Farmworkers’ average annual income is $11,000, making them the lowest paid workforce in the nation.
ITF Applicant Information
Many people don’t think about where their food comes from; they just go to the grocery store and buy it, unaware of the people who produce it. Farmworkers have one of the most dangerous jobs and are among the lowest paid workers in the U.S. They face discrimination, heat illness, pesticide exposure, poor housing, and low wages. Farmworkers have a long history of organizing, standing up for better working and living conditions through labor unions and community organizations. By participating in ITF you can be a part of this tradition!
How would you like to spend your summer supporting the people who plant and harvest the fruits and vegetables you eat every day? Through Into the Fields you will support farmworker agencies and organizations and get trained on the issues surrounding farmworkers’ lives and the broader context of the agricultural industry. Each summer, Student Action with Farmworkers places 30 college students with organizations that serve, organize or advocate for farmworker justice. SAF interns come from diverse backgrounds and about half are from farmworker families. Check out the SAF blog to read intern and fellow experiences. Apply today!
Most interns live & work in rural agricultural areas in the Southeast- we place you at an organization based on your skills & interests. All placements consist of at least 50% office work as well as some outreach to farmworkers, their children, or meat processing workers. Check out SAF’s partners page to view a list of past sponsoring organizations. Placement types:
- Legal Assistance positions provide free legal assistance such as "know your rights" trainings, educational materials, translation, assisting lawyers with paperwork & research. Outreach varies but can be 1-3 times/week.
- Health Agency positions provide health education (ex. pesticides, nutrition), interpretation, case management & coordinate transportation to clinics. Outreach varies but can be 2-5 times/week.
- Migrant Education positions advocate for improved educational opportunities for Latino, migrant & immigrant youth. Interns may teach ESL classes, mentor students & educate parents about graduation requirements through migrant education programs. Outreach varies but can be 1-3 times/week.
- Community Organizing positions support projects that benefit the community or create awareness. Interns have organized “know your rights” trainings, assisted with community gardens, produced short documentaries about working with pesticides & developed a bike program for farmworkers. Outreach is less frequent but can be 1-2 times/week.
- Union/Labor Organizing positions support field & meat processing workers as they organize their workplace for better working conditions and pay. Interns may support meat processing workers to join or form a union, file grievances against their employer, organize events, create awareness in the community about consumer boycotts and farmworker led campaigns. Outreach is less frequent but can be 1-2 times/week.
Lobbying/Advocacy positions engage in the legislative process and work with state-wide coalitions on key issues such as tuition equity. There are approximately 2 positions available. Outreach is limited. (Preference given to Latinos from NC)
Theater & Documentary Projects
In addition to working full-time at a farmworker organization, SAF interns work on one of the following projects:
Documentary students will get to know an individual or family more in-depth by documenting their lives through interviews, photography, and creative writing. The 2014 focus will be on the labor lore of farmworkers and their families. Check out the documentary projects from past years.
Theater students will perform a skit to initiate dialogue among farmworkers and to mobilize them to come up with solutions to the issues they face. Performances take place in labor camps in the piedmont and eastern NC and address issues important to workers; the 2014 topic is mental health and alcohol abuse prevention. Check out the theater reports from past years.
*Interns may submit a proposal to fulfill an academic requirement at their school in lieu of a theater or documentary project, if they meet SAF’s standards.
To qualify you must be a current college student (including community college) or recent graduate (within 1 year) and speak high-intermediate or advanced Spanish. To be preferenced you must be able to say yes to one of the following:
- I am a college student from a farmworker family (anywhere in the U.S., SAF preferences CAMP program participants)
- I am a student currently attending college in the Southeastern U.S.
- I am a college student from the Southeast (the southeast is your home; you grew up there; your parents still live there, etc.)
- SAF strongly preferences all non-farmworker students to have reliable cars they can use for the summer. We accept approximately 12 students from farmworker families who do not have cars they can use for the summer and 13 other students who do have cars. They are paired together and share transportation during the summer. Most placements need interns to use their own car to conduct outreach to farmworkers. In addition to needing a car for their work obligations, interns need it to drive to/from work, grocery store, attend the 3 SAF trainings, to conduct their documentary or theater projects and community awareness projects.
- Fundraise $650 to contribute to the program (waived for CAMP members, UNC APPLES, Duke Global Health SRT)
- Work 40 hours volunteer work per week
- Participate in the entire program from June 2-August 10, 2014
- Write 4 guided writings/blogs
- Conduct a community awareness project during the summer
- Complete a documentary or theater project*
- Be willing to drive/ travel long distances to trainings and to outreach to farmworkers (1-4 hrs/day, 2-5 days/week)
$1350 total per diem, free rent in furnished housing, $1500 scholarship upon completion, room and board at 3 free trainings, mentorship and academic credit available. Students from farmworker families receive paid travel to North Carolina.
Need more details? Download the Into the Fields Details document (available November).
|Dec 1||Application available online|
|Feb 4||Application deadline|
|Feb 14-21||Applicant Interviews|
|March 5||Applicants notified of Selection/Waitlist/Decline|
|March 12||Deadline to accept position or be on the waitlist|
|Mar 24-31||Farmworker Awareness Week|
|June 2-7||SAF Orientation (Mebane, NC)|
|June 9||First day of work|
|July 11-13||Mid-Retreat (Mebane, NC)|
|August 7||Last day of on-site work|
|August 8-10||Final Retreat (Durham, NC)|
|August 10-11||Participants travel home|