Cultivating Community hiring Food Hub Manager and Educator

Portland, Maine

Founded in 2001, Cultivating Community creates and sustains greater access to healthy, local foods; empowers people to play many roles in restoring the local, sustainable food system; and models, teaches, and advocates for ecological food production. Since 2009, we’ve led the New American Sustainable Agriculture Project to support refugees and immigrants in creating farm businesses. Formally launched in 2014, the Fresh Start Farms Food Hub serves project participants and graduates to  better access markets, and includes a 200+ member CSA and wholesale aggregation and distribution.

Cultivating Community values community-directed efforts and exchanges of ideas where everyone is both a learner and a teacher. We view access to food as a fundamental human right, and we focus on building bridges between communities through sustainable food production, commerce and equitable distribution. Our organization values diversity and inclusion, and strives to be an anti-racist organization.

Position Summary

The Food Hub Manager & Educator is responsible for two key areas of programming with our New American farming program: the overall development of our Food Hub sales and distribution; and providing core services to our training program to complement and support our marketing initiatives. Our staff work in a collaborative leadership environment where effective teamwork and shared accountability is key. In addition to overall oversight of the Fresh Start Farms Food Hub, s/he will partner with the Farm Manager and the rest of the project team to provide ongoing marketing, production, and farm management trainings, technical assistance in the field, and assistance with business plan development and general marketing support. Experience working with diverse populations, participatory adult education, substantial experience with diversified agricultural systems, and experience with CSA or wholesale management are necessary prerequisites for this position.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities – Food Hub Management (50%)

  • Develop and maintain productive working relationships with local residents, restaurants, universities, hospitals, food pantries, and other institutions for the purpose of marketing crops grown by NASAP farmers.
  • Work collaboratively with the Marketing Coordinator as s/he develops relationships and accounts with wholesale buyers and distributors. Integrate new or growing accounts and buyer commitments with individual producer production plans and balance sales growth with participant capacity to supply.
  • In partnership with NASAP team and with participating producers, set annual sales goals for the Fresh Start Farms Food Hub, including target goals for buyer types and target sales goals for individual participating producers. Monitor and assess progress toward goals.
  • Coordinate all aspects for the management of a multiproducer CSA, including crop planning and production plan development and midseason management, ordering, and midseason adjustments.
  • During the growing season, assess farmer fields for product availability and send weekly availability lists to wholesale buyers, maintaining personalized following up as appropriate with each buyer.
  • Translate weekly orders from wholesale buyers and product need for multiproducer CSA into orders from individual participating producers.
  • Oversee daily operations in the on-farm wash and pack station, including developing and sending product orders to individual producers; managing product quality control; overseeing general food safety compliance; adjusting and amending orders as necessary based on field conditions; overseeing and managing volunteers or interns; and ensuring timeliness and customer satisfaction for all deliveries.
  • Manage proper invoicing and sales records both for producers and end buyers.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities – Training & Education (40%)

  • In partnership with the project team, develop and deliver NASAP’s training programs, including delivering a series of off- season trainings on marketing and production for market gardeners and farmers.
  • Assist market gardeners who attended off- season marketing trainings to revise their farm production.
  • Support additional components of NASAP training activities such as on-farm trainings and workshops, farm visits and agricultural conferences. Example training topics: pest management, cover cropping, succession planting, irrigation, field planning, etc.
  • Provide one-on-one technical assistance to farmers. Example technical assistance topics: quality control, hands-on assistance in the field, developing point of sales materials, assisting with record keeping systems, seed ordering, supply sourcing, crop plan development, etc.
  • Link refugees to agricultural experts and other resources in the community. Assist participants in accessing community resources and social services that will enable them to better meet their farm business goals.
  • Develop and maintain positive working relationships with Maine farmers for the purposes of introducing project participants to Maine agriculture, cultivating mentoring, and creating educational opportunities for project participants.
  • Coordinate and document refugees’ participation in the NASAP program. Maintain a file for each participant.
  • Conduct intake interviews, annual meetings and agricultural skills assessments for new recruits and refer them to appropriate programs (community gardener or market gardener).

Other Duties & Responsibilities (10%)

  • Assist project evaluators with gathering information on the effectiveness of business planning teams, marketing, production, and education initiatives.
  • Maintain professional knowledge and skills by attending relevant workshops, training, and conferences. Review professional materials and literature.
  • Assist with developing grant proposals and reports as needed.
  • Provide support to the farm management team as needed during spring ramp-up.
  • Participation at staff meetings and other events as scheduled.
  • Performing other project related duties as required.

Qualifications & Experience

  • Minimum 3 years’ experience with production-scale diversified vegetable farming, preferably with increasing levels of farm or marketing responsibility.
  • Direct experience with developing and managing production plans for CSA and wholesale accounts.
  • Understanding of market demand, consumer preferences, and requirements of partners within the food system value chain.
  • Direct experience developing and managing complex on-the-ground operations.
  • Experience conducting training in grassroots communities, in cross-cultural environments and/or experience with participatory adult education.
  • Experience providing services and support to minority and disenfranchised communities, particularly refugee or other pre-literate/limited-literacy populations is desired. Understanding of language(s) beyond English a plus.
  • Excellent communications skills. Customer service orientation in developing buyer relationships for Fresh Start Farms.
  • Strong organization skills and ability to use programs such as Microsoft Publisher, Word, and Powerpoint to develop effective training materials.
  • Detail oriented and able to track orders and sales accurately, efficiently, and in a timely manner.
  • Work well independently and as part of a team.
  • Available to work a flexible schedule, including evenings and weekends.
  • Reliable transportation and valid driver’s license. A background check will be performed.

Location

Our offices are based in Portland, Maine. The majority of our trainings take place in Lewiston, Maine (a 45 minute drive) and our principal farm site is in Lisbon, Maine (10 minutes from Lewiston; 40 minutes from Portland). The program includes several smaller satellite sites in the Greater Portland area.

Compensation

This is a full time, benefits-eligible position. Cultivating Community offers a competitive benefits package of health insurance, generous paid time off, and other benefits. Salary range is $37,500-$39,500 DOE.

To apply, please email a cover letter and resume to Daniel Ungier, Program Director, at
daniel@cultivatingcommunity.org.

Applications must be received by Sunday, January 3rd.

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