Organic Farming Internship Programme in Horticulture
Keep an eye on this page for updates for the next internship programme
Applications are now closed for Spring 2023’s Programme!
About the Programme
The Organic Farming Internship Programme in Horticulture was established by the Organic Growers of Ireland in 2014 and is funded on an annual basis by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The Internship Programme consists of a horticultural work placement supported by a formal training programme. Interns are required to work a minimum of 30 hours/week over a minimum period of six months on a well-established organic, horticultural farm in Ireland. The interns will be employed directly by the individual farms. The interns will participate in a supported formal training programme that will run in tandem with the work placement. The OGI oversee the recruitment of the interns and organise and deliver the training programme. This high quality training programme will bring together in a formal framework what the interns are learning practically on a day to day basis on the farm.
It is a requirement that all applicants will either have a horticultural qualification, or a minimum of one year’s work experience on a farm.
Formal Training within the Organic Farming Internship
The formal training programme consists of:
- Six workshops over the period of the Internship. The workshops will be delivered by outside experts on core set subjects and each workshop will be of one day’s duration. The workshops will be based on a structured syllabus, covering the technical knowledge and economic management required for good crop production, as well as sales and marketing options and strategies.
- A series of six farm walks on each of the host farms, looking in depth at one crop which works well for that host farm.
- A 25 hour block course which will focus on Organic Principles & Standards and certification and the interns will produce an organic conversion plan for an organic enterprise.
A Certificate of Completion of the Internship Programme will be issued to each intern from the Organic Growers of Ireland for the successful completion of:
- Work placement on their host farm (minimum 30 hours per week over a minimum of 6 months)
- 25 hour block course in Organic Principles and Standards (QQI Level 5)
- Written project on a chosen crop
- Attendance at all workshops and farm walks
To see the list of host farms available for paid work placement please click here to visit our Host Farm Webpage.
To read more detailed information about the host farms please download our Host Farm Profile list at the button below.
To apply for the Internship Programme please download an application form, available at the button below, and return the completed form to our Internship Coordinator Rónán at futuregrowers1 @ gmail.com.
Closing date for applications is Sunday 12th February 2023.
Central Aim of the Organic Farming Internship Programme in Horticulture
- Provide a high standard of practical skills and knowledge transfer with the aim of leading to employment within organic horticulture.
- Develop an understanding of sustainable organic systems of farming based upon biological and environmental concepts.
- Develop an understanding of the economics of running a successful horticultural enterprise.
The programme aims to stimulate the personal development and confidence of interns, in their own ability to think for themselves and embrace new technologies. The programme will help bridge the gap between students who have completed horticultural courses, or have some practical work experience, and give them the confidence to start up their own horticultural enterprise, or take on the management of an existing horticultural enterprise.
Role of the OGI in the Organic Farming Internship Programme in Horticulture
- The OGI have employed an Internship Programme Coorindator to deliver the Programme.
- The OGI will oversee the recruitment of interns to the individual host farms.
- The OGI will organise and deliver the formal training programe.
- The OGI will issue Certificates of Completion to the intern group.
- The OGI Internship Coordinator will be available to interns to discuss the programme and provide support as required.
Role of the Host Farm in the Organic Farming Internship Programme in Horticulture
- Provide paid employment according to the national minimum wage standards for employees on a structured training programme.
- Ensure the farm is a safe place to work, and that good health and safety procedures are adhered to.
- Provide a minimum of 30 hours’ work per week for a minimum of six months.
- Provide the opportunity to work in as many different areas of production as possible, as well as explaining the business planning, budgeting, marketing and longer term planning of the business.
- Provide regular one to one mentoring.
- Allow flexibility for trainees to attend formal training days associated with the Internship Programme.
- Host one farm walk on their own farm for all apprentices.
I completed the internship in organic horticulture in 2015. The host farm was Beechlawn Organic Farm in Ballinasloe, owned and operated by Padraig Fahy and Una Ni Bhroin. I found the internship was the ideal way for me to learn the practical skills needed to start my own horticultural enterprise. There was a good mix of classroom learning along with farm walks and the invaluable practical learning gained while working on an organic vegetable farm. It gave me a great insight into the realities and challenges involved in growing organic vegetables and also the confidence to set up my own market garden.
I currently operate a 1 acre market garden that supplies 1 local shop and 2 local farmers markets. I would highly recommend the ogi apprenticeship. The knowledge, skills, confidence, contacts and friends I gained through completing the internship have equipped me very well to set up and run my own horticultural enterprise.