Spark-Y Annual Internship

Real-world sustainable boot camp

Spark-Y hosts an annual internship every summer for youth around the country to gain real-world sustainable experiences through community partnerships. 30+ youth from Spark-Y school programs and applicants from job placement programs, college graduates, and graduate students combine into teams to execute sustainable projects throughout the Twin Cities. Teams are led by second-year internship graduates, to create a culture of youth development and leadership.


Youth participants in our annual internship:

Gain employment, entry to grad school, and admittance to special programs as a direct result of their experience.
Achieve a competitive edge and resume builder with a Spark-Y certificate.
Go on to create businesses or bring sustainable / entrepreneurial practices and thinking to their careers.



Check back on our blog or on instagram and facebook,
with the hashtag
#YouthGrown to follow
our 2017 interns throughout their 6 week internship.

2o17 Blog post updates from our intern teams:

2017 Internship Projects:

Urban Ag Lab, Farm Management Team: This team will learn about all of Spark-Y sustainable systems at the Urban Ag Lab, providing upkeep, data collection, food safety compliance, and maintenance. They will also be providing innovative upgrades to our systems.

Urban Ag Lab, Tours and Workshops: Our UAL Tours and Workshops team will be building partnerships with local restaurants to sell aquaponically-grown produce. This team will also be hosting, improving, and promoting specialized tours of the Urban Ag Lab.

The Edison High School Sustainability Team: The focus of this team is on construction completion of an in-school aquaponics system, while maintaining growth and production of all systems including garden and greenhouse spaces.

Gastrotruck Sustainable Landscape Design: This group will be designing and executing an outdoor sustainable grow space for Gastrotruck, working diligently to customize and craft the ideal system for their needs. 

Good Acre: Our Good Acre team will be assisting three local makers in the Maker to Market Program, producing, preparing, and marketing local food products. Interns will also be providing business support through marketing and outreach. 

Roosevelt High School (RUF Squad): The Roosevelt Urban Far squad will focus on improving the structures of the Roosevelt school farm, while maintaining the growth and production of produce for the cafeteria. This team will also create a growing wall for the outdoor grow space.

Lube-Tech Green Team: The Lube-Tech internship team will be designing and performing a waste audit of both the facilities and production sides of the company. The goal of this audit is to reduce the ecological footprint of the organization, streamline their processes, reduce resources consumed, while saving the organization time and money.

Holland Neighborhood Garden: This team will focus their efforts on improving the community garden and Tot Lot spaces along 27th Ave greenway in Northeast Minneapolis. Projects will include working with the client to implement a community workday and potluck celebration, designing and executing multiple builds to improve sustainability and safety, and community / gardener outreach.

here's what our 2016 interns have to say:


"Spark-Y has given me the confidence to know that I can do this. I had never worked with power tools before, I knew nothing about timber framing, and I had never gone to meetings. Now I'm doing all of it. I have matured a ton being here."



 - Makenna
Team Leader timber frame pavilion project


“At Spark-Y, everyone is so positive and sweet.  And they help you. This is definitely going to help me in the future, planting and stuff, because I really love to plant but I just don’t know how. So Spark-Y really helped me to learn how it goes and how it works.”

- Halima
Roosevelt Urban Farming (RUF) project

Spark-Y Certification

Spark-Y interns are held to a high degree of excellence.
Certificates are awarded to interns who have proven the following:

As an individual, each intern:

  • Demonstrated understanding of the 5 E’s of Sustainability™
  • Assisted a major Spark-Y fundraising event
  • Received project management, entrepreneurial, and sustainable systems training
  • Developed the 5 keys of professional empowerment
  • Had 90% or greater attendance during the course of the internship program

Worked with a team to deliver professional-quality results, meaning, he/she/they:

  • Worked directly with a client as a sustainability contractor
  • Delivered project goals to client expectations
  • Managed a project timeline and budget
  • Completed a written final project report
  • Delivered an oral final project presentation