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Food Policy Intern #2302-1015-01

Food System Policy Division

Date Opened
Monday, February 13, 2023 12:01 AM
Close Date
Food System Policy Division
Employment Type
  • Intern
Telework Eligible


Food System Policy Division (FSPD)

Prompted, in part, by the staggering racial, economic, social, and environmental disparities in New Haven, a group of community food system advocates successfully lobbied the City of New Haven to create a new municipal department called the Food System Policy Division (FSPD) in 2016. This was initially made possible through generous funding from the Kendall Foundation. With the hiring of its current Director in 2018, who secured the Division’s first federal, state, and additional private funding, the Division has expanded to include 2 full-time staff members, 3 part-time staff members, and several graduate interns. This small municipal division is one of approximately only 20 other Food Policy Directors/Departments housed in municipal government throughout the United States.

Our mission is to support and help manifest community-led efforts that envision and create an environmentally sustainable and socially just food system. We operate through a food justice framework and across three thematic priorities - health equity, socio-economic justice, and environmental justice. The core of these three themes spotlight our goal of developing and supporting equitable food, farming, and land-use policies.

Historically, much of the food systems work in New Haven has focused on downstream solutions - such as issues around food access and the emergency food system. These programs function through a community service or charity model. However, over the last four years, our team has worked to shift the Division’s framing from either/or thinking to a both/and approach.

In addition to broadly supporting values-aligned organizations who implement programs that provide critical social safety nets that have an immediate impact on people’s lives, the Division now largely focuses on addressing root causes and striving for systemic change (e.g. upstream solutions such as economic security and secure land access). These strategies seek to improve community conditions overall.

Multi-level Engagement
Since community-driven efforts are a priority for our Division, much of our work is done through coalition-building across departments, institutions, and through knowledge-sharing and action networks - from the local to international scale. We prioritize working with organizations and individuals that we have shared values with - including authenticity, transparency, and accountability.

We prioritize working thoughtfully and intentionally, focusing on grassroots-driven, community-led efforts. Our portfolio focuses on three main threads of work.
● Urban Agricultural Growth & Development
● Equitable Food-Oriented Development (EFOD)
● Food Systems Data & Mapping
Visit the Food System Policy Division online at

This is an excellent opportunity for current graduate (and exceptional undergraduate and high school) students to intern/extern in a mid-sized-city municipal environment.

Interns are given broad exposure to a variety of issues, including but not limited to: Municipal Planning & Zoning; Grassroots, Community-Driven Policymaking; Environmental & Climate Justice; Urban Agriculture; Equitable-Food Oriented Economic Development (EFOD); Institutional Food Procurement; Food Systems Data & Mapping; Local, National, & International Food Law & Policy.

Remote work options may be available once work routines are established.


This is an internship/externship position for a graduate student (or exceptional undergraduate or high school student) enrolled in an accredited college/university (or public high school), under the direction and supervision of the Director of Food System policy and designated full-time team members of the Food System Policy Division.

This position involves assisting the FSPD team in working with city officials, departments, in all areas related to municipal food systems planning across our current portfolio of work. The student intern is encouraged to exercise independent, professional judgement in the performance of work, and will be expected to learn basic principles of file and project management and will have opportunities to practice in all areas of municipal food systems planning as outlined above under the supervision of the FSPD team.


Typical assignments may include but are not limited to:
  • Conduct food, farming, and land-use policy research
  • Participate in all aspects of grassroots policymaking, community outreach, and municipal food systems planning, including: assist with preparing for community meetings, support the facilitation of community meetings, prepare for and attend legislative meetings or conferences, and coordinate with other municipal departments on relevant research or work.
  • Work closely with FSPD team to advise relevant internal and external stakeholders on issues related to food, farming, and land-use
  • Assist with the management and collection of monitoring and evaluation data
  • Draft knowledge products, such as: internal memos, toolkits, presentations, policy scans, ArcGIS maps, etc
  • Create website and social media content as requested
  • Perform other related work as requested.
NOTE: The above description covers the principal duties and responsibilities of the job and shall not be construed as a complete listing of all duties or as a contract.

See above Introduction for additional details.

Graduate Student Interns will receive mentoring including attending relevant meetings, events, and community gatherings. They will interact with stakeholders as appropriate and will receive substantive feedback on assignments.


Preferred Education: Masters’ or doctoral students across a variety of disciplines (including, but not limited to, law, policy, planning, environmental studies, medicine, public health, political science, sociology, etc). Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited College/University (or high school).


  • Detail-oriented
  • Exceptional verbal, written, and telephone communication skills
  • Efficient, effective, and dependable in working with groups and independently
  • Knowledge of the principles, methods, and practices of policy research.
  • Knowledge of local, regional, national, and/or global food systems
  • Knowledge of systemic inequities/injustices and how that impacts rural, urban, and peri-urban land-use, and by consequence, the food and farming systems in the US
  • Knowledge of New Haven and its neighborhoods
  • Knowledge of municipal government structures
  • Knowledge of commonly used software, including Microsoft applications, Google Suite, and other web-based tools.
  • Verbal and written communication skills necessary to communicate with all levels of stakeholders.
  • Time management, organizational and multitasking skills necessary to work in a fast-paced environment, handling various tasks and changing priorities, while maintaining a high attention to detail and accuracy to achieve daily assignments and goals.
  • Ability to analyze, review, and make recommendations.
  • Ability to travel within New Haven as required.


Applicant must attach the following to online submission:
  • Resume
  • Writing Sample


Internships are typically unpaid, volunteer positions (unless a particular project has appropriate funds allocated to compensate interns), and are open to graduate students, undergraduate, and very occasionally, highly motivated high-school students. Accepted applicants may arrange externships with their schools for course credit for their work.

This part time internship position is not eligible to receive medical benefits, vacation pay, sick pay, holiday, union membership, or union contractual benefits. Any period of part time employment will not be construed in any way to mean probationary employment. Persons may not be employed in two concurrent part time positions with the City and/or the Board of Education at the same time.

Selection Plan

Applications will be reviewed by the Department of Human Resources and the Food System Policy Division.

It is critical that you complete the application thoroughly, as the information you provide will be used to ascertain if you are eligible to move forward in the selection process.

Please note that the only method of communication with applicants for this position will be by email. You must provide a valid, working email address and you will need to monitor your email, including spam/junk folders, for correspondence from the New Haven Human Resources Department.


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