Community Farm Program Associate
Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) is an established land trust serving a 10-county region in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. Since 1974, we have conserved more than 75,000 acres of the region’s unique plant and animal habitat, clean water, farmland, scenic beauty and places for people to enjoy outdoor recreation.
SAHC’s Community Farm & Food Program provides access to land, livelihood & learning for beginning and established farmers . A key element of the Program is SAHC’s 140-acre Community Farm in Alexander, NC where we lead an innovative incubator program for aspiring farmers; ongoing educational workshops about sustainable and productive farming practices and land management; a value-added kitchen for regional farmers to expand market season and profitability for their farm businesses; a discovery trail for visitors to learn about best management practices for environmental stewardship and agriculture; and a short-leaf pine restoration project.
The Community Farm Program Associate is a full-time (32-hour/week) exempt position with benefits.
The Associate works closely with the Community Farm Manager and other SAHC staff and partners to advance and support SAHC’s Community Farm programs. The position is supervised by the Community Farm Manager, with work locations on the SAHC Community Farm in Alexander NC and SAHC’s office near downtown Asheville.
Under the direct supervision by the Community Farm Manager, the Associate works collaboratively to implement and expand SAHC Community Farm program goals including:
Farmer Incubator Program
Assist and lead in improving and repairing farm infrastructure, and support expanding the 3-10 year mentor farmer program. Examples of tasks:
- Assist in weekly meetings with incubator farmers to ensure their needs/requests/successes and challenges are heard and integrated into the workflow and ultimately program.
- Irrigation maintenance and repair: Main water lines that feed all vegetable production fields and livestock watering tanks.
- Build Good Agricultural Practice certified root washing tables in order to expand root crop production.
- Support incubator farmers with helping install/repair and conserve irrigation lines.
- Take yearly soil and water samples for testing.
- Assist in maintenance of equipment, facilities, and vegetation at the SAHC Community Farm, including:
- Install structure within the barns for curing of farm products
- Help construct hoop house structures for mentor farmers.
- Help construct walk-in cooler.
- Research and support farm production related construction projects.
- Mow/bush hog/weed-eat to maintain appearance and vegetation of farm. This will include checking for downed trees, keeping fence lined and trails maintained and cleared.
- Assist in forest management and management of invasive plant species.
Farmer Educational Workshop Series
Assist with and support the Director with planning and implementation of 10-15 Farm Educational Workshops for new/expanding farmers demonstrating best practices for small farm operations.
- Communications and marketing of workshop series.
- Monitoring of attendee sign-ups and communication.
- Setup for the workshop to be successful.
- Ensure evaluations are filled out and submitted for workshop program tracking and monitoring.
- Assist Director with analyzing and synthesizing measurement results
- Adapt and improve evaluations and programming as needed.
Outreach and Communications
- Assess challenges and find solutions to connecting school groups and diverse community groups with the Farm.
- Lead tours of diverse visitor groups on the Farm.
- Share the history of SAHC and the Community Farm.
- Update social media sites, e-newsletter and blog posts to keep the community, members and supporters up to date on what is happening at the Community Farm.
- Support Director with marketing material creation, advertisement and distribution.
- Update databases and incubator farmer resource pages.
- Collect, organize and input program data for evaluation and tracking.
- Write articles and blog posts with cross-posting to social media accounts.
- Assist with research for funding opportunities.
- Share best practices and lessons learned with all stakeholders via written reports and infographics, partner sharing.
- Keep farmer participant & legal forms, library and office space organized and stocked.
- Update incubator farmer forms and program documents yearly.
- Research program designs and collaborate with the National Incubator Farmer Training Initiative for third party program evaluation and assessment of national standards and trends.
- Help visitors feel connected to the projects on the property.
Volunteer Engagement. Recruit and organize volunteers from various agencies, schools, non-profits, and clubs, and lead volunteer days on a broad range of farm projects, including trail building & maintenance, invasive species removal, food harvest & gleaning, tree work, plantings and building.
Value-Added Kitchen Program. Support Value-Added Kitchen programming and management to expand market season and profitability for farm businesses.
- Assist with monthly food safety classes and online scheduling of those classes.
- Support new users with an orientation to kitchen resources.
- Conduct kitchen-related workshops integrated into our educational workshop series.
- Ensure yearly meetings with NCDA and USDA are schedule and equipment maintenance and permitting is completed.
- Coordinate online scheduling, process oversight, and co-teaching support.
Work cooperatively with, and maintain good communications with other staff, AmeriCorps and Board members. Assist with functions and events as needed.
Other duties as assigned.
- Background in conservation/environmental education, agriculture, and conservation.
- Two or more years of professional non-profit and sustainable agriculture-related experience, preferably with experience in a variety of farm operations.
- Experience working with youth groups, after-school programs, and community centers
- Grant-seeking and writing skills.
- Experience working with youth groups.
- Experience leading volunteers.
- Experience leading agricultural or environmental education preferred.
- Strong verbal and written communication skills, including public speaking. Ability to communicate effectively with diverse groups of people, organizations, and agencies.
- Ability and commitment to maintain confidentiality.
- Ability to travel and willingness to attend evening/weekend meetings and events.
- Valid driver’s license required with acceptable DMV record. Experience driving off-road helpful.
DESIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:
- Familiarity with farms and best management practices desired
- Experience with Instagram and other social media platforms desired
- Trail building and maintenance experience helpful
- Chainsaw and tractor experience
- Farm equipment experience and maintenance
- Trail building experience and maintenance
- Tact and strong diplomacy skills. Talent for maintaining forward momentum in delicate situations and developing relationships with diverse background and world views.
- Desire and talent for working as part of a team. Enthusiastic, creative, self-motivated individual able to work with and motivate co-workers and volunteers.
- Persistence, sense of humor, and entrepreneurial spirit. Ability to balance and pursue multiple projects simultaneously. High tolerance for meeting competing demands efficiently, without becoming flustered.
The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this position. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. All personnel may be required to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed.
JOB CATEGORY: Full-Time Exempt (32 hours/week)
SALARY: Salary range in the upper $20,000s. SAHC provides a competitive salary and benefits package to full-time employees. Full benefits including health insurance, retirement, paid time off, and personal/family leave.
Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume with salary history or salary requirements, and 3 professional references to Chris Link – firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “Community Farm Associate” in subject line. No phone calls please. Open until filled. SAHC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.