are shared responsibilities among many) facilitate maintenance and governing committees
– Help organize and facilitate community outreach programs
– Help run workshops and garden programs
– Help update our website/social media/ answer emails
– Help teach new gardeners how to garden and help problem any garden program
– Help plan new garden projects and programs
– Help coordinate volunteers

– 10 hours a week – We’re in the process of creating a board and a community based governance structure for this spring. As we progress the directors’ roles and hours should begin to decrease. The hope is to have this garden and park become self sufficient by the end of this year.
– Passion for Outreach – Awareness of the importance that this is a community project to serve and reflect the needs of the local community. Outreaching the community for feedback, suggestions and opportunities is an important part of this garden
– Good communication skills
– Being comfortable talking in front of audiences (community meetings, workshops, presentations)
– At least a novice understanding of gardening
– Commitment until the end of the growing season in late Fall, 2013

Things that aren’t requirements but will help your chances
– Living in the surrounding community (Park View, Petworth, Brookland, Shaw, etc) –  the longer the better
– Having a lot of experience with gardening – the more the better
– Grant writing experience
– Social media experience – especially website maintenance
– Experience in organizing and delegating tasks and projects

If you are interested in interviewing for this position or you have any further questions please email us Send us a resume and a 1-page cover letter explaining why you want to work at Wangari Gardens and what you can bring.

Thank you for your time.
Josh Singer
Executive Director of Wangari Gardens

Internship Opportunities

Neighborhood Farm Initiative Seedling Manager

NFI is looking for someone who has a flexible schedule and enjoys working in a quiet peaceful environment watching seedlings grow! The Seedling Manager will assist NFI staff in planning and starting spring and summer seedling transplants for the non-profit Neighborhood Farm Initiative. The work performed should encompass an average of 5 hours per week for 15 weeks, including on-site and planning time, and will involve working some Saturdays.

The greenhouse is located at the Franciscan Monastery (1400 Quincy St. N.E. Washington, D.C. 20017) and is within walking distance of the Brookland Metro.

The Seedling Manager will be responsible for:

Succession seeding of vegetable, flower, & herb starts in a shared community greenhouse (February-May, only accessible weekdays during regular business hours)

– Providing ongoing seedling maintenance as needed (water seedlings, monitor for pests, etc) (ongoing)
– Maintaining a supply inventory and materials wishlist (ongoing)
– Transplanting seedlings to individual pots as needed (April-May)
– Transporting seedlings to garden site as needed (April-May)
– Greenhouse seasonal cleanup (May)
– Supervising volunteers assisting with these tasks as necessary (as needed)

The Seedling Manager Intern may additionally assist NFI staff with implementing small-scale seedling fundraisers to benefit the non-profit on weekends in April-May, if hands-on fundraising experience is desired.

Skills required:

– Experience growing plants organically from seed
– Ability to write and adhere to detailed weekly work plans
– Ability to work both independently and collaboratively
– Ability to maintain an organized work space within the greenhouse
– Superb written and oral communication skills
– Submit weekly written progress reports to NFI staff
– Ability to frequently lift up to 50 lbs
– Familiarity with safe use of basic hand tools and garden tools
– Must have a drivers’ license and own (or have consistent access to) a vehicle that can haul loads of plants/potting soil, etc. Mileage will be reimbursed for personal vehicle use.

Additional coordination with NFI’s Director will allow untrained volunteers an opportunity to assist in starting seeds and/or staffing seedling sales as needed.

How to apply

Please send a cover letter and resume highlighting your gardening/farming experience, and your availability from March 1 to May 2013 to Kristin Brower:

Centro Ashé

Centro Ashé is pleased to announced the availability of two internship opportunities working on the upcoming Chesapeake Herbal Gathering to take place at Centro Ashé Farm on September 28, 2013. This is an excellent opportunity to gain skills with event planning and promotion, volunteer management, outreach and more. The internship will run from March-September and while weekly hours will vary based on timing, the intern will be expected to devote 5-10 hours weekly, with an expected 10-15 hours the week of the actual event. The Chesapeake Herbal Gathering Interns will work closely with each other as well as Centro Ashé director Molly Meehan and will receive a letter of recommendation documenting the hours and skills gained during the internship upon completion.

Internship Responsibilities:
~ Assisting the director with outreach and documentation to speakers, sponsors, and vendors.
~ Assist in development of marketing and outreach language and materials for the Chesapeake Herbal Gathering.
~ Assist and document online and public promotion of event through social media, local listservs, press and media (press release), online calendars, and through flyering in the area including DC and Baltimore.
~ Assist with volunteer recruitment and management before, during, and after the event.
~ Attend and assist with activities at the Chesapeake Herb Gathering on Sept. 28, 2013
~ Other activities as needed.

Required Experience: We are open to various levels of experience but are looking for folks with a genuine interest in folk herbal medicine, that are extremely organized and keep meticulous records, have experience with Excel, Google Docs, perhaps some graphic design, etc

Compensation: This is an unpaid internship however interns are offered half price registration to the Centro Ashé 2013 Grassroots Herbal and Holistic Wellness Program, as well as access to some of the herbs and seeds harvested off of the farm. Unending love and gratitude!

Interested Please send resume and cover letter to

ECO City Farms is Seeking Apprentices and Interns for the Spring/Summer Seasons

ECO City Farms is committed to providing a quality practical hands-on education. We will provide a curriculum and opportunities to learn on and off the farm. Our farm is small, but the work is intensive and demanding. Farmers are often called upon to do different and sometimes tedious jobs in all kinds of weather. Our apprentices and interns must be reliable, on-time, creative, passionate, flexible, fast, and have a good sense of humor in spite of the hard work! We are looking for folks who are willing to work hard when required and enjoy the benefits of being a farmer.

Farm responsibilities, at minimum, include:
1) Harvesting, processing, and marketing produce for our local markets.
2) Seeding and transplanting seedlings.
3) Crop Maintenance (mulching, weeding, feeding, and more).
4) Composting and vermicomposting (worm castings)
5) Caring for urban livestock (chickens, ducks, bees)
6) Helping to direct activities of farm volunteers

The apprenticeships are for adults who’ve demonstrated a long-term commitment to farming. It is a weekly 16-hour commitment with a weekly CSA bag.

The internships are for those who want to get a feel for urban farming without making a huge commitment. It is a weekly 4-hour commitment.

If you are thinking of applying, please read the Policies document [Word] (which will give you a good sense of the positions), and fill out and email the Application [Word] and New England Small Farmer Self-Assessment [PDF] to

Both positions are unpaid, but we work to apply the hours towards community service hours or school credit. We are also working towards providing a stipend this season. Thursday availability is a plus, as it is our harvest and market day. Prior farm experience is a plus, but not required.

Finding a match between the farm and apprentices/interns is extremely important to the success and satisfaction of both parties. We ask that you fill out the application carefully. Hopefully, this process will assist both of us in determining if the farm is the right place for you. Please contact us if you have any questions. Reliable transportation is a must (there is a bike path that leads to the farm and a Metrobus stop nearby). Participating in Saturday volunteer day is highly encouraged!

For questions and application/self-assessment submissions, please email

U.S. National Arboretum National Herb Garden Internship

The U.S. National Arboretum is happy to announce a 1-year internship in the National Herb Garden. The position opens March 6th and closes on March 20th. Only recent college graduates within the last 2 years are eligible to apply. To apply visit:

This internship is sponsored by the Herb Society of America.

Questions? Contact the internship office at 202-245-4563 or email

Accokeek Ecosystem Farm 2013 Apprenticeship

This apprenticeship program serves as a full immersion in land-based training of all aspects of organic vegetable operation at the Accokeek Foundation’s 8-acre certified organic Ecosystem Farm.

Timeframe: May 13, 2013 until December 13, 2013

Compensation: $1700 per month as well as Foundation-sponsored formal training, healthcare, informal farm training for a full season

Areas of Responsibility:

Under the direction of the farm manager, apprentices are expected to share responsibility for and training in the following fields:
· daily chores around vegetable production
· tractor operation and maintenance
· regular observation and control of pests and diseases
· vegetable and flower growing from seeds, seedlings, to transplanting
· use of proper harvesting techniques
· post-harvest handling and packaging
· CSA preparation for 60 shares
· farmers’ market sales
· a to-be-determined apprentice project
· participation in Foundation events and meetings
· tours of the farm for school children and the interested public

Requirements for Consideration:

It is a must that any person apply to this position with the following skillset:
· desire to learn more about sustainable agriculture
· willingness to work well with others
· time commitment during the growing season

Desired Qualifications and Experience:

The ideal candidate would possess many of these skills:
· 2-3 seasons of farm experience
· competence with machinery use and maintenance
· farmers’ market retail sales and/or working within a CSA model
· experience in environmental or agricultural education
· knowledge of solar-powered systems or off-grid energy systems

Work Requirements and Conditions:
· working in all weather conditions unless it is physically unsafe
· working around large machinery with moving parts
· lifting up to 50 pounds regularly
· lots of walking and working on your feet (or knees or squatting)
· occasional work with livestock

To apply, please complete the apprenticeship application [PDF] and send it with a cover letter and resume no later than March 15, 2013 to Please use this email to direct any inquiries about the position as well. Interviews will be onsite the week of March 18, 2013. To view Ecosystem Farm information online, please go to

Work Opportunities

Common Good City Farm Team Leader

Common Good City Farm (CGCF) is hiring two team leaders for its second Summer Youth Program (SYP) employing sixteen teenagers for six weeks of farming, community outreach, learning and personal growth.

Each Team Leader heads a diverse group of eight teenagers and works with their team on our farm, at other sites in the DC metropolitan area, and during workshops. Under the direction of CGCF’s Youth Coordinator, Team Leaders plan and deliver workshops for SYP participants on a range of topics, including sustainable agriculture, food justice and public speaking. In activities, fieldwork, and during feedback, leaders are responsible for insuring the safety and maintaining the well-being of the youth. Team Leaders receive a week of training prior to SYP, as well as guidance and feedback from the Youth Coordinator and other CGCF staff.

We are looking for well-rounded and outgoing individuals with a strong youth development background committed to or interested in the food justice movement. This position requires dedication and skill in connecting with youth and adults from diverse backgrounds, creativity, flexibility and commitment to the mission of CGCF. Candidates must uphold SYP’s standards and model personal and professional maturity for the youth. The ideal candidates will have some farming or gardening experience.

• Prior experience working with teenagers
• Interest in community service, the environment, and multicultural teambuilding
• Ability to motivate a group of young people while fostering their potential
• Experience leading workshops, teaching lessons and speaking in public
• Ability to do physical and other work outside in all kinds of weather
• Must be 21 years of age by June 1, 2013 and have at least one year of college
• Valid Driver’s license
• CPR & First Aid Training (CPR certification is required by the start of SYP, CGCF will cover cost of training if necessary)
• Willingness to be fingerprinted and ability to successfully pass a background check

Team Leaders work weekdays from 8.15 AM to 4PM from June 24 to August 9, 2013 for a stipend of $450 per week before taxes. One week of paid training is included.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Send a cover letter along with your resume and two references, to CGCF’s Youth Coordinator Elizabeth at

Neighborhood Farm Initiative Garden Education Program Teacher

The Gardening Education Program (GEP) Teacher will be paid a total of $1,000 for weekend work throughout the growing season, with a start date of May 1, 2013 and end date of September 14, 2013. The work performed will be every other Saturday after May, and Sundays if needed (if a Saturday class is rained out).

NFI’s Adult Gardening Education Program is a season-long, hands-on training course in organic vegetable gardening which is taught at two community gardens in the District. While there may be room for flexibility in terms of scheduling, classes have traditionally been given from 10 am to noon at the Fort Totten site. There will be 10 to 20 adults enrolled in the course.

The curriculum we have developed works with the following syllabus:
May 11 Introduction, class outline, soil preparation, plan, design
May 18 Planning your garden
May 25 Transplanting
June 1 Mulching, irrigation
June 8 Pruning, thinning, staking, good maintenance
June 22 Pest management
July 6 Harvesting
July 20 Disease identification and treatment
August 3 Vermicomposting
August 17 Composting
August 31 Cover crops, fall plantings
September 14 Garden clean-up


NFI will share with the GEP Teacher electronic copies of all curricula. GEP Teacher will be responsible for performing the following tasks:
Teaching each garden class, or rescheduling with students if weather necessitates cancelling
Booking expert guest presenters for certain topics, if desired
Making sufficient photocopies for each class lesson
Keeping attendance sheets for each class
Communicating with students who have missed a class to ensure they keep up
Ensuring that each students’ garden plans comply with garden rules
Maintaining drip irrigation, fencing, & other garden infrastructure within the class plots
Overseeing that some photo documentation occurs during each class – and posting pictures to the NFI photo site
Submitting monthly written progress reports to Executive Director via email
Informing NFI staff promptly if a student drops the course

GEP Teacher will work with other NFI staff to:
Coordinate ordering and delivery of needed supplies – compost, soil amendments, seeds, etc
Ensure sufficient tools are available at each site
Provide students with weeknight “open hours” for additional garden coaching & class make-ups, if needed
Implement a pest management plan for the class garden plots
Run drip irrigation or water plants throughout the week as needed
Revise and update the GEP curricula as needed

Skills Required:
Experience growing vegetable plants organically in a garden or farm setting
Ability to be flexible based on weather and seasonal crop needs
Ability to identify and organically manage garden pests
Clear and concise written and oral communication skills
Enthusiasm and patience in your teaching style
Familiarity with safe use of hand and power garden tools, including weed eaters, power mowers, and roto-tillers
Ability to work effectively with an intern assistant and rest of NFI team
Ability to frequently lift up to 50 lbs
Must have a drivers’ license and own (or have consistent access to) a vehicle that can haul loads of plants/soil amendments, etc.
Mileage will be reimbursed for personal vehicle use.

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume highlighting your gardening/farming and teaching experience, and your weekend availability May-September 2013 to Kristin Brower: with the subject line: “GEP Instructor”.

2 thoughts on “Garden Jobs and Volunteering in DC

    1. Kate, this post isn’t advertising, it’s just positions I’ve run across recently. Feel free to reply with details about your opportunities–and if you’re interested in learning about DC State Fair sponsorship opportunities, e-mail

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