Questa Farmers Market’s (QFM) paid youth internship program offers work-based learning, mentorship and skill development focused on the local farm to market economic system. Interns are able to work on a variety of projects each season. Internships include set activities and additional opportunities tailored by the student to fit their interests (ages 14 to 18).
- Market day operations: Interns support vendors helping with market set up and take down.
- Site beautification and gardens: plant trees, shrubs, vegetable plants and flowers; tend, weed and water the on-site market gardens.
- North Central Food Pantry: Interns, market volunteers, and Food Pantry volunteers work together placing local food in distribution boxes (twice monthly, June/July through Sept/Oct).
- Local food pick-ups: Interns work with a local food coordinator to pick up produce from area farms and deliver to the pantry, organizing it for distribution twice a month during the growing season.
- Local harvests: we have harvested at Red Willow Farm (2020) where interns took the produce through the entire process; picking, washing, packing and delivery. We (QFM organizer, volunteers, and interns) often have the opportunity to harvest local food.
- Creating Social Media: Interns may do photography at the market and in the community (at farms) and create social media posts. QFM is on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
- Market information booth: Interns greet community members, track market attendance, assist with the EBT and Double Up Food Bucks disbursements
- Merchandise booth: help sell QFM shirts, aprons, stickers, hats and other items.
- Coffee booth: Business skills, economics. Interns receive job training to operate a youth-led coffee booth on Sundays.
- Horno cooking projects: Interns are able to lead cooking projects on Sunday or other days of the week.
- Mentor sites: Coordinated projects at mentor sites in northern Taos county; e.g., working at a farm or with a vendor in a community commercial kitchen making value added products.
- Youth-led micro business projects
Youth interns bring their perspective, hopes, questions and vision. Together we’re creating a marketplace to support small and even micro local businesses in order to help regenerate the agricultural community in northern Taos County.
The market is every Sunday from the end of May until early October and runs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Interns arrive at 9:00 am and finish by 3:00 pm. Intern contracts are six weeks and can be renewed several times during the season with the possibility of employment ahead of the season and following the last market.
Our interns meet local growers and learn about agricultural networks from operations like the Red Willow Center at Taos Pueblo, Cerro Vista Farm, and Growing Opportunities in Alcalde, NM. The direction of the internship is set by the interests of the interns. QFM matches these interests with community needs.
Photo above: Kaylee Piper harvesting at Red Willow Farm 2020
An important part of the internship is always working together to care for and improve the market place. In 2020 interns built new garden areas and a new horno alongside our dedicated Andy Jaramillo.
We believe that projects are energized and enriched when they include peer to peer collaboration, mentorship, and intergenerational work.
Photo above: Amalia Gonzalez with the horno she helped build at the market 2020
We grow the QFM internship program in response to teens’ interests and the local food community’s needs. Our focus is to create opportunities for employment and engagement and small-scale economic development.
We use the horno regularly and interns are able to lead cooking projects.
Photo above: Alianna Gonzalez slicing a pizza just out of the horno 2021
“The farmers market to me is one of the most important things in my life. It has shown me so much and I don’t know what I would do without it. I think it is one of the things that has helped turn my life around and helped me see the better in the world. And it is one of the things that has made me want to better myself as a person. I love the people and gardening… Also the coffee here is amazing!!! “
Kaylee Piper, QFM Intern 2020, read her complete letter here.