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Farm Manager Homeless Garden Project

  • Date Posted February 09, 2024
  • Location Santa Cruz, CA
  • Category Agriculture / Business
  • Job type Full-Time
Company description

The Homeless Garden Project (HGP) is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1990 and based in Santa Cruz, California, that provides job training, transitional employment and support services to individuals experiencing homelessness, with the goal of securing stable housing and employment for program participants.  In recent years, HGP graduates have demonstrated a 90% success rate on average. 

The Value-Added Social Enterprise employs and trains individuals experiencing homelessness to make a variety of products (bath & body, food & beverage, candles, and wreaths) with organic herbs, flowers, vegetables, and fruits grown on our farm.  HGP products are sold through numerous sales channels including two brick-and-mortar stores, an online store (, and through wholesale partners. 

Job description Position: Homeless Garden Project Farm Manager

Hours: 40 hours/week, occasional weekends, holidays and evenings

Salary Range: $26.00/hour to $30.00/hour

Benefits: Health Benefits, 16 days paid vacation, ~8 days paid sick leave, 9 days paid holiday 

Reports to: Director of Operations

Area of Focus:  Organic Farming and Agriculture, Social Entrepreneurship, Homelessness, Job training, Community focus


HGP seeks an experienced and dedicated individual to lead management of the farm. We specifically seek an enthusiastic, outgoing and organized person skilled in agriculture, production, marketing, and building partnerships. The ideal candidate will also have a sincere commitment to ending homelessness and have experience working with individuals experiencing homelessness and/or mental health challenges. The Farm Manager will have overall responsibility to create and sustain the farm as an effective training site, and an economically robust farm with exemplary sustainable agriculture practices. The Farm Manager will have a focus on farm system and enterprise management, and programmatic support and education on the farm.

HGP is currently going through an exciting period of growth, preparing to move our farm from its temporary 3.5-acre site to a permanent expanded farm site.


Position Description

Under the general supervision of the Director of Operations, the Farm Manager collaborates with the Crop Production Manager to ensure organic production of agriculture crops and crops used in value-added production. The position manages the agricultural task delegation and education for our trainee crew (up to 25 employees) in coordination with the Training and Education Supervisor, and manages volunteer groups in coordination with the Volunteer Coordinator. In addition, the Farm Manager oversees all aspects of the farm business enterprise, including CSA program administration and sales channels, marketing, farm business planning, growth, and management. This position will play a lead role in envisioning the farm as our future permanent site.

Farm Production

  • In collaboration with the Crop Production Manager, manage all elements of farm production operations, including crop planning, sowing/planting/harvesting, irrigation, weed and pest management, soil fertility, and more.
    • Oversee farm budget, monitoring revenue goals and farm expenses.
    • Work with the Director of Operations to evaluate sales channels, set revenue goals, and consider growth opportunities.
    • Ensure that all necessary materials and supplies are acquired in a timely manner and all equipment is properly maintained and cared for.
    • Manage direct report - Weekend Farm Steward - to support farm operations.
    • Manage sales channels - overseeing all elements of CSA  and farm stand operations.
    • Develop and maintain relevant records necessary for measuring progress toward business goals; monitor progress and adjust accordingly. 
    • Oversee all applicable certification and license processes, such as CCOF.
    • Collaborate with the Crop Production Manager to create and maintain thorough and accurate farm operations including planting, weeding, watering and harvesting schedules; yields; ground prep; winterizing, pest management, soil fertility, & more.
    • Promote farm safety through regular training and safety assessments.
    • Coordinate with the Volunteer Coordinator to support farm volunteers, including individuals and large groups.
  • Coordinate with the Development Director and others to support special events held at the farm, which may utilize farm space and crops.
  • Work with the Value-Added Enterprise & Retail Manager to set and track value-added crop production goals.
  • Support the planning and development process for HGP’s permanent farm site.
  • Other related duties as necessary.

Training Program

  • Develop weekly and daily work plans for the trainee crew during the farm season.
  • Assist the Training & Education Supervisor in trainee supervision and management. 
  • Deliver training in horticulture skills through occasional farm demonstrations for the trainee crew.
  • Provide support and help facilitate the employment training program on the farm, enforcing the rules and policies of HGP, and providing support to help trainees meet personal goals.
  • Support and reinforce training in general work skills and behaviors, such as problem solving, communication and social skills.


  • Strong physical labor skills (e.g. sit, stand, bend, lift, walk, carry)
  • Strong knowledge and experience in organic agriculture methods; ideally in small scale mixed vegetable business models
  • Knowledge and experience in managing a farm business 
  • Demonstrated ability to make assignments and follow up on completion/evaluation
  • Demonstrated ability to both follow and give directions & seek assistance
  • Requires ability to work early morning hours, evening hours and weekends; in all weather conditions
  • Demonstrated ability to organize, delegate, give direction, monitor others
  • Demonstrated ability to operate farm equipment such as: tiller, mower


  • An academic degree or equivalent work experience horticulture and/or organic farming
  • Five years of very broad horticultural/agriculture experience
  • Experience supervising persons coping with difficult life challenges
  • Experience managing—or helping to manage—a small business
  • Ability to work successfully as part of a team
  • Leadership skills to inspire others to do their best, meets deadlines; and manages complex responsibilities without losing her sense of humor
  • Able to work effectively with all populations to include: individuals with serious mental illness, disadvantaged youth, homeless, students and community members

Desirable skills and qualifications:

  • Bi-lingual/bi-cultural background
  • Effective and positive interpersonal and management skills
  • Experience with farm business management, including creating and managing budgets
  • Commitment to sustainable agriculture and food systems
  • Experience with social justice issues and affected populations a plus
  • Understanding of and experience implementing conservation efforts on a working farm.
Compensation this position is : hourly, varies DOE, $26.00 - $30.00 Application instructions Please click here to sign in and view application details.
If you are not registered, you'll be prompted to do so. Don't worry, it's free! DeadlineMarch 31, 2024

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