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. The intended age group is 14 to 18, however younger people may apply.
How do internships work?
At the Sunday Market: Interns arrive on-site at 9:00 am and finish by 3:00 pm on market days. Contracts are six weeks long and can be renewed several times during the season with the possibility of employment ahead of the season and following the final market in October.
Seasonal projects: Internships include season-long activities that happen every week as well as a variety of projects and additional opportunities tailored to interns’ interests. Some of these may be paid.
Payment: The pay rate is $11.50 per hour. You are paid for the hours you work at the market. You are also paid for jobs at partner work sites, like harvesting at a farm. These additional hours depend on the schedule of your internship and your specific interests. For example, you might help harvest at a farm, while another intern helps a vendor produce a product to sell at the market. Both are paid jobs.
Educational and Volunteer Opportunities: There are optional educational experiences that include mentorship and training, as well as farm site visits (field trips). These are not paid hours. In these instances we provide meals and travel as needed.
If you have any questions, please reach out.
This is a detailed list of Internship activities. Each intern chooses to focus in areas that are of interest to them.
At the Market:
- Market day operations: support vendors, market setup and take-down.
- Site beautification and gardens: plant, tend, weed, and water market gardens.
- Market information booth: greet community members, track market attendance.
- Merchandise booth: help sell QFM shirts, aprons, stickers, and more.
- Coffee booth: receive job training to operate a youth-led coffee booth.
- Horno cooking projects: lead cooking projects on Sunday (when fire restrictions are lifted)
- Create social media: take photographs at the market and create social media posts. QFM is on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
At farm or production sites:
- North Central Food Pantry (NCFP): help place local food in distribution boxes.
- Local food pick-ups: work with a local food coordinator to pick up produce from area farms and deliver to the Food Pantry.
- Local harvest teams pick food at some farms, like Red Willow Farm.
- Create social media: take photographs in the community and/or at farms and create social media posts.
- Mentor sites: participate in coordinated projects at mentor sites like working at a farm or with a vendor in a commercial kitchen, making value-added products.
- Youth-led micro-business projects: have a new idea for a market business? We will support you in developing a small business.
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.
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.
The next generation creating local food.
We have been developing our youth internship program since 2019. This program employs youth in regenerating the agricultural community in northern Taos County, and offers experiences in farm-to-market economics. We received a 2-year Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation (LANLF) Education Enrichment Grant Award to support the youth internship. During the 2022 and 2023 seasons we’ll be able expand agricultural education opportunities such as farm apprenticeships and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Our goals are to honor local livelihoods and create a market that supports land-and-home based businesses to strengthen the agricultural community in northern Taos County and foster skills and opportunity for a new generation.