Organic Farming & Sustainable Food Systems Internship

Academic Credits





100 USD per month

Hours per week

35 hrs per week



Start Date





Playa Viva is a sustainable boutique hotel and development project located on Mexico’s southern Pacific coast. Playa Viva hotel is located just outside the town of Juluchuca, a community of about 400 people, and is currently in the process of revitalizing degraded ecosystems through ecological restoration, organic farming and community development projects. Its property was originally four parcels of land that had once been used for cattle ranching, orchards and monoculture agriculture. Our mission is to revitalize, regenerate and restore a vibrant and diverse ecosystem and simultaneously foster sustainable economic opportunities in our surrounding community.

We are seeking one dedicated intern to help support organic farming and garden-related projects, both in the community and on our farm. The Playa Viva project is a growing and evolving business in which interns serve as ambassadors in the community for Playa Viva’s work, bringing skills and knowledge to both our neighboring communities and to our staff. As such, individuals best suited for this role are "people persons" who want to help be part of a movement to promote sustainability in the area and help Playa Viva achieve its goals. This is an opportunity to live and be a part of a rural community development project via a sustainable tourism operation.

The internship is loosely structured and is deeply rooted in community development. People who thrive in this role tend to be proactive self-starters and comfortable working independently and in a slow-pace environment. Interns need to be able to commit to a minimum of three months and be sufficiently fluent in Spanish to ensure a thorough exchange of learning between the intern and local staff (our local staff do not speak English). Preference is given to candidates who can stay for longer than 3 months.


The Farm/Food Systems Intern will support the following program goals: 1) increase organic agricultural production; 2) promote sustainable agribusiness; and 3) improve knowledge and practice of organic food production locally. S/he will work under the guidance of and report to Playa Viva’s Food and Farm Production (FFP) Manager and coordinate with the Social and Environmental Impact (SEI) Officer. Specifically, the intern(s) will be involved in the supporting the vertical garden project at the community kitchen in town and help assist with the nutritional workshops each month, held at the same location.


  • Planting, harvesting, weeding, mulching, tending to chickens, etc.;
  • Support farm management and organization;
  • Support training/capacity building of staff and relevant actors in the community;
  • Support the implementation and maintenance of the community vertical garden project;
  • Participate in the weekly Saturday farmers’ market in Zihuatanejo (Eco Tianguis Sanka);
  • Strengthen Playa Viva’s and the Eco Tianguis’ relationship with small-scale local producers;
  • Support the link between farm and kitchen;
  • Liaise with farm team and kitchen to communicate what is in demand and currently available at the Eco Tianguis;
  • Liaise with Farm and Food Production (FFP) Manager and Social & Environmental Impact (SEI) Officer to leverage and foster new and existing partnerships with organic/sustainable food production actors locally and internationally;
  • Liaise with SEI Officer to conduct small presentations on organic farming and environmental stewardship in local schools (preschool, elementary, and high school);
  • Support FFP Manager to produce annual farm production reports;


  • Strong knowledge of and practical experience in vegetable production, tree nurseries, and/or integrated agricultural systems;
  • BS/BA in Agronomy, Horticulture, Sustainable Food Systems (or a related field) and/or equivalent experience working in related fields;
  • Passion and interest in sustainable agriculture, nutrition and community development;
  • Willingness to work in a team environment as well as be a dedicated, proactive self-starter;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to exercise sensitivity among cultural differences;
  • Flexibility and willingness to learn new knowledge, skills and attitudes;
  • Strong resiliency skills (i.e. some life experience showing ability to achieve in difficult circumstances).
  • Willingness and ability to perform physical labor and work in a tropical remote environment;
  • B2 or ILR 3 minimum level of fluency in Spanish;
  • Fluency in English (for integration with hotel guests);
  • 3 month minimum commitment.


  • 1-2 years experience working in agriculture, organic farming, community development, and/or academic training in a related field;
  • Experience in project planning or program development;
  • Experience living and working in a Latin American and/or developing country context, preferably in rural areas;
  • Fluent or native Spanish speaker.


The closest city is Zihuatanejo, about one hour by car.


  • 100USD monthly living stipend;
  • 2 meals per day Monday - Friday (during working hours);
  • 1 meal on Saturdays (purchased at Saturday market);
  • Shared accommodation at Casa Blanca (shared house in Juluchuca with other international volunteers);
  • Transportation to and from PV Hotel;
  • Improving language and other new skills; 
  • Making new and lasting friendships; 
  • Becoming acquainted with another country, its people, and its culture; and 
  • Making a contribution to Mexico’s rural economic development.

How To Apply

If interested in applying, please send your resume and a 1-page cover letter (roughly 600 words) to and expressing your interest in and qualifications for the role. Please include in your cover letter or in your email when you are available to start the position and for how long you are available (ideal start date is mid-May 2018). You can address the letter to Ms. Melissa Luna and Mr. Nick Wolf. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until positions are filled. Letters can be written in English or Spanish. Interviews will be conducted in 50/50 English/Spanish to gauge fluency.