Volunteer Application

We work hard to make the Spring conference available to all. We’re excited to offer the opportunity to volunteer in exchange for a weekend and/or pre-conference pass. We truly couldn’t do this without our spectacular volunteers! Nearly 200 of you will make this conference a success. View the Spring Conference schedule as a PDF.

Time Commitment

In exchange for each 4-hour shift worked, you get into one day of the conference. The exception to this rule is Moderators and some Specialty Volunteers. Note that you will get comped for the day of the conference that you volunteer; in other words, if you work a 4-hour registration shift on Saturday, you will be comped for Saturday registration. In order to attend the whole weekend, please select two volunteer shifts. Pre- and post-conference shifts fill quickly; apply ASAP for those limited opportunities.


Schedule & Class Attendance

You will receive a confirmed arrival time upon acceptance into the program, and you will be expected to plan your travel accordingly. Most volunteers approach this as an opportunity for service and expect to work some of their shifts during class times. If you are overly concerned about specific class attendance, please choose a volunteer shift that has pre-conference & post-conference shifts, or come as a paying participant.


Working Your Shifts

Once your schedule and duties are given to you, it is up to you to show up for your shifts on time, and to complete your shift as asked. In the unfortunate event that you do not fulfill your shift, we may be obligated to cash your work trade deposit, or you may get blacklisted from the work exchange program.


Reimbursable Deposit Check

All work trade volunteers are required to submit reimbursable deposit checks for the total amount of their work trade (i.e., $70 for Friday, $74 for Saturday, $64 for Sunday, or $129 for both days). Reimbursable deposits will only be deposited if you do not complete your volunteer shift. The early bird discount does not apply to the deposit because if you do not show up for your shift, it will inconvenience us greatly, no matter how early you registered.



If you have been accepted into the volunteer program and need to cancel, your deposit and registrations are 100% refundable if you notify us before March 2nd, 2018 (the week before the conference). If you cancel after March 2nd, you will not receive a refund. Please do let us know, however, so we can fill your shifts.



To become a work trade volunteer, please 1) complete the volunteer application form and 2) send your deposit check within 10 business days to Organic Growers School c/o Volunteer Coordinator, PO Box 17804, Asheville, NC 28816. Please write the name of the work exchange volunteer somewhere on the check. We will confirm your work trade position with you after we receive your deposit check. You only need to complete a conference registration in addition to this form if you elect to attend paid workshops/classes.

Because we put so much effort into making our conference affordable and accessible, our volunteer program is extremely popular… so apply early! If work trade positions are full, we are happy to put you on a first-come first served wait-list of volunteers and moderators for week-of and day-of cancellations.

General volunteer shifts do not require special skills or backgrounds. They do, however, require timeliness and a friendly demeanor, so please bring those. The following are shift descriptions and time commitments.


Friday Set-Up


Bring your walking shoes and your can-do attitude! This shift involves prepping the exhibitor hall and classrooms for the conference the next day. This shift requires walking, lifting/moving furniture, and some patience!


Saturday and/or Sunday Conference Guide


Are you a people person who's good with a map? Maybe you're a UNCA student that knows the ins and outs of the campus! This is a great shift for you. Conference Guides are assigned to locations around campus to help guide conference goers toward classrooms and to answer questions. You'll be outside for your shift, so please be prepared for early-morning and uncertain mountain weather.


Saturday and/or Sunday Registration


This is a great shift for folks who are organized, detail-oriented, and have a knack for customer service. Assist our Registrar in setting up Registration and checking in conference goers. Please note some of the shift time is allotted for training.


Saturday and/or Sunday Cooking Track Assistant

8:30AM–1:00 PM or 2:00PM–6:00PM

Join our Cooking Track instructors at the head of the class to help with food prep, clean up, and by generally being a second pair of hands. Help pass out samples and prepare food!


Saturday and/or Sunday Floater

7:00AM–11:00AM or 1:30PM–5:30PM

We like to be prepared for the unexpected! That's where the Floaters come in. You'll hang out in Conference Headquarters to lend us a hand as needed. This could include running errands, helping instructors set up, checking in on the kids program, or stepping into other volunteer shifts. It's also possible that we won't need you, so bring a book!


Saturday Evening Social


These volunteers will help set up for the social, sell raffle tickets and pizza, and help to clean up. You may also help to serve beer, so please be at least 21 years old.


Saturday and Sunday Lunch


Help conference goers navigate the lunch lines and hand out menus. This shift is good for folks with loud voices as there will be lots of chatting and connecting in line around you. Because the Lunch shift is only two hours, volunteers must work both the Saturday & Sunday lunch to earn a one-day pass.


Saturday and/or Sunday Clean-Up


This shift is great because it does not require volunteers to miss any classes to fulfill their shift. Clean up involves walking and moving furniture, taking down signs, and basically erasing our footprint from the campus grounds and classrooms! Bring your patience as there are lots of you with limited staff giving direction! We will also need someone to follow an OGS staff member back to the office to stash supplies, so let us know if you have a truck and are willing to use it.

A Specialty Volunteer shift requires having a particular skill set or training in order to be able to volunteer. For example, in the case of First Aid Volunteer, we will ask you to provide us with a copy of your WFR or CPR certification for our records. The following are shift descriptions and time commitments:



***All Marketing shifts are full***

10 hours in January or February 2018

We need help from a couple people who aren't shy and can reach out to other organizations. You should be familiar with marketing to work with OGS staff to promote the Spring Conference 60-90 days before the event. 10 hours of marketing gives you a free pass to the general conference for both Saturday and Sunday. We'll contact you with details. Tasks could include, but are not limited to: facebook and instagram advertising, blog writing, and flyering.


Sign Set-Up & Break-Down

Do you have a truck and are good with maps? Maybe you're a student at UNCA and know the campus really well? We need assistance setting up road signage both at UNCA and at our satellite locations. 2 hours of set-up would start Thursday evening, and 2 hours of break down would happen Sunday afternoon.


Friday Pre-Conference Assistant—THIS SHIFT ONLY GETS YOU INTO THE PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOP, not the general conference

***All Friday Pre-Conference Assistant shifts are full***


We need an assistant to arrive at each of the pre-conference sites early on Friday to help guide pre-conference goers towards appropriate parking lots and classrooms, help instructors get set up, and help coordinate lunch breaks. In exchange for your general support with the workshop, you will be able to attend that pre-conference workshop for free. Please note that this shift ONLY covers you for the pre-conference workshop tuition, not the weekend conference tuition. Please indicate your other volunteer shift preferences on your form and in your form comments if you'd like to attend the weekend conference as a volunteer.


Saturday and/or Sunday First Aid

8:30AM–12:30PM or 1:30PM–5:30PM

Are you a nurse, WFR, or EMT? We need your skills and background at the First Aid Station! First Aid Volunteers work under the First Aid Coordinator and will spend their shifts in the First Aid Station adjacent to Conference Headquarters unless called to another location on campus.


Saturday and/or Sunday AV Tech


If you know your way around an LCD projector & computer, this is a great shift for you. AV Tech Hands will be free to attend classes during their shifts but must provide a reliable cell phone number where they can be reached throughout the day as needed. You must be prepared to quickly get to wherever you are needed on campus. You'll be someone's hero, though, when you get a presentation to show up correctly!


Saturday and/or Sunday Headquarters Assistant

6:00AM–10:00AM or 12:00PM–4:00PM

Work with Conference Headquarters on Saturday and/or Sunday morning. Assist in checking in volunteers, speakers, and VIP's. Previous experience in the service industry is essential here. This is a great shift for well-organized folks who can move quickly first thing in the morning!


Data Entry

***All Data Entry shifts are full***

10 hours to be completed from March 13–31, 2018

Are you a detail-oriented person with some free time on your hands? We care about receiving feedback from our conference goers and need your help organizing that feedback. We will give you a portion of our written surveys and train you in helping us transfer that information into our online database. Must have a personal computer with internet capabilities and some patience for reading other people's' handwriting! 10 hours of data entry after the conference before the end of March gives you a free pass to the general conference for both Saturday and Sunday. We'll contact you with details.

Moderators are a select group of trusted individuals who have the opportunity to work closely with conference staff & teachers. Moderators are selected by Organic Growers School and are often personally invited to take on extra responsibility managing the sessions of a specific track. Moderators commit to volunteering in one specific track for one full day, or for the whole weekend. Please note that a full day of moderating gets you in to the conference ONLY on the day you are moderating. You can choose to moderate different tracks on each day, or choose a 4-hour volunteer shift for the day you are not moderating. Please indicate your track preferences on the moderator application.

If you indicate that you wish to be a Moderator on your initial application and have not moderated before, please be sure to let us know your second and third work trade choices, in case you are not accepted as a moderator. If you are interested in getting a reference to be recommended as a moderator, please email Sera Deva at farmer-programs@organicgrowersschool.org.

One moderator is needed per each pre-conference class, conference track, and half-day workshop.


Time Commitments

Weekend moderators are asked to attend a Friday Moderator Training at UNCA from 6:00–7:00PM in Karpen 244 (second floor, facing the quad) with Karin and Sera. The training will cover what we expect from our moderators, as well as a crash course in using a Smart Classroom.

Friday Pre-Conference Moderators: Friday, March 9, 9:15AM–4:45PM. Please do not apply to be a pre-conference moderator unless you have moderated with OGS before. You will need to pick up your moderator packet at the OGS office before Friday, March 9.

Saturday Moderators: 8:45AM–12:30PM, 1:45–5:30PM (lunch provided.)

Sunday Moderators: 8:45AM–12:30PM, 1:45–5:30PM (lunch provided.)


Moderator Qualities

  • Leadership
  • Responsibility
  • Clear Communication
  • Ability to Say No
  • Personable
  • Timely
  • Comfortable speaking in front of crowds
  • Professional


Moderator Duties

Moderating is a VERY IMPORTANT job. You represent OGS and are our eyes and ears in the classrooms. And you ensure that everything is running smoothly. Thanks for taking your job seriously, as it makes for a better event for everyone!

Door Monitor: Before your track begins, stand at the door and make sure that everyone entering has a wrist band. If someone does not have a wristband, please send them to Conference Headquarters.

Announcements: Make any needed initial classroom announcements, including introducing the topic and speaker and any housekeeping items, etc.

Take Attendance & Fill out an Evaluation: This is very important because it lets us know how popular the classes were. “Attendance” in this case just means counting all the participants; we ask the moderators to fill out evaluations of the speakers and content at the end of every class. Your feedback is essential!

Classroom Setup, Management & Troubleshooting: You will manage the flow of chairs, people, and space. Make seating suggestions, move chairs around, and assure that the classroom is comfortable (in temperature and atmosphere as well).

Facilitation during questioning for the speaker. Check with the speaker to find out if they’d prefer to have questions throughout the class or a time towards the end specifically as a questions/answer session.

Time Management: Ask the teacher how they would prefer help with time management and give them appropriate signals at halfway, 30 minutes left, 10 minutes left and time.

Questions about volunteering? Please contact Liz Hunnicutt, Conference Associate registration@organicgrowersschool.org