Hiring: Administrative Program Coordinator – Soul Fire Farm
About Soul Fire Farm: Soul Fire Farm Institute (SFFI) is committed to ending disparity, injustice, and racism in the food system. We are a survival and thrival training ground where people impacted by oppression can reclaim our ancestral right to belong to land and to have agency in the food system. We are a multiracial, people-of-color-led team of activist-farmers drawing upon the wisdom of our ancestors to uproot oppression. Our programs include food justice training for youth, sustainable farming training for people of color, strategic development support for grassroots activists, a subsidized farm food distribution program for people living under food apartheid, and public education and organizing on equity in the food system. Soul Fire Farm was birthed by a mixed race family of 4 living rurally in the straw-bale, solar home that we built. Our small, production hand-scale farm and homestead feeds our program participants plus 80-100 families in the nearby cities of Troy and Albany, NY through a sliding scale farm share CSA. We intensively cultivate 2 acres in vegetables and small fruits, a nascent 1 acre mixed orchard, and 3 acres of pasture for egg and meat chickens. We value earth stewardship, hard work, community liberation, connection with spirit, and love.
Employment Dates: Year-round, with contract subject to annual renewal on January 1 of each year. Please plan to join us March 28-29, 2019 for a staff retreat.
- Front Office: Respond to emails, phone calls, and social media messaging.
- Booking: Respond to booking requests, schedule facilitators, coordinate “speakers collective,” coordinate speaker contracts, invoicing, follow up thank you’s and evaluation. Maintain events tracking spreadsheet indicating the status of each booking.
- Procurement: Order merchandise, coordinate book shipments, print and copy, grocery shopping for programs and events, program and office supply and merchandise inventory.
- Tracking: Track event attendance, media appearances, public speaking, and participant feedback in relevant spreadsheets.
- Media: In collaboration with SFF’s social media coordinator, arrange for minimum 5x week posts across all social media platforms for @soulfirefarm and @farmingwhileblack as well as monthly blog posts to “Love Notes.”
- Event Support: Bottom line event registration, merchandise sales, set up/break down, cleanup, and photography. Give tours/info sessions, “table,” and coordinate other event logistics for on-farm and local events. Participate in outreach and relationship building with Capital District youth programs, neighborhood associations, churches, etc.
- Program Participant Management: Promote applications for immersions and trainings, coordinate selection of participants based on organizational rubric and with support and input from Co-Directors. Coordinate admissions, transportation, invoicing, and evaluations.
- Volunteer Management: Recruit, select, and manage volunteers for on-farm programs and remote administrative tasks.
- Database Management: Keep contact database and mailing lists up to date.
- Website Management: Update www.soulfirefarm.org with program listings, job postings, media, and resources.
- Fundraising: Coordinate our annual physical mailing and 2x per year online fundraising appeals. In collaboration with “donor gratitude coordinator,” ensure that all contributors receive timely acknowledgement.
- General Support: Respond to requests of Co-Directors and other members of the SFFI team for support with administrative tasks.
Skills & Qualifications
- Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
- Excellent initiative and follow-through. We have a “no dropped balls” expectation for all work responsibilities.
- Highly experienced with administrative and logistical coordination tasks. This is an upper-level, rather than an entry-level, position.
- Able to work independently and stay on task while working remotely, developing and tracking own task list while also checking in as needed with the team to define highest priorities
- Efficient and fast work pace
- Technology fluency – proficiency with WordPress websites, spreadsheets, databases, data analysis, and Google suite, especially Drive, Docs, Calendar, Forms, and Sheets. Willing to seek out and self-teach technological details outside of own experience if needed.
- High attention to detail
- Emotional maturity
- Able to work collaboratively with a people from diverse backgrounds in terms of race, ethnicity, gender (including nonbinary), sexual orientation, class, and religion
- Experience living and working in communities of color, including fluency in Black, Indigenous, and/or Latinx cultural reference points.
- Life experience living and working in low income/low financial wealth communities preferred.
- Applicants who are already familiar with the farming & food justice landscape are preferred. Black farmers and food justice leaders are especially encouraged to apply.
Rest: As an organization, SFFI does not take off federal or religious holidays. Full-time, year-round employees receive fifteen (15) sick/personal/mental health day per year that can be applied to holidays and personal business. The number of days off is adjusted based on the employees FTE (full time equivalent.) SFFI requests two (2) weeks notice for personal days, and that personal days be staggered between staff. Employees may take a maximum 7 paid days off in season (April-October). For program staff, at most 5 of those days taken consecutively during non-BLFI weeks, or 4 of those taken consecutively during BLFI weeks. For farm staff, at most 4 of those days taken consecutively during non-BLFI weeks, or 5 of those taken consecutively during BLFI weeks. There is no reduction in salary for taking allotted sick/personal days nor is there additional compensation for declining to take sick/personal days. Sick/personal days accumulate for one year and then expire. Additionally, SFFI provides paid family leave according to the provisions in the current New York State Paid Family Leave Act. We actively encourage one another to use ALL of our days off, especially at times of year when it feels like there “is no way to stop working.” Each employee is responsible for tracking their days off in a document and adding days off to the “love” calendar.
Evaluation: Mutual performance evaluations between SFFI and the Employee will take place approximately every month. We use the “real talk” process for mutual feedback on a monthly basis. (Real Talk) Additionally, everyone on the team is expected to give and receive feedback as issues arise in the moment using the courageous conversation protocol. We accept feedback with grace and take corrective action. We give feedback from a place of inquiry and compassion. We commit to giving and receiving feedback in a timely way.
The Team: This is a multi-racial organization, led by majority people of color, with a majority of the staff being people of color. We all can expect to work with, teach, and receive direction from people of many races and genders – including Asian/multi-racial, light-skinned Black multiracial, Italian Jewish white, cisgender, nonbinary gender, male, female, and other identities. All religions are welcome here and those already practiced include Judaism, Buddhism, Vodou, and secular. We believe that ALL people have a place in the movement for racial justice and there is no tolerance for hatred or disregard of anyone on the basis of identity. Please only apply for this position if you are enthusiastic about working and learning from people of all ethnic-religious identities.
Two children live here (ages 16 and 14) and attend school off farm, thus are away for most of the day during the school year. Certain programs enliven the farm with large groups of predominantly African, Indigenous, and Latinx-heritage people (100 days in 2018.) On the other days, the farm may be quiet, with just 2-3 people in the field, and the gentle presence of Mother Earth.
Decision-Making: Our decision-making model is a blend of consultative and collective. For matters that are collectively decided, we discuss proposals at weekly staff meetings and over email with the goal of coming to consensus-based agreement. For matters that are decided consultatively, the input of the team is carefully considered and the Farm Manager has the authority to make farm decisions, the Program Director decides about programs, and the Operations Director decides about procurement and property management. The Co-Executive Directors have authority to make organization-level decisions, including hiring, supervision, and termination of staff. The Co-Executive Directors are accountable to the Board of Directors, who have ultimate authority over the strategic goals, budget, and staffing positions.
Shared Leadership and Labor: As part of our commitment to shared leadership, everyone in the organization is responsible for at least one of our annual strategic goals. Each person manages at least a small part of the administrative work, such as communications, grant writing, or program logistics. The administrative role is determined based on the intersection of the skills and interests of the employee and the needs of the organization. Given that the farm is the basis of this organization and the foundation of all our work, we also have a commitment that everyone in the organization also spends at least 1 hour of “hands on the land” each week, ideally side by side with other members of the team.
Meetings: We have a weekly all-staff meeting that takes place during work hours and outside of mealtimes. The standing agenda items for this meeting includes (1) share out of what everyone is working on this week (2) share out of everyone’s self care plans for the week. Each spring, we have a staff retreat to set goals for the year and build connections among the members of our team.
Organizational Culture: Our culture is rooted in hard work and kindness. We commit to treating one another with honesty, respect, and integrity and using nonviolent communication to resolve disagreement. We commit to bring up concerns and questions in a timely, kind, and direct manner. We have established a familial and generous culture, with practices such as sharing our personal highlights, challenges, and goals at each meeting, saying what makes us grateful, and making extra muffins for one another when so inspired. Nurturing a close connection between the staff is foundational to the “love and justice” that we strive to share in the community. To that end, sharing how we are “really doing” is not optional, rather fundamental to maintaining a strong and honest team culture. We uphold all of our Community Agreements, including those around intersectionality and gender justice.
Transportation: There is no public transportation to Grafton, NY. It is recommended that employees have their own personal vehicles.
Self-Reflection: We have found that the people who are happiest working at Soul Fire Farm have many of the following characteristics.
- Excited to lean into the complexity of identity – race, class, gender – and hold a non-dogmatic and curious perspective about identity.
- Has had successful, joyful personal and professional relationships with people with very different identities, including privileged identities – white, cis, male, etc.
- Does not romanticize farming or the work of Soul Fire Farm – understands that it can be at times repetitive, hard work – and finds joy in that reality
- Does not romanticize Soul Fire Farm as a “POC-heaven,” understanding that we as staff provide services to the community and are not ourselves participants receiving those services.
- Ability to navigate as an introvert and extrovert, loving both long days of quiet self-motivation as well as times of big groups, hosting, and sharing space.
- A bit cheesy and nerdy – excited about the “go around” and other structured ways of sharing.
- Apt to take personal responsibility for own well being, not one to blame, avoid challenges, or avoid challenging people.
- Excited about ideas, strategy, new knowledge, books, podcasts, and deep thinking. There is space here for all types of brilliance, and folks should know that a lot of “overachievers” are drawn to Soul Fire.
- Motivated by hard work, inspired about efficiency, satisfied by a job well done.
Equal Employment Opportunity Policy: SFFI provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetics. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training. SFFI prohibits any form of workplace harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. Improper interference with the ability of SFFI’s employees to perform their job duties may result in discipline up to and including discharge.
Black, Indigenous, People of color and those from other underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.
Termination: SFFI plans the season around the commitment of employees and turn away many competent applicants for each position. We ask that you carefully consider your commitment before agreeing to join the team, as early termination is disruptive and stressful to all involved. That said, this is “at will” employment and either party can terminate the agreement for any reason with 2 weeks notice. There will be a 90-day trial period at the start of the position to ensure a fit for both the employee and SFFI.
Application Process: Soul Fire Farm will review applications as they are received. All applications are due by Friday, December 7 at 5 PM. By end of day December 11, we will reach out about any phone or in-person working interviews. The interview will consist of brief performance tasks and a video conference conversation and/or in-person interview. We expect decisions to be made by the end of December, with start date around January 7, 2019.
Start Date: January 7, 2019 or as soon as suitable candidate is found. There will be an initial 90-day trial period for this position.
Hours: 40 hours/week. December through March, at least 1 day/week at Soul Fire Farm with the remainder in the community and remote. April through November, number of days on-farm will increase for program logistics and support, and range from 1 to 5 days/week at Soul Fire Farm depending on program needs each week, with the remainder of the time in the community and remote. Some evenings and weekends are required.
Salary: $37,440/year. As a 1.0 FTE, the employee in this position will also have a $300/month QSEHRA health plan and a Simple IRA retirement plan, and a CSA Farm Share (20 weeks June-November, $500/season value).