Sharon James – 4-Directions Development

Name: Sharon James

Organization: 4-Directions Development


Phone: 218-849-4252

Address: P.O. Box 1020, Red Lake, MN 56671

1. How do you help your community?

We are a nonprofit providing entrepreneurship development for the Red Lake Nation. We work specifically with education, technical assistance, financing, and commercial development. We also have a focus on artist development and farmer development for the ag industry.

2. How do you hope an intern will contribute through the Niizhoo-gwakochigewin program to helping your community?

We have a diverse opportunity to share learning in the areas of entrepreneurship, the arts, and food sovereignty.  If the following food sovereignty project is not selected, we can also do an internship in either the entrepreneurial or arts arena.

Our Project Grow program assists individual households with growing a family garden; with a future goal of finding those interested in becoming a farmer. We have found many gardens not producing well due to depletion of minerals in their garden soil. This year we will be looking at providing organic soil amendments to improve the quality of their soil. We will also provide each household with growing information and provide community training sessions on gardening.

3. How will you contribute to the education of your intern?

We have extensive tools the intern could learn with; our Training Garden, development of a Farm Incubator, a high tunnel, a greenhouse, a pollinator garden, and our training workshops.  We also have staff that have been working with our foods system development since 2016, who will share their knowledge and experiences.

The intern will also have the opportunity to interact and learn from community members on traditional gardening, the Ojibwe culture, and working with diversity.

4. List some responsibilities that an intern might do/projects they might work on.

They will assist with data collection as we continue to update our participating household information; and will assist with creating and sharing gardening and farming information with those participating households.  Do a couple follow ups with participating households by email, mail, phone or site visit to gather data and obtain feedback.    

Assist Foods Business Developer with implementing our soil amendment plan for each of the household gardens, and monitoring and documenting the impact of those amendments.

Assist with the Gardening Contest; gathering data on harvest counts and before and after picture documentation. 

5. Is there anything an intern should know before working with you? (transportation needs, heavy lifting, allergies, specific technical background (ex. GIS), etc.)

Must be able to work on computer; and Microsoft Office, Excel, and willing to document your time and activities.

There will be work outside, working with garden soil, may need to lift and/or carry 40 or 50 pounds. Gardening is labor intensive, so some manual labor may be needed; such as shoveling and raking.  Please make us aware of any allergies.  Transportation is needed for house to house interaction, but we can provide if needed.

Must continue to maintain safe distancing and safe practices as recommended for COVID-19.