Monthly Archives: December 2017

Summer Course at Smithsonian

Virginia Food System Leadership Institute

June 3-29, 2018

Conducted by 4-VA: GMU, JMU, VT, UVA

Hosted by: George Mason University

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation

CONS 497 & CONS 597: Virginia Food Systems Leadership Institute (VFSLI)

The Virginia Food Systems Leadership Institute (VFSLI) fosters rising leaders in the area of sustainable food systems by combining pertinent content knowledge in food systems, competency development in leadership, and a means for students to gain practical skills and hands-on experience related to job opportunities and infrastructure improvement in local and regional food systems. The course is aimed at graduate students, advanced undergraduate students, and food system practitioners looking for a professional development opportunity.

VFSLI is an interdisciplinary program delivered by a faculty team representing four public universities in Virginia: George Mason, James Madison, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech. The course is a project of the Virginia Sustainable Food Coalition (VSFC), whose mission is to harness the intellectual, human, and economic capital of colleges and universities to foster the emerging local food economy in the Commonwealth.

For more info, please see flyer. Only six students from each university can enroll. Please let Mike Ellerbrock (mebrock@vt.du) know if you are interested.

See AAEC VFSLI GMU Info for more info.

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Smithfield Plantation Internship

Interested in Agronomy and gardening? Enjoy helping your community and gaining knowledge and experience relevant to crop and soil sciences? If so you may be interested in the Smithfield Plantation Internship Program.

Located on Smithfield Plantation Road in Blacksburg, Smithfield Plantation is a Historic example of a pre-revolutionary plantation. In conjunction with the Sustainable Food Corps at Virginia Tech, Smithfield hosts a community garden with 10×10 plots offered at $10. The focus of this internship will be care and maintenance of the gardens.

Responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

-working with a team of volunteers, museum staff, and independent gardeners in the community plots
-engaging and communicating with staff and guests
-engaging in manual labor in the gardens
-managing the garden effectively through direct, electronic, or other means
-helping to develop and improve outreach programs and create presentations
-being able to manage the unique needs associated with the protected historic property while performing the duties of a garden intern
-being a steward of the property with respect to policies and historic standards
-recruiting, training, and supervising gardeners and volunteers

Criteria for consideration:

-knowledge or interest in garden plants and identification (preferred but not required)
-flexible schedule that can merge with the growing season
-has skill sets and has taken classes related to gardening, landscaping, soil sciences, or agriculture (preferred but not required)
-has an understanding of the history of Smithfield
-must be willing to sign a liability waiver
-must not have any felony convictions or misdemeanors

If this sounds like an internship you would be interested in, please complete the Smithfield Plantation Internship Application and return it to April Danner of Smithfield Plantation, 1000 Smithfield Plantation Road, Blacksburg, VA 24060, or email it to

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