California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)

About the California Department of Food and Agriculture:

The mission of the California Department of Food and Agriculture is to serve the citizens of California by promoting and protecting a safe, healthy food supply, and enhancing local and global agricultural trade, through efficient management, innovation and sound science, with a commitment to environmental stewardship.

Our vision is that we be recognized as the most highly respected agricultural agency in the world by leading and excelling in the programs and services delivered to meet the needs for the growing local and global food and agricultural system.

CDFA is a cabinet-level department led by Secretary Karen Ross and headquartered in Sacramento. Interns would work with CDFA executive leadership to tackle emergent issues affecting agriculture, such as climate change, racial equity, sustainable pest management, food security, and more. Activities would include longer-term projects as well as short-term research assignments. Interns will gain skills and knowledge around public processes such as budgeting, program design, stakeholder engagement, policymaking, and communications. 

Position Description:

  • Work with executive-level staff to advance first-of-a-kind programs and policy initiatives 
  • Participate in interdisciplinary, cross-cutting state initiatives
  • Obtain experience working at the intersection of science, policy, and management

Potential Projects:

  • Help create the first ever climate resilience strategy for California agriculture  
  • Review grant proposals for the Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation and  the Office of Farm to Fork 
  • Conduct analyses of state bills related to climate and working lands 

Desired Qualifications/Skills:

  • Interest and ability to work on a team 
  • Experience or interest in learning more about interest-based stakeholder processes 
  • Strong communication, interpersonal and leadership skills
  • Ability to think critically and develop innovative ideas
  • Ability to manage multiple projects with tight deadlines
  • Ability to understand and translate science for diverse audiences
  • Ability to work effectively in a team and independently


  • This opportunity will be fully in-person or hybrid with 2-3 days per week in-person at the CDFA office in Sacramento, CA.
  • EPIC fellows have the option to work full-time (35+ hours per week) for 10 weeks (stipend: $7,500-$9,000, depending on financial need) or 12 weeks (stipend: $9,000-$10,500, depending on financial need) over the summer.

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