Food Systems Development Coordinator

Americorps_Stackedlogo_Crimson.png

Summary

Do you want to make a real difference in your regional food system? Become an AmeriCorps member with the Desert Farming Initiative in Reno!

The Desert Farming Initiative (DFI) is a 5-acre educational farm located at the Nevada Agriculture Experiment Station. DFI was founded in 2013 and is a collaboration among the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) College of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Resources, Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station (NAES), and Cooperative Extension.

Position Description

Food Systems Development Coordinator

Do you want to make a real difference in your regional food system? Become an AmeriCorps member with the Desert Farming Initiative in Reno!


The Desert Farming Initiative (DFI) is a 5-acre educational farm located at the Nevada Agriculture Experiment Station. DFI was founded in 2013 and is a collaboration among the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) College of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Resources, Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station (NAES), and Cooperative Extension.  Visit the DFI website at http://naes.unr.edu/dfi


Our Mission is to advance and strengthen sustainable agriculture and food systems in Nevada while researching and demonstrating best practices that can be replicated in other high desert climates.


Demonstrate: the best crops, production techniques, and sustainable farming practices for the Nevadan high desert climate.

Educate: create opportunities for hands-on farm experiences for students, farmers, and the public. Provide resources and information about sustainable farming and food systems for desert climates, food safety, and general crop production information.

Outreach: actively inform and engage with the community and stakeholders about agricultural systems that address the challenges of both economic and environmental sustainability in desert climates; and provide technical assistance to growers regarding agricultural regulations, policies, crop production techniques, and environmental stewardship.

Research: facilitate and develop research opportunities, collaborating with University faculty and students, other organizations and agencies, and industry to improve agricultural practices for desert climates.

In addition to acting as a demonstration and research resource in Nevada, DFI produces over 20 tons of fruits, vegetables and herbs for the regional food system. Over 90 varieties of produce are harvested annually and all crops are certified organic by CCOF. Produce is directed to wholesale and retail markets, as well as to food insecure folks as part of our Farm to Food Pantry Program. Proceeds are used to support ongoing DFI educational and community programming.


Position Description:

The Food Systems Development Assistant will be a member of a statewide team working to get more fresh produce to vulnerable populations via farmer’s markets; will be the lead for DFI volunteer involvement; and will serve as a core member of the farm team.  The position does not need previous food systems, nutrition or farming experience, although it is preferred for the position. Ongoing training will be provided during this AmeriCorps term, and the successful candidate must have a desire to learn about sustainable food systems and food production.  The position will report to the DFI Director, and take direction from the DFI Farm Production Manager and Education Program Coordinator as well. The position involves physically demanding tasks on the farm, interaction with a diversity of groups and populations, and working independently as well as within a dynamic team.



Service Location: DFI at the Nevada Agriculture Experiment Station, 920 Valley Road, Reno, NV 89512. AmeriCorps contracts, living allowances and education awards are managed through the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation.


Timeline for Service: September 2021 – August 2022


Schedule: Approximately 40 hours per week with 10 observed holidays and 15 days sick/vacation leave (total 1,720 hours required during AmeriCorps term)

Primary Responsibilities

  • Play a key role in DFI’s educational outreach to food insecure populations about Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) benefits at farmer’s markets. Conduct outreach at events and on campus regarding DFI programs and opportunities, periodically including evenings and weekends.

  • Develop and coordinate volunteer opportunities and events for university students and the public. This position will help further develop a structured volunteer program.

  • Develop outreach and program marketing materials pertaining to volunteer opportunities and educational content regarding DFI programs.

  • Conduct standard farm tasks, that may include the following: greenhouse propagation, weeding, harvesting, transplanting, seeding, cultivation, irrigation management, fertilizing, small equipment operation, and food packaging and delivery.

  • Assist the DFI Director, Education Program Coordinator and Farm Production Manager in timely record keeping pertaining to crop production and grant reporting.

  • Assist in basic website work and social media to help tell DFI’s story.

  • Correspond professionally with University faculty, extension staff and the public.

Qualifications

  • Passionate commitment to working with others on food security and sustainable agriculture. Preference will be given to individuals who have an interest in a food systems oriented career in Nevada

  • Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment and take initiative to improve farm systems

  • Ability to work outdoors conducting physical labor in hot and cold temperatures

  • Outstanding work ethic and positive attitude

  • Good interpersonal communication and writing skills

  • Strong computer skills and experience with Microsoft Office applications

  • Strong organizational skills

  • Experience working with volunteers

  • Preferred: strong understanding of or educational background in food systems and/or nutrition

  • Preferred: experience working on a commercial farm or garden

  • Preferred: social media and web content experience

Compensation and Benefits

AmeriCorps members receive a modest living allowance of $16,000/year, health benefits during their service, and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $6,345.

To apply:

A complete application consists of a detailed resume, cover letter, and 2 professional references. Please submit your application directly via email to Jill Moe, DFI Director, at jmoe@unr.edu.