Hiring: Contracted Farm Manager – The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts
The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts believes that everyone has a right to healthy food regardless of their circumstances. Serving Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties, The Food Bank leads the region’s emergency food network of 160+ independent, local food pantries and meal sites, distributing nutritious food to households with lower incomes.
Since 1982, The Food Bank has been providing individuals facing hunger with the food they need to survive while leading communities toward lasting solutions to food insecurity by addressing its underlying causes. The Food Bank is committed to creating a western Massachusetts where no one goes hungry, and everyone has access to nutritious food.
We advance equitable access to nutritious food for everyone across Western Massachusetts in partnership with independent food pantries, meal sites and shelters, community and advocacy groups, health providers, policymakers, people with lived experience, volunteers and donors of food and funds. We are an engaged community partner providing a wide range of food assistance, education, and advocacy to change public policy and to eliminate the underlying causes of food insecurity and food inequity. Two prominent causes are systemic racism and economic inequality (both income and wealth). Furthermore, we recognize Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) have been systematically excluded from access to farmland and other agricultural resources.
CULTIVATING FOR COMMUNITY
The Food Bank’s educational and production no-till micro farm, Cultivating for Community (CFC), is a three-acre parcel situated on our second 142-acre Food Bank Farm on the ancestral lands of the Nipmuc and Pocumtuck people, in present-day Hadley, Massachusetts. CFC was conceived to begin a journey of learning and practice in no-till farming and food justice (see Farm Feasibility Study on website link).
Currently, CFC has one acre of raised beds. Going into its third year of operation, CFC provides fresh organic produce for local households facing food insecurity and engages local school groups and others to volunteer on the farm to support its operations as well as learn about the importance of no-till farming, the local farm economy as well as food security and food sovereignty. Public walking trails on the Food Bank Farm enhance the public nature of this farmland.
Our vision for the Food Bank Farm is to partner with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers and BIPOC-led community organizations who wish to farm and, ultimately own and operate their own farmland to grow culturally relevant food for their communities and the general buy local community. CFC and the larger Food Bank Farm are designed to be a pathway to achieve this goal. In 2023, the CFC Farm Manager will be contracted through a temp agency. Contingent on their performance on and commitment to CFC, various opportunities exist to continue and deepen the relationship, including extending the contract, transitioning to employment and/or providing access to additional farmland on the larger Food Bank Farm for autonomous, yet supported, no-till farming.
On the CFC micro farm, The Farm Manager is responsible for planning and carrying out vegetable production as well as ongoing care and maintenance of the farm site while documenting current practices, troubleshooting, and planning for the farm’s expansion. The Farm Manager also supervises TerraCorps member, interns, and volunteer groups* on specific farming tasks with support from The Food Bank’s Education and Community Coordinator who is responsible for volunteer recruitment, mentoring and youth education.
ASAP – 11/30/23 (nine months)
Reports to: Executive Director
Supervises: TerraCorps member, interns, and volunteers*
- Farm with no-till sustainable farming techniques, using BCS walk behind tractor, a rotary plow, power harrow, flail mower, ride-on trailer, drip irrigation and pump
- Create crop and management plan for the no-till beds and first year of two greenhouses consistent with organic no-till growing practices
- Manage greenhouse planting, maintenance, and harvesting
- Maintain ½-acre no-till beds and surrounding grounds on a regular basis, including mowing, general clean up and setting up and closing tasks given its public educational purpose
- Prepare additional ½-acre for no-till farming for the 2024 growing season
- Maintain farm equipment (i.e. BCS tractor and irrigation equipment)
- Keep detailed records of weekly/daily tasks done on the farm and thoroughly document planting and crop information to inform future decisions
- Process produce as it is harvested and oversee distribution by volunteers to area food pantries and/or The Food Bank
- Train farm team* to lead farming activities with volunteers, interns, and school groups
- Supervise TerraCorps member and interns on farm-related projects and on-site work
- Connect and communicate with other farmers in the area for mentorship and professional growth
- Assist with research and planning for future infrastructure needs
- Participate in tours with volunteers, donors, and other interested parties, as needed (1-2 hours/week)
- Assist with educational field trips and workshops on-site administered by the Education and Community Coordinator
WORKING CONDITIONS & REQUIREMENTS
- Work outside in all weather conditions
- Standing, walking, squatting. for 8 hours at a time
- Lift 20-50 lbs. consistently and 75 lbs. occasionally
- Use and maintain/maintenance of tools, tractors, and other equipment
- During summer may work up to 40 hours, including weekend watering
- Drivers license, car, and clean driving record
Contracted through a temp agency
Starting pay $23/hr.
Benefits: Paid lunchtime (45 minutes)
- Experienced farmer (at least 2 years of farm management responsibilities)
- BIPOC farmer
CFC possesses farm infrastructure and equipment, including a Community & Education Coordinator devoted to volunteer recruitment and support, TerraCorps member(s), and interns. Over time, Cultivating for Community seeks to support the farmer contractor to develop her/his/their own farming experience and business model either on additional land on the Food Bank Farm or eventually on their own farmland in the Pioneer Valley with the support of organizations dedicated to supporting local farmers.
Please read about The Food Bank’s mission, vision, values and equity statement.
Please submit applications via email including your:
- General farming approach and practices
- Farming experience
- Near and long-term goals
- Experience with individual or systemic barriers to farming
Inquiries: Andrew Morehouse, Executive Director, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, firstname.lastname@example.org
TerraCorps member: 30 hours/week (8 hours at home for projects), Saturday help for watering
Food Bank Education & Community Coordinator: 3-4 days a week, 18-28 hours/week
*Projected Farm Support:
Individual volunteers: 5-10 volunteers, 6 hours/person/week (Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3-hour shifts)
Volunteer groups: of 5-15 people, 3-6 hours/person/week (Mondays and Wednesdays)
College Intern: 6-18 hours/week, including Saturdays (help for watering)
Work study student: up to 40 hours/week during summer, 8 hours/week during the school year
Additional High school Intern: 10-15 hours/week