Open Hands Internship for Teens

Check back in January 2018 for the 2018 applications.

If you’re a teenager between the ages of 15-19, you’re invited to apply for our summer teen internship program. Through this paid educational internship, you will learn gardening, culinary, and community building skills, while making good food accessible to the community.  You’ll receive competitive hourly pay and enhance your resume, college application, or scholarship essays.  You’ll also get to be outdoors and work collaboratively with other interns.

In 2017, interns and the crew leader will commit to working 140 hours (with the option to work 10 additional hours) during the season.  The internship runs seven weeks: June 13 – July 30. You can also choose to work extra hours during the week of July 31-August 5. You’ll work approximately 24 hours/week during those seven weeks, with time to finish hours during community workdays in August. We are hiring six interns this year.

Open Hands interns learn to grow food in several different gardens.
All of our youth and young adult interns work together on most mornings.
Open Hands participants help us pack and distribute boxes of produce to 200 households each week.
Lasting friendships.


Application schedule:
– Open Hands intern applications are due March 25. Applications can be sent via email to, or by mail to: Anathoth Community Garden, PO Box 138, Cedar Grove, NC 27231.
– Hiring decisions made by April 8.

Steps to completing the application:
1.) Check back in January 2018 for the 2018 application. Once the application is posted, you’ll follow these steps:
2.) Fill out the first form, then answer the short questions on the next page on a separate piece of paper. You may also download the Word document and type in your answers.
3.) Send us the form and short answers. You can:
– Email the application to
– Mail the application to PO Box 138, Cedar Grove, NC 27231
4.) Ask one person (no family members please) to write a recommendation letter for you. Your recommender has the following options:
– Email the letter to
– Mail the letter to PO Box 138, Cedar Grove, NC 27231

We may also contact you for a follow-up phone interview, if necessary.


WHAT:  Paid educational internship program at Anathoth Community Farm & Garden. Interns, ages 15-19, learn gardening, culinary, and community building skills while making good food accessible to the community through a Community Supported Agriculture Program called HarvestShare. (Learn more about HarvestShare here.)

WHEN:  June 13-July 30, 2017. (Optional: work extra hours, up to a total of 150, during the week of July 31-August 5.) The work week runs Tuesday-Saturday. Hours are 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Sundays and Mondays are days off. You also have the option of delivering vegetables to homebound community members on Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons.

WHY:  Receive competitive hourly pay, for working up to 150 hours of service out of an available 260 hours throughout the season. You’ll enhance your resume, college application, or scholarship essays.  You’ll have the opportunity to be outdoors and work collaboratively with other interns.


1.) Can you explain more about the work schedule? 
Here’s the schedule you’ll commit to working:
Tuesday: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Wednesday: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Thursday:  8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (followed by potluck at 1 p.m. — interns are invited but not required to join)
Optional additional work times: Thursdays 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., and Saturdays 2 – 3 p.m.

The work week runs Tuesday-Saturday, because Saturdays are weekly community workdays, where neighbors and other HarvestShare CSA members can join in the garden work for the morning. You’ll notice that work hours aren’t exactly the same every day. On Saturdays, we also don’t start till 9 a.m., because that’s when the community workday begins.

However, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, we start at 8 a.m. to get a jump on field work before it gets too hot! We ask Open Hands interns to commit to this 24-hour work week schedule. Every afternoon, you’ll be free from 1 p.m. on — to rest, spend time with friends, or even work another job if needed.

Interns are also welcome to work towards finishing their 140 hours by helping distribute produce boxes on Thursday or Saturday afternoons.

2.) Why do I need to commit to 140 hours?
The commitment gives you flexibility! We want to make sure everyone on the crew commits to working consistently with us throughout the summer (your work is an important part of the whole), but we understand that you may need to miss some days. With over 168 hours available to work throughout the seven weeks, you’ll have ample opportunity to complete 140 and still leave room for time to take a day or even week off if you need to rest, go on vacation, etc.

3.) Do I need to let Anathoth coordinators if I’m going to miss a day?
Yes, please. Since the internship is geared to prepare you for future jobs, we ask you to communicate and stay accountable to your commitment. Unless you’re missing a day because of a sudden emergency, you will need to let us know 24 hours in advance if you have to miss a day.

4.) What’s a typical day like?
Our agenda will vary day-by-day, according to what needs to be done, as well as what learning opportunities arise throughout the summer. In general, our workdays follow a schedule like this one:

Daily planning: First half hour: morning huddle up. This a time to put a task list together on the chalk board and delegate the work. The Open Hands crew will work closely with each other and our summer interns, who are college and graduate school-age.
First half of the morning: Garden work: planting, weeding, harvesting, packing boxes, mulching, etc.
11-11:15: Water break
11:15-12:45: Garden work
12:45-1: Clean up and put tools away.
1-2: Optional group lunch at the garden (unpaid time and entirely optional, but a great way to relax and enjoy the garden bounty)

There will also be times that we play games, stop and learn how to do particular garden tasks together as a group, as well as the philosophy behind why we do things the way we do. And, with parent/guardian permission, Open Hands interns can join the summer interns on afternoon trips to local farms and gardens, or go to Cedar Grove United Methodist Church and can/preserve vegetables in the kitchen.

On Saturdays, the Open Hands crew will harvest for and pack HarvestShare CSA boxes that will be distributed around the community. Interns are also invited (though not required) to stay on for the potluck lunch after the workday and share in the food, with or without their families.

5.) Who should I get to write a reference letter for me?
We ask that reference letters come from non-relatives only. This includes but is not limited to teachers, coaches, pastors, Scout leaders, employers, etc.

6.) Do I qualify if I turn 15 after the program starts?
Yes, but please understand that this program is designated for older teens this season. Therefore, only those who are 15 and older, or are turning 15 before the program ends July 30, will be considered.

7.) Can I still participate if I have an intellectual or physical disability?
Yes, we are seeking a diverse group of teens this season including those with disabilities. However, we will ask that you provide us with all of the information we need to accommodate your participation, in order to make this experience safe and affirming for everyone. Therefore, please be prepared to give us a detailed information about how we should take your disability into consideration this season (where applicable, i.e. prescriptions, allergies, particular people or situations that might trigger a reaction, and of course emergency contact information).

8.) Can I still participate if I’m graduating from high school this year?
Yes, absolutely, and congratulations. The only caveat is that if you have Fall plans that are not local (i.e college, out-of-town employment), then you will need to complete 140 hours before you leave.



Engaging youth has been an integral part of Anathoth’s mission since day one. Originating as a partnership with Orange County’s Volunteers for Youth Juvenile Community Services and Restitution Program , which “works with young people who have been court ordered to complete community service hours in order to pay back the community for inappropriate behavior,” we have worked to empower youth with the skills and knowledge to make healthy lifestyle choices and be leaders for peace in their own community.

While some of the teens in the Volunteers for Youth program would return to the garden after their mandated service, many would leave and never come back — turnover was constant and consistency was stifled.  In 2008, a generous grant from Heifer International, enabled us to expand our effort to empower teenagers by granting us the money to start Open Hands (formerly Manos Abiertos).

Check out the story by clicking this link.

For the past four seasons Open Hands has hired teens and paid them fair compensation — while interns have learned how to grow and prepare food, business marketing skills through managing a Community Supported Agriculture program, personal finance management with bi-weekly paychecks, and how to work collaboratively with a diverse group of people. Additionally, Open Hands teens have attended a national conference called Rooted In Community for teens involved in food justice work, where they have hosted workshops including how to install a “food forest” and have co-drafted a Youth Food Bill of Rights demanding a more just food economy for their generation.

Since the beginning of the garden, we have worked with well over a hundred teenagers from Volunteers for Youth. Since 2008, we have worked with over 40 youth in the Open Hands program.

We are excited to hire another crew of interns for the 2018 season.