Hiring: Farm to School Coach – Food Connects
Food Connects is seeking a Farm to School Coach to join our growing Farm to School team. As a member of the Food Connects Farm to School Program, the Farm to School Coach will serve as a motivational guide and knowledgeable resource for teachers, food service professionals, and school administrators to further develop and support Farm to School Programs throughout Southern Vermont. The Farm to School Coach builds capacity for schools to improve food, farm, and nutrition education and increase local food purchasing and school meal participation.
Position Title: Farm To School Coach
Supervisor: Farm To School Program Manager
Employee Status: Part-Time, Non-Exempt (20-30 hours per week)
Start Date: Early to Mid April
We value diversity in all forms and strive to have our employment practices reflect that. We are an equal opportunity workplace and will not discriminate based on disability or other legally protected categories. If an employee has a disability that makes it difficult to perform their job duties, they are encouraged to notify us to engage in a discussion about reasonable accommodations.
About Food Connects
Food Connects is a dynamic and quickly growing nonprofit organization based in Brattleboro, VT that delivers regionally produced food and educational and consulting services aimed at transforming regional food systems. Founded in 2013, Food Connects (FC) is a catalyst for food systems change by connecting the next generation with their food, regional farmers with new markets, and school chefs with regional food.
Food Connects pursues its mission through three flagship programs. The Farm to School (FTS) program supports school implementation of food, farm, and nutrition education, strengthening school nutrition programs. Vermont Harvest of the Month is a program run by Food Connects and two other non-profit organizations in Vermont to promote seasonal eating, encourage nutritious diets, and support the local economy. We provide ready-to-go materials for the classroom, cafeteria, and community that promote the use of local, seasonal Vermont foods.
The Food Connects Food Hub (FH) delivers source-identified, regional food from over 125 farms and value-added producers to over 280 wholesale customers in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Western Massachusetts. Currently, we have vehicles on the road for pickups and deliveries 5 days per week. The Food Hub is experiencing rapid growth and will expand operations, infrastructure, and delivery schedule over the coming year.
As a FTS Coach, you will build capacity for schools to improve food, farm, and nutrition education and increase local food purchasing and school meal participation. In support of your schools’ FTS teams, you may find yourself facilitating meetings, action planning, writing up newsletter articles, or organizing FTS events. This position requires an organized individual who is excited to have a varied workload. Experience and/or knowledge of school culture and curriculum is important, given your primary stakeholders will be school-based staff. You should find supporting school staff energizing, as this position will not regularly work with students. Knowledge about gardening, local farms, and community food systems is useful but not required; there will be plenty of learning opportunities on the job!
- Initiative: Identifying what needs to be done and doing it before being asked or before the situation requires it.
- Building Collaborative Relationships: The ability to develop, maintain, and strengthen partnerships with others inside or outside the organization who can provide information, assistance, and support.
- Effective Research: The ability to identify the information needed to clarify a situation, seek that information from appropriate sources, and use skillful questioning to draw out the information when others are reluctant to disclose it.
- Empowering Others: The ability to convey confidence in a colleague’s potential to be successful, especially at challenging new tasks; delegating significant responsibility and authority; allowing employees freedom to decide how they will accomplish their goals and resolve issues.
- Verbal and Written Communication Skills: The ability to ensure that information is passed on to others who should be kept informed; the ability to generate compelling and well-written newsletter articles and to assist FTS teams with grant writing.
Primary Duties and Responsibilities
- Provide general coaching support to school teams, including (1) using the Farm to School Rubric with each school as a general guide and (2) develop an Action Plan with each school.
- Coordinate Farm to School efforts at schools in Southern Vermont. Coach school nutrition professionals in navigating complex regulations, customize solutions and streamline operations for school nutrition programs.
- Provide technical assistance that will increase participation in school meal programs.
- Assist School Nutrition Professionals in accessing affordable wholesale local food directly from farms that is delivered to schools through our local Food Hub.
- Assist in storytelling to raise program awareness by writing newsletter articles, press releases, and social media posts.
- Promote opportunities for facilitating greater parent and volunteer involvement in school based projects.
- Contribute Farm to School Program content to support Food Connects marketing efforts. Contribute content to the Farm To School Monthly Newsletter.
- Attend and represent Food Connects at various school-based events for families (e.g., Wellness Nights and Open Houses).
- To ensure the sustainability of the program:
- Provide Farm to School updates and presentations to School Boards or School Administration as needed.
- Contribute content to support grant reporting requirements for relevant grants.
- Partner with relevant community groups
- Contribute to the ongoing development of the FTS program through participation in planning, strategizing, and evaluation.
- Professional experience in education, nonprofit or public health sectors.
- General knowledge of veggies, fruits, and other locally-produced items.
- Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal; in person, over the phone, email, text.
- Excellent customer service skills.
- Strong proficiency with Internet use, spreadsheet development, databases, Google suite; comfort with learning new software platforms.
- Ability to remain calm under pressure and in the face of changing demands.
- Strong organizational skills and natural proclivity for keeping detailed records.
- Cheerful, professional presence.
- Self-starter who can work well independently.
- Ability to work effectively with others in a team-oriented environment.
- Ability to quickly assess a situation and make necessary decisions; skilled at creative problem solving.
- Ability to prioritize tasks and manage workload in a fast-paced, ever-evolving work environment.
- Reliable private vehicle for occasional regional travel.
- Experience working with Farm to School programs, school gardens, classroom curriculum, and/or the local food system.
- Knowledge of, or familiarity with, key State/Regional Farm to School partners, such as VT-FEED, Green Mountain Farm to School, VT Agency of Agriculture, Hunger Free VT, etc.
- Familiarity with, and enthusiasm for, working in Southern Vermont.
- Experience with graphic design and visual communications
- Experience coordinating events
Working Conditions & Physical Demands
Food Connects will make reasonable accommodations to enable individuals to perform the essential functions of their work to the degree we can do so.
Working Conditions: The Farm to School Coach is based in the Food Connects office in Brattleboro and will require frequent travel throughout Southern Vermont. There will be opportunities for remote work, but office work and in-person meetings with school staff are an essential part of the position.
- The ability to lift 50 pounds.
- This position entails frequent travel to numerous locations under various weather conditions.
- Hourly range is flexible depending on the experience and interests of the applicant, but likely 20-30 hrs/week.
- Part-Time work hours within the range of approximately 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.
- Occasional meetings and events on evenings and weekends (with plenty of advance notice).
- This is a part-time, non-exempt position.
- $19.50 hourly.
- A part-time position has the following benefits after a 90-day introductory period:
- Paid time off: vacation, sick, personal, and holiday leave
- Short-term disability insurance
- Life insurance
- Access to vision and dental insurance
- 15% employee discount on food purchases.
- 2% retirement contribution