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.

Please read the text in the toggles below THOROUGHLY before applying so you know what you’re signing up for.

The Exchange

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 Pre-Conference Workshops on Friday, $74 for Saturday, $64 for Sunday, $129 for Saturday & Sunday, or $199 for Friday, Saturday & Sunday). 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 1st, 2019 (the week before the conference). If you cancel after March 1st, 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 Shifts

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.


1:30 – 5:30PM or 3:00 – 7:00PM or 5:00 – 9:00PM

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!


Breakfast Runner (THIS SHIFT IS FULL FOR 2019!)

Like the smell of coffee in the morning? Come in early to assist our food vendors getting set up. Help deliver breakfast to staff and speakers and set up the speaker lounge. Bonus, end early and get to attend early morning classes!


5:30 PM–9:30 PM

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.


Cooking Track Assistant (THIS SHIFT IS FULL FOR 2019!)
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! You are responsible for cleaning up the classroom at the end of each class. Please note this shift is now FULL.


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, or stepping into other volunteer shifts. It’s also possible that we won’t need you, so bring a book!


6:00 AM–10:00 AM

Are you a people person who’s good with a map? Maybe you’re a Mars Hill University 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.



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. Please note this is a split shift that gets you in to one day of the conference; in order to get into the other day, you must sign up for another volunteer shift.


Parking (THIS SHIFT IS FULL FOR 2019!)
6:00 AM–10:00 AM

Are you a people person who’s good with a map? Maybe you’re a morning person and want to be sure to motivate yourself to get to morning classes. This is a great shift for you. Parking guides will help guide folks to appropriate locations as they enter the campus. Bonus, once the flow of traffic stops you’re free to go enjoy classes! 1 parking person will be assigned to checking shuttle reservations at a determined location in Asheville.


Registration (THIS SHIFT IS FULL FOR 2019!)

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.



These volunteers will help set up for the social, sell raffle tickets and pizza, and help to clean up.

Specialty Shifts

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.


AV Tech
8:30 AM–5:30 PM

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! In exchange for being on-call and available during class times as needed on Saturday or Sunday, you will get a pass for that day to the conference.


Data Entry (THIS SHIFT IS FULL FOR 2019!)
10 hours, post-event

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! We’ll contact you with details on scheduling the training after the event. Please note your deposit will not be reimbursed until after completeing your hours. 10 hours of data entry after the conference before March 31st, 2019 gives you a free pass to the general conference for both Saturday and Sunday.


Delivery Driver (THIS SHIFT IS FULL FOR 2019!)
8 hours, pre-event

We need folks who have reliable transportation and are familiar with Asheville who are willing to drive around a pick up donations that have been solicited by OGS staff. This can include food or items for the raffle. You will be provided a list of locations and items for pickup in advance for you to plan accordingly. Must have a flexible schedule the week of March 1-8th, 2019 and be available for approximately 8 hours. You will receive a full weekend pass in exchange for your time. Please only apply to this shift if you have reliable transportation and a flexible schedule the week of March 1-8. PLEASE NOTE THIS SHIFT IS NOW FULL FOR OUR 2019 CONFERENCE. 


Half Day Workshop Assistant
8:30 AM–6:30 PM

Like getting your hands dirty? Help out with Half Day Workshops! You will be responsible for setup/clean up and general assistance of the Half Day Workshops — please note you will need to sign up to help on BOTH a Morning and an Afternoon Half Day Workshop. This is in exchange for a one day pass, the same day that you are volunteering.

Here are the Half Days we need help for in 2019:

  • Vegetable Ferments w/Marissa Percoco
  • Grow Your Own Mushrooms w/William Padilla-Brown
  • Beginning Cheese Making w/Christina Gordon
  • Equipment Operation & Maintenance for Women w/Meagan Coneybeer Roberts


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!


First Aid (THIS SHIFT IS FULL FOR 2019!)
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.


10 hours, pre-event

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. We’ll contact you with details. Tasks could include, but are not limited to: Facebook and Instagram advertising, blog writing, and flyering. 10 hours of marketing time gives you a free pass to the general conference for both Saturday and Sunday. 


Pre-Conference Assistant

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 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 for an additional exchange. Please note this shift only gets you into the Pre-Conference Workshop you are assisting, and not the general conference.


3:00PM-5:00PM on Thursday OR Friday, and 4:00PM-6:00PM Sunday

Do you have a truck and are good with maps? Maybe you’re a student at Mars Hill University and know the campus really well? We need assistance setting up road signage both at Mars Hill University and at our satellite Pre-Conference locations. 2 hours of set-up would start Thursday or Friday evening, and 2 hours of break down would happen Sunday afternoon. Only apply if you have reliable transportation and are available Thursday and/or Friday evenings, as well as Sunday afternoon. Please note this is a split shift that gets you in to one day of the conference; in order to get into the other day, you must sign up for another volunteer shift.


Moderators are a select group of trusted individuals who have the opportunity to work closely with conference staff & teachers.  As a moderator, you commit to volunteering in one 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 also get catered lunch 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.

We welcome folks who have moderated before, or who are prepared to be in a support role the whole day, and who have strong organizational and interpersonal skills. If you have never moderated before and have questions about whether you’re a good fit for the role, please email the Volunteer Coordinator at registration@organicgrowersschool.org.

One moderator is needed per each Pre-conference Workshop, Weekend Track, and Half Day Workshop (please note, you must Moderate for BOTH a Morning and an Afternoon slot if you are Moderating for Half Day Workshops.)

Moderator Time Commitment

Weekend moderators are asked to attend a MANDATORY Friday, March 8th, 2019 Moderator Training at Mars Hill University from 6:00–7:00PM. This is particularly important this year, with our change in venues. If you cannot make this training, YOU CANNOT MODERATE! 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 8th, 9:15AM–4:45PM. You will need to pick up your moderator packet at the OGS office before Friday, March 8th.

Saturday Moderators: 8:45AM–12:30PM, 2:15–6:15PM (lunch provided.)

Sunday Moderators: 8:45AM–12:30PM, 2:15–6:15PM (lunch provided.)

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: 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.
Full Weekend Schedule

It’s important you take your class preferences into account when scheduling yourself for a volunteer shift! View the Spring Conference schedule as a PDF.

Questions about volunteering? Please contact our Conference Associate registration@organicgrowersschool.org