Farm and Garden Crew Member and Volunteer Coordinator

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Position: Farm and Garden Crew Member and Volunteer Coordinator AmeriCorps State/National


Organization: Desert Farm Institute

The Desert Farming Initiative (DFI) is a collaboration between the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), College of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Resources, Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station (NAES), and Cooperative Extension. DFI is a diversified commercial farm at UNR which serves as a demonstration, education, outreach, and research farming program.  The DFI farm is positioned at the NAES Valley Road Field Station near the main UNR campus, and is comprised of multiple hoop houses, greenhouses, 4 acres of diversified row crops, and a 2-acre experimental vineyard.  Currently there is a variety of fruits and vegetables grown for commercial sale to local wholesale and retail markets across the greater Reno area. DFI supports student hands-on learning, UNR research, demonstration of desert crop production, and outreach to the public.  Visit DFI website at

Position Description

The Farm and Garden Crew Member and Volunteer Leader, an AmeriCorps member, will be an essential member of the DFI team in executing and achieving the organization’s mission and program goals. The position will wear many hats, serving as a core member of the farm team, producing a diversity of vegetable, fruit, and herb crops; assist in crop production data record keeping; developing and coordinating volunteer days on the farm with UNR students, faculty, and outside organizations; facilitating on farm activities for the public including local schools, organizations, and UNR students; participate at workshops and events; and develop social media content related to volunteer events, and other public awareness about DFI programs. 


If CARES Act funding is received from the NV Department of Agricultural, the individual will be involved in a collaborative regional produce distribution project, coordinating with food hubs, pantries, and farmers. The position does not need previous experience working on a farm or garden, although it is highly desired and preferred for the position. However, the individual must have a desire to learn about sustainable farming systems and food production.  The position will directly report to the DFI Program Manager, and take direction on the farm from the Farm Manager as well.  The position requires long days on the farm, working independently, and as a strong team member.  


Service Location: Reno, NV


Timeline for Service: September 2020- August 2021

Primary Responsibilities

  • Conduct all standard farm and garden tasks, that may include the following; weeding, harvesting, transplanting, seeding, cultivation, irrigation management, fertilizing, small equipment operation, and general farm infrastructure maintenance.

  • Assist Program Manager and Farm Manager in timely record keeping pertaining to crop production records such as; harvest logs, food safety logs, greenhouse fertilizing logs, irrigation logs, and pest management logs.

  • In time, obtain primary responsibility of conducting all greenhouse propagation tasks with students and volunteers.

  • Develop and coordinate volunteer opportunities and events for university students and the public.  This position will help DFI expand volunteer opportunities and establish a structured volunteer program.  Volunteer work on the farm is essential to the livelihood of the farm.

Secondary Responsibilities

  • Assist in coordinating farm to food pantry efforts – inventorying food for donation and distribution.

  • Develop outreach and program marketing materials pertaining to volunteer work and education content regarding DFI programs.

  • Outreach at events and on campus regarding DFI programs and opportunities

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

  • Correspond with University faculty, students, and the public.


  • Passionate commitment to farming, gardening, and teaching others.  Preference will be given to individuals who have a vested interest in a food production career in NV.

  • Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment;

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

  • Outstanding work ethic and positive attitude

  • Good writing skills;

  • Strong computer skills and experience with Microsoft Office applications; 

  • Strong communication skills;

  • Strong organizational skills;

  • Experience working with students, teachers, and volunteers;

  • Preferred: strong understanding of education standards and experience in curriculum development;

  • Preferred: experience working on a commercial farm or garden;

  • Preferred: Marketing or website experience


Member Benefits

In return for their service, AmeriCorps members receive a modest living allowance of $14,279/year, health benefits during their service, and will receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $6,195.00 upon successful completion of service.  


To Apply


Charles Schembre

Program Manager


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