Acorn Community - Cooperative Business Systems Management Intern

Co-op / Organization: 
Acorn Community
Mineral, VA
Type of Organization: 
Agricultural; Arts & Culture; Association/Federation; Anarchist Commune
Brief Description of Organization: 

Acorn Community is a 30-member, egalitarian, income-sharing, farm-based community that collectively owns and runs a seed company called Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. We strive to democratize the seed supply, promote organic agriculture and gardens, and preserve our genetic heritage and diversity.

We have a six-acre garden to grow seed for our business and food for ourselves. Our members have a variety of different projects, such as our outside garden at the local food pantry (Plant A Row for the Hungry), a growing dairy and meat goat operation (8 adult females so far), construction for expansion of our infrastructure, food and seed processing and preservation, raising chickens for eggs and meat, coordinating with other seed growers in our region, and much more.

Number of Members: 
Number of Staff: 
Dress Code: 
Position Title: 
Cooperative Business Systems Management Intern
Position Duties: 

Participate in growing seed, food, and trial crops and develop cultural notes for them. This includes observing, taking notes and otherwise documenting crop progression throughout the growing season regarding their adaptability, pest and disease resistance, flavor, appearance, storage and ease of seed saving. Cultural notes will then be made available to the public in an accessible form. Could include working with our Event Coordinators on outreach and educational endeavors including workshops about seed saving and growing organic food with regionally adapted varieties and facilitating a booth at various sustainable agriculture events.

Investigating how we can more effectively set up our business to improve communication, both within our organization and with our larger community, manage data, and streamline the flow of materials and the use of space.  Some of this could include: designing new systems and practices for effective database use; website system improvements; setting up office and storage spaces; collecting and compiling data; and identifying what we might want to change in the business when we see that data.

The ability to self-organize and be proactive is necessary trait, as we are largely self-organizing and work to maintain a non-hierarchical work and living environment with no official management positions. We share chores through our rota chore board, so expect to sign up on the rota at least twice weekly.

Position Training: 

Training will include hands-on experience working with our gardeners, seed savers, educators, and project coordinators, and can be supplemented by suggested reading and research. Most of the education or training that is offered is self-directed.  Acorn is full of resources, human and otherwise, and is very supportive of members and interns using community resources and projects to educate themselves and offers a high degree of latitude as an internship position.

Skills Development & Learning: 

You'll learn how to grow food and seed crops, and opportunities will be available to learn how to process and store them as well. You'll gain some data management skills and educator techniques through garden planning and working with cultural notes. You'll get to see how an anarchist worker-coop on a commune setting functions.

Other details of working conditions: 
Anarchist commune environment may include non-traditional wear (or lack thereof).
Compensation ($): 
Room Included?: 
Board Included?: 
Relocation Stipend?: 
Total Hours of Work Per Week: