Hiring: Farm Conservation Program Manager – Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust

Organization: Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust
Location: Athol, MA
Date Posted: August 12, 2019
Position: Farm Conservation Program Manager
Full-time salaried, 40 hrs/week

Mount Grace is an accredited regional land trust serving 23 communities in north central Massachusetts. Headquartered in Athol, MA, we’ve been working to conserve and steward land since 1986. Our work is rooted in our collaborative, innovative approach to conservation. We are looking for an experienced and passionate farm conservationist to lead our nationally recognized Farm Conservation Program. Mount Grace is a proud equal opportunity employer and strives to be an inclusive and diverse organization.

Position description

Our Farm Conservation Program upholds working farms and forests as the heart of healthy, resilient communities. Our work goes beyond permanently protecting the farmland that feeds us: we keep farmers on the land and sustain rural landscapes and livelihoods. Through innovative and inclusive partnerships we build strong local and regional food systems in both urban and rural communities. Our work increases local food production, food access and health, education, and community and economic development. The Farm Conservation Program Manager is responsible for implementing this vision, and for completing land protection projects consistent with Mount Grace’s mission, policies, and systems.

Key Responsibilities

  • Conduct landowner intakes and develop and manage conservation projects in keeping with Land Trust Alliance Standards and Practices.
  • Respond to community inquiries and connect farmers and landowners with local resources and technical assistance.
  • Implement creative strategies to keep farms in active production and in the hands of farmers (e.g, Option to Purchase at Agricultural Value, buy/lease models, support market creation, etc.).
  • Continuously improve and develop the network, capabilities, and outreach of the Farm Conservation Program.
  • Write grants to financially support the work and projects of the Farm Conservation Program, including federal, state, local, and private grants. Cultivate relationships with state partners, including those at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs, and private foundation donors.
  • Coordinate the Greater Quabbin Food Alliance (GQFA), an informal network created and sponsored by Mount Grace. The GQFA brings farmers, community organizations, land trusts, planners, businesses, local schools, and others together to address the food system challenges in our communities — including the agricultural economy, food access and local food procurement, health, farmland conservation, and education—while recognizing that land is at the heart of the food system. Through protecting land and saving working farms, we can improve the health of our food systems. The Farm Conservation Program Manager coordinates bi-annual GQFA gatherings and supports its working groups.
  • Participate in local and regional conservation and food systems gatherings, conferences, and speaking engagements to share resources and promote cross-sector collaboration.

Essential Job Functions

  • Excellent conservation project management skills, including collaborating with local farmers to craft strategies that work for them, their farm businesses, future farmers, and make sense for the land itself
  • Excellent communication skills, including public speaking
  • Basic GIS mapping
  • Creative problem-solving with a collaborative, solutions-oriented mindset

Qualifications

  • Experience managing and completing conservation projects, in keeping with the Land Trust Alliance’s Standards and Practices (ideally, in Massachusetts)
  • Commitment to Mount Grace’s mission and efforts to save farms in north central Massachusetts

Compensation

Salary is commensurate with experience. Mount Grace offers a competitive benefits package and collaborative work environment in Athol, MA.

To apply, please send a letter of interest and resume to Sarah Wells at wells@mountgrace.org.

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