RISE for Local Foods
Our goal is to match paid college interns with regional food, farming or seafood organizations and businesses that seek to improve their direct marketing or online presence due to impacts of COVID-19. We will pair unique student skill sets (such as social media, marketing and experience with online platforms) with business needs to help the host businesses improve their profitability and connection to local consumers while supplying impactful experiences and hands on skill building related to food systems and supply chains for college students. All while keeping the students and businesses safe because all work will be done virtually.
Applications are closed for Fall 2020
About the Program:
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns disrupted food supply chains and demonstrated the fragility of people’s access to healthy foods. The pandemic has changed the way food is grown, distributed, accessed, prepared and eaten across the state. Prior to the coronavirus, fifty percent of meals were consumed at restaurants and institutions. While there is no shortage of food offered at supermarkets, deficits in particular regions and in certain stores have occurred because nearly all meals are being prepared in the home. Consequently, a distribution system constructed to supply food service with bulk items is struggling to adapt to much smaller packaging for home use (Reiley, 2020b). Farms and fisheries of all types and sizes have been impacted. Fisheries have been hit especially hard with seafood sales across the nation decreasing by 95% since March 2020, largely due to restaurant closures.
At the same time, the crisis has offered a glimpse of more resilient food systems, as communities have come together to develop creative responses. We have seen the smaller, local supply chains demonstrate resilience with their ability to quickly adapt and meet the changing needs of communities. However, not all communities and producers have had the time, skills or flexibility to adapt. Many producers across the state continue to struggle to economically survive the pandemic.
As coronavirus infections continue to rise at an alarming rate in North Carolina, many restaurants that had been allowed in May to open at half capacity are now closing again or reverting to takeout only. As a result, the state’s local food and fisheries must seriously explore and devise strategies to sell products directly to the consumers who want it.
Direct marketing is a critical business model to develop among fishers, farmers and small food businesses to compensate for revenues that food service once provided. It may also provide sufficient profits to keep a number of producers, processors and retailers in business when demand from the wholesale sector slows as a result of future economic or public health crises. Competency in direct marketing, however, will necessitate familiarity with technologies not all small producers currently have.
Now, more than ever, the relationships, knowledge and collaborative efforts of NCLFC are needed. Together we have the combined ability to share resources and build a coordinated response to this need. The objective of this proposal is to connect fishers, farmers and food businesses interested in improving their direct marketing or online presence with university interns who can help them develop websites, social media tools and other online platforms to facilitate connections with consumers locally and regionally.
During the 16 weeks, the intern will have the opportunity to:
Assist businesses with expanding their marketing and outreach strategies via internet based platforms including web site design and development, social media, digital graphics, and e-commerce. All work will be done remotely, no on-farm or on-site visitation.
Working Business Hours
TBD based on applicant’s schedule and organizational needs
Internship Duration and Work Environment
- All interns have an anticipated start date of October 1, 2020
- All Internships will last approximately 16 weeks (not including holiday weeks) for 10-15 hrs a week
- All internships will have a 100% remote working environment
Up to 10 Available Remote Summer Internship Opportunities:
Some organizations may take more than one intern
For more information, contact Daniel Holloman, email@example.com (Internship Coordinator), or Dr. Angel Cruz, firstname.lastname@example.org (NCLFC Coordinator)
Reiley, L. Commercial fishing industry in free fall as restaurants close, consumers hunker down and vessels tie up. April 8, 2020a. Washington Post. Available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/08/commercial-fishing-coronavirus/
Reiley, L. The Industry Says We Have Enough Food. Here’s Why Some Store Shelves Are Empty Anyway. April 14, 2020b. Washington Post. Available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/14/grocery-stores-empty-shelves-shortage/
This internship is sponsored by:
Self-Help Credit Union
North Carolina Local Food Council