Food Security and Urban Farming Internship, Cape Town

Are you enthusiastic about gardening, fresh food, and nutrition? And keen to think of ways to share your knowledge and improve systems to optimize benefits of gardens for the community? This Food Security and Urban Farming Internship with Urban Harvest might exactly be what you are looking for. This organization is South Africa’s oldest edible garden service that installs (and maintains) food gardens in homes, businesses, schools, and communities. By helping South Africans to grow their own food, they are supporting a healthier, happier and more sustainable way of life for everyone. This Food Security and Urban Farming Internship will challenge your coordination, social, gardening and community development skills when you work on bringing their food gardens at schools, that are used for eco-education and to provide vegetables for school meals, to the next level.

Food security internship“This internship is genuinely so much fun. The gardens are amazing, the kids are curious to learn, and I gain more knowledge about produce and organic farming every day. On a personal note, I love seeing the direct impact that I have in my role because the company is small. They say it only takes one seed to make a difference, and it brings me so much joy to feel like I get to be a seed here!”

Vera, North Eastern University, United States


Quick Facts

  • Destination Cape Town, South Africa
  • Type of Organisation Environmental NGO
  • Work Focus Food Security, Urban Farming, Education
  • Length of Internship 8-12 weeks
  • Accommodation Choice of several types
  • Fee As from USD 1,390 for 8 weeks

A Little Bit About Urban Harvest

Urban Harvest is South Africa’s oldest edible garden service that provides installation, maintenance, and support of organic food gardens in homes, businesses, schools, and communities. This organization is based in Cape Town and makes it easy for South Africans to grow their own fresh, nutrient-rich and chemical free food and have a great time doing it. By helping South Africans to grow their own food, they are supporting a healthier, happier and more sustainable way of life for everyone. In addition, using an ecological approach to food gardens supports natural systems and helps to cut down on the harmful effects of the packaging, travel miles and chemical pollution created by the mainstream, store-bought foods. Urban Harvest also offers courses and coaching sessions on natural farming.

To date, they have installed and maintained more than 300 beautiful and highly productive food gardens at homes, hotels, restaurants, schools and community projects.

What You’ll Be Doing 

The food gardens at schools are used for eco-education and to provide vegetables for school meals. Urban Harvest is assisted by an intern to manage these gardens. Generally, you will spend your mornings working outside in the gardens, nursery or at the school. The afternoon, you can spend in the office doing research, preparations for workshop, project work, etc.

Tasks & Responsibilities

  • Evaluate the way of working between school, kitchen, and garden and think of ways to increase school engagement by integrating the garden into the school’s education and food system.
  • Facilitate and develop eco-education workshops/classes for the school to increase the children’s (and teachers’) interest and enthusiasm about gardening, fresh food, and nutrition.
  • Develop new/improved systems and suggestions to optimize the produce and use of the school garden. For example; sales of excess vegetables to parents, teachers, and community instead of letting it go to waste, new meal suggestions with more vegetables but in line with local customs, ways to preserve vegetables and herbs for future use (instead of wasting it).
  • Research into eco-education, nutrition, local customs, etc. to contribute to the above mentioned tasks.
  • All interns will spend a few hours every day working in the garden and nursery, assist with school workshops, help take care of the chickens, and sorting and cleaning the work spaces. as well as making food products that are gifted to clients.

What will you gain from this Internship?

  • Hands-on organic gardening experience in a multitude of different garden situations, mentored by our team of experienced gardeners.
  • Freedom to experiment in the office garden and nursery with interesting food plants and various propagation methods.
  • Organic produce to take home!
  • Free participation in our Organic Food Growing courses.
  • Experience in working with children of differing abilities and from a range of backgrounds.

Want to know more? Check out Vera’s or Caroline’s blog about their Food Security and Urban Farming Internship with Urban Harvest. Or have a look at the photo report from Ntombenhle!

NB. Please note that the internship is based on a volunteer work placement, so you are not receiving any payment or stipend.

Where You’ll Stay 

Your accommodation is included in the internship fee, and we’ll arrange it all for you! We’re excited to offer a variety of options, ranging from dorm rooms to twin and single rooms. The options available depend on your internship period, but we’ll always make sure you’re in a comfortable, central, and safe place. Please get in touch to find out what options are available during your preferred period.

For this Food Security and Urban Farming Internship, Urban Harvest is looking for people with the following attributes and skills.

  • Interest or background in environmental management, biology, sustainability, gardening, community and social development, nutrition, agriculture.
  • Practical experience in home vegetable gardening or have attended a course in organic gardening/permaculture is handy.
  • Interest in contributing to and developing new systems to bring these community projects to the next level.
  • Pro-active and independent worker.
  • Good social skills.
  • Love working with children and people with different backgrounds.
  • Love getting your hands dirty.
  • Nice to have: interest in social enterprise and business development.
  • Bring your own laptop.

How to apply?
If you’re interested in this work placement and feel that you could make an impact with Urban Harvest, we’d love to hear from you! Here’s what to do:

  1. Fill in the  (it will show in a slider pop-up!) and send us your CV.
  2. If we might have a placement available for you, we’ll chat with you on the phone or Skype to go through your application and make sure it’s a good match.
  3. We’ll set up a call between you and the person who would be your supervisor during the work placement.
  4. If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, get started with a detailed booking form, and we’ll give you all the information you need to prepare for your upcoming adventure.
  5. Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.

Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just shoot us an email, or fill in the contact form. We’ll be happy to assist!

When can you start making an impact?
The starting date of your internship with Urban Harvest is based on what is most convenient for you and Urban Harvest. Please keep in mind Urban Harvest is closed for two weeks of summer holiday at the end of the year.


At Roots, we do everything we can to make your internship experience smooth and hassle-free. We offer an all-inclusive service, which means we will help you find the right internship (we believe we are great matchmakers!), help you with visa arrangements, book accommodation for you in Cape Town, give you all the pre-departure information you need before arriving, pick you up from the airport and check in with you while on your work placement to ensure you feel supported.

Your exact fee depends on the accommodation you choose, but start at the following level:

  • 8 weeks – USD 1,658 (2019)
  • 12 weeks – USD  2,162 (2019)
  • 16 weeks – USD 2,666 (2019)

What is included in the fee?

  • Full accommodation rental fees
  • Transfer from Cape Town International airport to your accommodation and back on arrival and departure day
  • Assistance with finding the perfect work placement
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement & other preparations
  • On the ground support during your stay
  • A discount on weekend activities, exclusive to Roots interns

What is not included in the fee?

  • Flights to Cape Town
  • Visa, medical and travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Meals, drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing).
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities

Optional extra

Academic Guidance Apart from the logistical support we offer, and regular check-ins, we also offer additional academic guidance during your internship. At an additional fee of USD 75 a month, you’ll receive monthly sessions with a local lecturer, who will support you in placing your work experience in the context of your academic course, and assist you with any report writing and/or research you’re required to do.

We'd love to hear from you! Leave a message, and we'll get back to you shortly to help find you a valuable work placement where you can make an impact.

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