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Program Manager Retreat Farm

  • Date Posted April 09, 2021
  • Location Brattleboro, VT
  • Category Agriculture / Education
  • Job type Full-Time
Company description

Established in 1837, the original Retreat Farm was a working and therapeutic farm serving patients at the nearby Brattleboro Retreat. A prominent feature of the region for 180 years, the Farm today encompasses 500 acres of conserved forests, farmlands, trails, and waterways, and an historic nine-structure Farmstead. Retreat Farm sits adjacent to downtown Brattleboro, a gateway to Vermont and the geographic center of New York and New England.  

The nonprofit Retreat Farm, Ltd. was formed in 2015 to restore the lands and structures and establish a vibrant program of education, stewardship, and community gatherings. By connecting people to the land and one another, Retreat Farm is helping to ensure a healthy future for the region.

By creating a place that shares the joys of farming and healthy food, meaningful experiences in nature, and cultural celebrations that bring people together, we are strengthening the physical health of individuals, the social bonds of families and communities, and the economic vitality of the region. In everything we do, we strive to create nourishing, authentic opportunities to learn, play, and grow — strengthening our community ties and fostering a deep appreciation of the land, farmers, and animals that nourish us.

We believe that employees from diverse backgrounds are critical to achieving our goals. We seek to recruit, develop, and retain staff who reflect the diverse communities we serve.  All candidates who meet the qualification requirements are encouraged to apply.

Retreat Farm is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, ethnic or national origin, citizenship, age, disability, marital status or sexual orientation.

Job description


Retreat Farm works to foster an equitable, healthy, and sustainable community in southern Vermont.  We’re seeking a hard-working and enthusiastic individual to help grow our farm, forest, and education programs. This position helps with a wide range of responsibilities across our farm, education, and food access programs. This summer, the Program Manager will manage and support a pilot Youth Work program, leading and teaching a work crew of young adults engaged in farm, garden, trail, and landscaping projects.

This is a full-time, permanent, salaried position that requires a flexible schedule and the ability to work one weekend day per week at some times of year. 


Retreat Farm Ltd. has stewarded this historic property since 2015, and over that time we have developed a farm-based education program (Children’s Farm and Forest), a community events program (Food Truck Roundup and many other events), and a diversified farm focused on land stewardship and education. In the face of the pandemic, we launched the Community Food Project (CFP), a food access and education program that fed approximately 65 families every week from March until October 2020, as well as donating produce, meat, and other farm products to the Vermont Foodbank and several community partners. We grew 2 acres of Field Crops, planted fruit trees and berry bushes to establish a future Orchard-For-All,  built the educational Hope Garden, and hosted the 2nd year of our Community Garden. We also built and piloted a new Pay-What-You-Can Farmstand, which will operate in 2021. These efforts represent a significant expansion of our working farm, and a growing commitment to developing empowering and creative ways for our whole community to access healthy food.

In 2021, we will launch the Youth Work program in collaboration with the Department of Labor.  We will also start to re-launch some of the programs that were put on hold in the pandemic by piloting a series of smaller, covid-safe events and reopening for school field trips in a limited capacity in the fall and/or winter. The Program Manager will be an integral part of building and offering a wide range of farm-based education programming that serves the whole community. 


Specific Duties and Responsibilities


    • Lead, manage, and educate crew of up to 12 Youth Work participants to maximize their successful leadership and workforce skill development
      • Work week will be 8am to 4pm, Monday - Thursday for the 12 week program period, with Friday as a planning and prep day for the following week
      • The Program Manager will be responsible for supervising and facilitating the crew for their full work day and providing leadership and mentoring to maximize the participant’s success
      • The Program Manager will lead trail, farm, garden, and landscaping work projects in collaboration with the farm, program, and facilities teams
  • Assist with leading school field trips in Fall 2021/Spring 2022
  • Lead year-round school programs including Saint Michael Middle School Program, Winter Sports, and others


  • Lead Youth Work crews in engaging with growing operation and Wednesday harvests 
  • Planting, watering, weeding, mulching, trellising, pest control, harvesting
  • Assist with Community Garden and Free Pick-Your-Own beds
  • Work with teams of junior staff and volunteers to achieve objectives while ensuring their needs are met and they have fun
  • Help out with all aspects of food distribution, including Pay-what-you-can Farmstand, Free Food Program, Vermont Foodbank Gleaning Program, and Summer Meals

Pasture Management 

  • Work with Farm Director and Associate Farm Director to develop and implement rotational grazing plan for 2021 and to engage Youth Work participants in pasture management

Animal Care and Husbandry

  • This position will include 2-3 days per week of animal chores, barn cleaning, and farm support from November - April when most education programs are not running
  • Assist with animal husbandry: trimming hooves, assisting with births,  and other tasks as needed


  • Help with Forest Playground safety audits, staff work days, and building recreational features in and around the forest playground
  • Assist team with forest stewardship, invasives management, and land reclamation projects as needed
  • Work with team to develop educational maple sugaring operation

Required Attributes/Experience

Flexibility, enthusiasm, curiosity, patience, and a sense of humor 

Interest in sustainable/regenerative agriculture practices and comfort with a range of farm practices

Maple sugaring experience or willingness to learn

Comfort working around livestock or willingness to learn

Passion for food justice, ecological stewardship, and education

Ability to work long physical hours and lift 50lbs repeatedly without strain

Preferred Attributes/Experience

Ability to safely run and maintain chainsaw, string trimmer, and brush saw  

Experience with tractors and mobile (electro-net) fencing 

Scrappy, self-motivated, entrepreneurial, and willing to learn on-the-go

Some formal experiential/outdoor education work experience a plus

Working Conditions

Combination of indoor and outdoor work with varied weather conditions and mask wearing/ proper hygiene requirements

We believe that employees from diverse backgrounds are critical to achieving our goals. We seek to recruit, develop, and retain staff who reflect the diverse communities we serve.  All candidates who meet the qualification requirements are encouraged to apply.

Compensation this position is : salaried, 35k-50k Application instructions
this position has been filled
DeadlineJune 01, 2021

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