Hiring: Farm to School Program Manager –
Position Title: Farm to School Program Manager
Food Connects is seeking a Farm to School Program Manager with the motivation and creativity to guide the program through the next phase of growth. The right candidate will employ their skills and entrepreneurial spirit to expand to new areas and develop new services for schools.
Supervisor: Executive Director
Employee Status: Full-Time Exempt
We value diversity in all of its forms and strive to have our employment practices reflect that. As such, we are an equal opportunity workplace and will not discriminate on the basis of 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.
Why Choose Food Connects?
We are a dynamic non-profit organization with strong roots in the community and a commitment to challenging the status quo and transforming the food system. We think organizational culture is just as important as the job you’ll be doing. We value a balance of work and life, which is why we offer a flexible working schedule and the opportunity to work remotely when possible. Our goal is to provide you with the tools to do your job and the trust to get your work done in a way that works for you.
Headquartered in beautiful Brattleboro, VT, Food Connects is a regional food-systems non-profit organization with 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.
And our Food Hub delivers source-identified local food from over 80 farms and value-added producers to over 140 wholesale customers located in Vermont, Western New Hampshire, and Western Massachusetts. Currently, we have trucks on the road for pickups and deliveries 5 to 6 days per week. We have an online e-commerce platform for customer ordering, and are implementing a new ERP system for administrative control of the sales flow. The Food Hub is experiencing rapid growth and will be expanding operations, infrastructure, and delivery schedule over the coming year.
FOOD CONNECTS CORE VALUES
- We challenge the status quo by taking risks, acting boldly, and learning from our mistakes to transform the food system.
- We commit to pursuing justice, fostering inclusivity, and practicing equity.
- We believe in the possibility of BOTH equitable access to nutritious food AND producer viability.
- We cultivate a culture of learning, care, creativity, transparency, honesty, and humility within our team and with our partners.
- We know that collaboration and strong relationships are vital to building a vibrant and healthy community and that we can only fulfill our vision when we invite everyone to the table.
In Search Of
Are you passionate about local food? Do you believe in the importance of young people knowing where their food comes from and feeling empowered about growing and preparing their food? Do you want to support school food service professionals, administrators, and teachers in food systems change? Do you want to do meaningful work that supports our local agricultural economy while ensuring access to nutritious food for local youth?
What You Will Do
In this position, you will guide the strategic direction of the Farm to School Program and manage daily program operations (budget, managing staff, program delivery). You will support the Development Team in fundraising (grant writing and donor relations) for the program. As a Leadership Team member, you will also play a key role in developing Food Connects as an organization.
Additionally, you 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 the region. 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.
Experience and Knowledge Needed
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!
The right candidate will be skilled at:
- 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.
- Empowering Others: The ability to convey confidence in employees’ and partners’ ability 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.
- Establishing Focus: The ability to develop and communicate goals in support of the organization’s mission.
- Managing Performance: The ability to take responsibility for one’s own or one’s employees’ performance by setting clear goals and expectations, tracking progress against the goals, ensuring feedback, and addressing performance problems and issues promptly.
- Strategic Thinking: The ability to analyze Food Connects’ strategic position by considering industry trends, existing and potential customers (internal and external), and strengths and weaknesses compared to similar organizations.
- 3+ years of 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 Drive and Microsoft Office suites. Comfort with learning new software platforms.
- Ability to remain calm under pressure and in the face of changing demands
- Strong organizational skills and a 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 in creative problem-solving.
- Ability to prioritize tasks and manage workload among fast-paced and sometimes unpredictable programs.
- Flexible; able to prioritize 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 our geographical area: Windham County, VT and Windsor County, VT.
- Develop and maintain a FTS program budget, in alignment with FC budget.
- Identify and apply for grant funding to support FTS programming.
- Support fundraising efforts for FTS programming.
- Develop and maintain systems for FTS program management.
- Regularly evaluate FTS program impact and write reports (including Annual Reports), and develop a plan for the next stage of improvements.
- Participate in monthly staff meetings and general Food Connects strategic conversations.
- Provide technical assistance and professional development opportunities for local stakeholders to build the capacity of school kitchens, cafeterias, gardens, and classrooms.
- Work with school staff and/or relevant committees to coordinate activities and events, and share best practices as needed.
- Help navigate complex regulations, customize solutions and to streamline operations for federal child nutrition programs. (Professional development in this area will be provided!)
- Provide technical assistance that will increase participation in the school meal programs.
- Assist school chefs in accessing affordable wholesale local food direct from farms, delivered to schools through our local Food Hub.
- Promote opportunities for facilitating greater parent and volunteer involvement in school-based projects.
Ensure the sustainability of the program by:
- Contribute Farm to School Program content to support Food Connects’ marketing efforts.
- Provide FTS updates and presentations to School Boards or School Administration.
- Establish and maintain a leadership role in regional and statewide farm to school efforts.
- Participate in the VT Farm to School Network gatherings, meetings, and occasional projects.
- Participate in the VT FTS Network’s Ease of Use team, including facilitation of monthly team calls
- Identify opportunities for continued program growth and expansion
- Participate in regional community initiatives, such as the Windham Region Hunger Council
- Maintain professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops and reviewing professional publications.
- Participate in shared organizational HR functions including recruiting, selecting, orienting, and training employees, enforcing systems, policies, and procedures, and participating in the annual peer-review process.
- Create and maintain a work plan and solicit feedback from staff at regular staff meetings.
- Other duties as assigned
You will be meeting with school staff at locations throughout southeastern Vermont and the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, so reliable transportation is a must (mileage reimbursement is provided). The work schedule is flexible, with school-based meetings a priority. There will also be occasional meetings and events on evenings and weekends, with plenty of advance notice.
Compensation and Benefits
- 15% Employee Discount on Food Purchases through the Food Hub
- Access to Life insurance equal to annual wage & up to $50,000
- Short-term disability insurance, employer paid
- Worker’s comp
Beginning after 90 Day intro period:
- Access to fairly-priced vision and dental insurance
- 2% Flat Retirement Contribution (SIMPLE IRA)
- Paid-Time Off: PTO will get explained in much greater detail during the onboarding process but to summarize…
- Holiday PTO
- Full-time employees receive 8 hours on each Food Connects designated Holiday (10 holidays per year)
- Holiday PTO is available during the 90-Day intro period if FC-designated holidays fall within that period.
- Vacation PTO: Accrued per hour paid
- Personal PTO: Accrued per hour paid
- Sick Time: Accrued per hour paid
- Vacation/Personal/Sick time accrued at variable rates. You would start accruing PTO as soon as you start working, but cannot use that PTO until after your 90-Day intro period
The compensation for this position is $40,000 – $45,000, depending on experience. This is a full-time, exempt, salaried position.