Garden Internship & Youth Apprenticeship

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” –Masanobu Fukuoka, in The One Straw Revolution

In three years we’ve established our Summer College Internship as a vital and sought after experience where we grow young leaders in organic agriculture. Our interns have gone on to further involvement in local food and sustainability, whether working for local organizations or starting their own farms. In 2017 we discerned and launched a Youth Apprenticeship for local high school students, to expand and deepen the reach of our educational mission. Interns and apprentices learn not just how to grow vegetables, but how to grow community as they journey with us through the growing season.


Interested? Click here to download the application: garden-intern-app

Email your completed application to subject line “Garden Intern Application


About the Internship

IMG_0016What will I do? 

Interns can expect a hands-on learning experience in sustainable gardening, growing food in a no-till, bio-intensive system. Interns will be focused on assisting the Garden Coordinator in maintaining our two gardens, growing and distributing produce to food-insecure residents of Ashe and Watagua Counties., as well as selling produce through Todd’s Table, a mobile food market and produce stand. Interns will also learn about permaculture design as they help the garden coordinator continue to implement orchards and a food forest on the entire Blackburn’s Chapel grounds.

What will I gain?

sThis internship is an incredible opportunity to: 1) engage in and develop direct service to address food insecurity; 2) integrate faith, spirituality, service and agriculture; 3) develop team-based skills and grow in your leadership capacities. Interns can expect to receive produce from the garden and participate in weekly community meals. Course credit may be arranged with your academic department if desired.

What do past interns have to say?

“I chose the community garden internship for two reasons. First, I want to eventually have my own garden . . . . Secondly, I wanted to give back to the collective, Western North Carolina community for all it’s done for me the past 3 years I’ve lived in Boone.

         I planned on only staying with the internship over the summer, but as August approached I realized that I wasn’t ready to leave just yet . . . I’ve learned so much about not only when certain plants grow, how deep to plant their seeds and the types of pests that threaten their prosperity, but also how gardens are more than just the sum of their parts. They aren’t just a collection of different plants waiting to be cultivated. They’re living ecosystems that need love and support. Each plant is interconnected in some way with the rest and relies on the abilities of others to provide the nutrients and other necessary components for growth. Just like communities of people, plant communities lean on one another and accept that every harvest is a product of many collective efforts. The most important things I’ve learned from my time at Blackburn are that flourishing doesn’t occur without love and support and that for the most part, it’s what happens beneath the surface that makes the greatest impact. Where your roots lay determines the bounty you reap.” – Katie McFall, Summer and Fall Intern, 2015

This internship opportunity takes place within the unique, creative context of Todd, an unincorporated rural neighborhood that depends on ordinary folks for grassroots activism and development to sustain its community and economic vitality. For more information, email Matt Gundlach (, Garden Coordinator.

Interested? Click here to download the application: garden-intern-app

Email your completed application to subject line “Garden Intern Application


Meet Our 2017 Interns & Apprentice!



Left to Right: Scout Denning, Lee Dees, Carley Schlentz, Mackenzie Morgan

About our Apprentice:

Lee Dees: Lee is high school student and Todd resident whose interest in becoming an organic farmer led him first to work at New Life Farm in Caldwell Co., and then to volunteer with Beatitude Gardens when his family began attending Blackburn’s Chapel in summer 2016. Lee is also a talented musician and actor, performing in local community theatre productions, and enjoys ultimate frisbee, camping and canoeing with his family. Lee joined as the firs Youth Apprentice in January, spending the calendar year shadowing Matt, reading permaculture texts, and getting a sense of the whole garden operation.

About our Summer Interns:

Scout Denning: Hometown: Shelby, NC

Major: Sustainable Development, class of 2018

Why I Joined: “The internship was recommended to me as an opportunity to broaden my educational experience; not only in gardening and agricultural practices, but in the building of food security, relationships and communities. Beatitude/BCO has done just that, exemplifying the complexity of agricultural ecosystems as well as local food systems. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work with projects like Todd’s Table in their genesis, knowing what beautifully resilient connections are being, and will continue to be made. ”

Carley Schlentz: Hometown: Greensboro, NC

Major: Sustainable Development, Class of 2019

Why I Joined: “This internship is special because it joins both organic agriculture and the community together, so they may work alongside each other. Beatitude Gardens is working towards improving accessibility to local fruits and vegetables. Our time here is spent cultivating a stronger relationship between people and the food they eat, as well as building relationships between members in the community.”

Mackenzie Morgan: Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies, Class of 2019

Why I Joined: “I wanted to be one of the garden interns because I am passionate about food security issues in rural communities and the initiatives happening out of Blackburn Community Outreach was something that I wanted to contribute to in any way that I could. Additionally, I wanted to learn as much as I could about organic agriculture in order to one day sustain my own needs and teach others the importance of growing food.”


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