Farm and Land Stewardship Manager Grow Food Northampton
- Date Posted November 28, 2023
- Location Northampton, MA
- Category Agriculture
- Job type Full-Time
Grow Food Northampton was founded in 2010 to create a racially, economically, and environmentally just local food system in the Northampton, Massachusetts area. We do this work along a public health continuum in order to both respond to the immediate needs of community members experiencing food insecurity by providing healthy, organic local farm foods to those in need, and to establish long-term, foundational solutions to food insecurity by providing land for farming, gardening, and climate resilience research, as well as education for children and adults.
Specifically, we do our work through three central aspects of programming: 1) land access and stewardship; 2) food access; and 3) community education by:
- Delivering and distributing no-cost, nutritious, and culturally relevant local farm foods to community members grappling with food insecurity and hunger;
- Producing year-round, weekly farmers markets to connect local farms directly with customers and to provide a venue for community members to access healthy local farm foods;
- Stewarding and offering productive, chemical-free, and sustainably-managed farmland to community gardeners, farmers, and researchers;
- Mobilizing community members to exchange knowledge about gardening, farming, and the building of a just local food system; and
- Dismantling oppressive systems and structures in our local food and agricultural systems and shifting power to community members most affected by food insecurity.
Our work is guided by the core values of community agency; environmental stewardship; and social, economic, and racial justice.
We own and steward the 121-acre organic Grow Food Northampton Community Farm where:
- Prioritizing farmers of color and others from communities marginalized and harmed by the conventional/industrial food system, we lease low- and no-cost farmland to 10 small farms (including four farms owned and operated by farmers of color, including a collective of 20 Somali Bantu refugee families);
- We run a 325-plot organic Community Garden for over 400 community members, more than 35% of whom utilize our Equitable Access Policy to receive subsidized or no-cost plots to grow food for themselves,their families, and their neighbors;
- We operate a Giving Garden that grows thousands of pounds of organic food annually for donation to local food pantries and community meal sites;
- We grow hundreds of edible plants and trees for community foraging;
- We conduct collaborative research projects with academics and others on sustainable and climate resilience-enhancing agricultural practices;
- We cultivate a native pollinator habitat that increases biodiversity for our region and feeds the bee hives on the Community Farm, along with other pollinators; and
- Provide extensive hands-on land- and food-based educational programming for learners of all ages, including workshops on the Pocumtuc and Nipmuc Indigenous Peoples and Northampton Association of Education and Industry abolitionist community that farmed the land before us.
- Conduct the Free Mobile Farmers Market project that supports local farms by buying their produce and delivering it for free to over 2,300 community members experiencing food insecurity, while also conducting healthy food knowledge and nutrition programming;
- Own and produce vibrant year-round farmers markets that offer over 35 local farms and other food vendors a venue to connect directly with customers so they can access nutrient-dense local produce and other local farm foods food all year long;
- Run a SNAP Match program to more than double the spending power of SNAP recipients on nutritious local farm products at our farmers markets;
- Offer no-cost Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares to SNAP recipients so they can receive weekly farm-fresh vegetables from Crimson and Clover, the "anchor farm" on the Grow Food Northampton Community Farm; and
- Ensure that all of our food access programming is guided and steered by our Food Access Advisory Committee and Participant-Staffers, individuals from communities marginalized and harmed by the conventional food system with lived experience of food insecurity.
November 20, 2023
Compensation: $23 - $27/hour; benefits include paid vacation; 401(k) matched up to 4%; and local food, technology, and professional development stipends
Deadline: By 5:00 p.m. on 1/3/24
Founded in 2010 and rooted in the values of racial, economic, and environmental justice, Grow Food Northampton (GFN) is a local food and farming justice organization serving the Northampton, MA area. GFN owns and stewards a Community Farm where we lease land to 10 farms practicing sustainable agriculture and manage an Organic Community Garden. We operate vibrant downtown farmers markets; grow and purchase local produce for distribution to people experiencing food insecurity; educate children and adults about the local food system through farm- and community-based workshops; and invite people of all incomes into the local food movement.
The GFN Community Farm sits on 121 acres of once Nipmuc and Pocumtuc Indigenous land — land that is now permanently protected as farmland. As the largest community farm in Massachusetts, we lease most of the land to small farms in amounts of less than an acre to as much as 60 acres, and for time periods from 1 to 99 years. We prioritize leasing land to farmers from communities marginalized and harmed, historically and currently, by the industrialized food system. Using a flexible and innovative approach to leases on land and infrastructure, we seek to address well-documented challenges in land access for farmers while striving for a mix of economically and environmentally compatible and sustainable farm operations. The Community Farm is also a place of vibrant community connection, host to hundreds of community gardeners, learners of all ages, researchers, and the general public.
Grow Food Northampton seeks a dynamic, creative, and collaborative Farm and Land Stewardship Manager to join our team. The Farm and Land Stewardship Manager is responsible for the overall success of Grow Food Northampton’s Community Farm. They will provide leadership, strategy, and vision for the Farm, steward all aspects of the land, work closely with farmer lessees, collaborate with fellow members of GFN’s staff to implement an array of farm-based programs, and engage with the community. By creating programs and processes that can help dismantle systems of racism and oppression in food production and land care, the Farm and Land Stewardship Manager will play a key role in helping GFN realize our vision to create a just and resilient local food system that nourishes our community and protects and enriches the earth.
Leadership, strategy, and vision:
Lead strategic thinking and visioning for the Farm in collaboration with other staff.
Represent and advocate for the Farm’s strategy and vision within GFN’s broader Strategic Plan and programming.
Implement and revise as necessary the existing 10-Year Farm Plan and other land-use policies. Lead the review of existing and the development of new plans and policies.
Coordinate and engage with Grow Food Northampton’s Site Advisory Committee, other advisors, and outside consultants.
Oversee legal and regulatory aspects of the farm, including APR and City of Northampton agreements.
Serve as point person and manage relationships with City of Northampton entities such as the Department of Planning and Sustainability, Conservation Commission, Community Preservation Committee, and others.
Programming and Community Engagement:
Organize and support community engagement on the Farm, including hosting volunteers, groups, and community work days with particular outreach to, and programming with, communities of color and others who are typically marginalized from leadership in food and land justice work.
Collaborate with other GFN staff members to support tours, visits, and field trips.
Interface with and represent Grow Food Northampton in the broader agricultural community; network with potential farmers and partners; recruit researchers for experimental agriculture projects that enhance climate resilience and adaptation.
Work with the Community Garden Manager to develop programs on sustainable growing for Community Gardeners.
Opportunity for regenerative and organic farming of the GFN Giving Garden.
Maintain non-leased areas, including edges, hedgerows, riparian buffer areas, paths, and public areas. Lead the planting and care of trees, shrubs, and edible hedgerows.
Develop and implement a plan for the management of invasive species.
Maintain infrastructure, tools, and equipment; e.g. the composting outhouse; farm tools; water pumps and irrigation infrastructure; buildings; and our tractor. Create systems and supervise shared use and maintenance among users.
Collaborate with the Community Garden manager to support the maintenance and care of the Organic Community Garden.
Collaborate with other staff members to develop paths to learning for the organization, and the community, about climate resilient land management, farming, and gardening.
Support the Education Manager to create and maintain educational resources and opportunities on the Farm, e.g. pathways, plantings, and learning areas.
Farmer relations and leasing:
Manage existing lease agreements, lead future search processes for lessees, and develop and cultivate positive working relationships with farmer lessees.
Support the success of farm lessees through the maintenance of shared infrastructure, connection to resources, and other ways as described in lease agreements.
Manage relationships with existing and new agricultural, gardening, and sustainability researchers and project partners.