Minnesota – Hmong American Farmers Association hiring Packing Assistant

Vermillion Township, Minnesota

Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA)

COMPENSATION: Approximately 30hrs/wk $12/hr.

SUPERVISOR: HAFA Alternative Markets Program (AMP) Organizers

DURATION: Seasonal, June – November, optional extension dependent on labor needs

DEADLINE: Accepting applications until position is filled. Priority deadline is Friday, April 28.

 HAFA is hiring an entry level packing assistant to start June 1, 2017. The Packing Assistant will report to the HAFA Food Hub Managers and work on the HAFA Farm, a 155 acre incubator and research vegetable farm located in Vermillion Township, Minnesota (about 25 minutes south of St. Paul on Hwy 52). This position is a valuable opportunity for anyone hoping to gain first-hand experience with an innovative approach to cooperative farming and marketing, strengthening the Twin Cities metro’s local food system, and ultimately building community wealth.

The Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) is a membership based nonprofit organization that works with Hmong American farmers in and around the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Our mission is to advance the economic, social and cultural prosperity of our member farm families. Many Hmong farmers face numerous obstacles to success including lack of access to land, capital, training and access to markets other than the farmers’ market system. Through cooperation, education, and advocacy, HAFA works with Hmong farmers and their families to not only income generation, but true wealth creation in their communities.

HAFA’s Alternative Markets Program (AMP) is responsible for helping HAFA farmers access new, larger markets outside of the farmers market system. To do this we run a food hub which aggregates, markets, and sells produce to CSA members, retailers, schools, and other institutions in the Twin Cities metro area.

Job Responsibilities

  • Assist in all aspects of food hub operations, but especially relating to post harvest handling
  • Tasks will regularly include intake and tracking of produce from farmers, sorting and packing produce for our CSA and wholesale orders, organizing boxes for delivery, loading trucks, and maintaining the wash and packing facility according to AMP food safety standards
  • You may also at times be asked to assist in harvesting and washing produce, facility maintenance, education / outreach programing, and more
  • Help to ensure that the shared wash, pack, and storage facility is used and maintained by farmers in accordance with the AMP food safety plan
  • Assist us in the forever-ongoing development of our best practices for post-harvest and food hub operation
  • Communicate with Hmong farmers on several tasks and orders
  • Additional opportunities available to take part in our innovative farmer training program and onsite agricultural research

Expectations and Requirements

HAFA post-harvest assistant is expected to:

  • Have their High School Diploma or GED
  • Have their updated Driver’s License
  • Work approximately 30 hours per week on a number of assigned activities
  • Have reliable transportation to the farm located in Hastings
  • Arrive to work on time, and complete assignments well and efficiently
  • Conduct yourself respectfully and professionally with fellow colleagues and farmers
  • Take your role as a food handler seriously and always be mindful of food safety risks
  • While we do our best to ensure comfortable work conditions, you will be required to work on your feet in variety of weather conditions
  • Upon hiring, must pass a background check

Desired Experience, Abilities, and Qualities

  • Driven and hardworking individual with a passion for agriculture and food
  • Capable of keeping up a rapid work speed without losing sight of the bigger picture
  • Strong work ethic with the ability to take initiative, and maximize efficiency
  • Demonstrated ability to work well independently and as a member of a team
  • Must be able to comfortably and repeatedly lift 50lbs from ground to table or chest height
  • Must have strong communications skills
  • Must be proficient with basic computer skills including email, spreadsheets, and word processing
  • Prefer applicants with experience in mixed vegetable agriculture, especially post-harvest, or other relevant experience with fresh produce and/or food handling
  • Prefer applicants with intermediate to advance Hmong language skills and cultural understanding
  • Prefer applicants with BA degree or who is currently working towards a degree. Comparable relevant work experience is considered in lieu of a formal degree.
  • If you have experience, qualities, or knowledge that you that you think make you a strong applicant but are not listed above please feel free to include these in your application.

If interested, please send your resume, cover letter, and 3 references to: Mat Krisetya at mat@hmongfarmers.com Please put “Post-Harvest Assistant Application” in the subject line.