We have had many international interns on our farm and we plan to invite international interns to come to our farm long into the future. All our interns come through one of two programs: the University of Minnesota’s MAST program in St Paul MN and the MESA program in Berkley California.
These two programs are well known and have good reputations. Their staff is knowledgeable and willing to work closely with the interns and always available to deal with unexpected problems.
Both programs help the prospective interns with the needed international paperwork. Both programs are educational programs requiring a J-1 Visa. If you want to apply for an internship on Hoch Orchard you will have to apply through either the MAST or the MESA programs. We do NOT sponsor foreign interns outside of one of these programs.
The MESA program is a small nonprofit dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture. In addition to sponsoring J1 visas for 30-50 qualified trainee candidates per year, MESA’s program also includes interactive, online curriculum for participants to earn a Certificate in Applied Agroecology. MESA’s program fee for international candidates is $1850USD (Scholarships and loans are available for candidates nominated by a Global Partner NGO). MESA Hosts determine the length of training and compensation, with US programs lasting anywhere from 3 to 12 months. MESA trainees (aka Stewards), are also eligible for project grants and workshop/farm conference support. Go to mesaprogram.org/usprograms/stewards for more information.
The MAST program is large with over 400 intern placements each year. This program has more upfront costs for the intern, but the intern has the potential to make more money over an entire season. The intern has to pay a monthly fee to the MAST program while working on the farm. We pay the MAST intern a stipend of $1000 per month. MAST offers multiple starting dates and intern periods. They also offer one semester of study at the University of Minnesota as an optional part of the program. For more information go to mast.cfans.umn.edu .
We are happy to look at your Resume or Transcript, but we will not send you an Internship application or work with you directly to apply for a Visa. If you apply through MAST or MESA feel free to email us an email when you finish their application process. This way we can request that the program send us your application after all the paper work is in place.