Become a Volunteer


How do I sign up to volunteer at the SOF?
We love to have new faces and extra helpers out at the farm.  Please read through all of these frequently asked questions before filling out the application form at the bottom of this web page.    To ensure maximum use of your volunteer time, please wait until you’ve received a confirmation from an SOF staff member before showing up for your first day of work.
 
If you are a volunteer group, please e-mail the farm at msufarm@msu.edu with a note specifying the average age and number of people in your group, as well as a few potential dates and times that would be convenient for you all.  Accommodating volunteer groups may take up to 2 weeks to schedule and is subject to SOF staff availability.  Volunteer groups under 18 years of age will be subject to our regular tour fee.
 
How can I volunteer with the worm composting project?
The Compost Commons hosts occasional volunteer workdays during regular MSU academic semesters.  Folks should e-mail the farm at msufarm@msu.edu if they are interested in learning more about this opportunity. 
 
When can I volunteer?
We welcome volunteers Monday through Friday each week.  Unfortunately, due to limited staff availability, we do NOT currently accept weekend volunteers. 
 
During the spring and fall MSU semesters, volunteer shifts run 8:00-11:30 am or 12:30-3:30 pm.  Folks are required to complete the minimum 3 hours of each shift and encouraged to work longer if they choose; lunch is 11:30-12:30 and we’re open till 5:00 pm in the afternoon.  In the summer, however, hours are limited to 8:00-11:30 and 12:30-3:30 M-T-W-F.  Thursday’s summer shifts run 7:00-11:30 am and 12:30-3:30 pm and there is the option to stay as late as 7:00 pm if you choose. 
 
To facilitate effective work flow for our staff and students, timeliness is required of all volunteers.  In order to arrive promptly at the beginning of your shift, plan time in your schedule to park and walk out to the farm.
 
*Please note that it may take up to 3 weeks to receive a response after submitting your volunteer application.  Thank you for your patience!
 
Where are you located?
The Student Organic Farm is located on 14 acres at the western edge of the MSU Horticulture Teaching and Research Center (HTRC).  Our address is 3291 College Rd. Holt, MI 48842.  Please park in the main HTRC parking lot, just inside the main gate when you drive in.  Then walk out ¼ mile down the westward leading gravel drive past some grapes and apple trees.  The SOF is near the end of this road on the right—you can’t miss our sign and hoop houses. 
 
In the mornings and after lunch we usually meet in the Work House to divide up in to work tasks.  This hoop house is the most northern structure on our farm, just past the Wash Pack shelter.  Ask around for our Production Manager, Dan Fillius, and he will be able to put you to work.
 
Can I get a ride out to the farm?
We recognize the difficulty of our location for students without cars or bicycles and want everyone interested in volunteering to have the opportunity.  However, while the SOF cannot offer rides to and from the farm, occasionally student crew members with vehicles are willing to pick up and drop off volunteers in convenience with their work schedules.  If you would be interested in a ride, please e-mail the farm at msufarm@msu.edu before scheduling a volunteer shift and we will do the best we can to set-up a convenient arrangement.
 
What should I wear when I volunteer?
Farmers spend a lot of time working outside, no matter what the weather.  Dress according to how you will feel most comfortable in whatever weather is predicted for your volunteer shift, keeping in mind that you may be moving between greenhouses where it is dry and warm to outdoor rain or snow.  We recommend layers and closed toe shoes, sunscreen, a hat, and water.
 
What can I expect to do while I’m at the farm?
Farm work is seasonal.  Because we grow in passive solar greenhouses harvest happens here year round, usually on Thursday mornings.   In the spring we’re busy prepping beds and planting outside.  In the summer we’re busy weeding and watering and doing more planting and harvesting summer fruit.  In the fall we’re busy rolling drip tape, putting beds to sleep for the winter, and harvesting roots for storage.  In the winter we’re working to maintain our crops in the hoop houses, seeding transplants, and getting ready for the spring. 

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