Hiring: Garden Educator – Backyard Growers

Backyard Growers is hiring a full-time Garden Educator

Organization Summary:  Backyard Growers (BYG) is a grassroots community-based organization in Gloucester, MA. We are a small but mighty group of committed people who love what we do, and have fun while we work hard. Our mission is to cultivate healthy, connected, environmentally sustainable communities and to fight for food justice by teaching people how to grow their own food. BYG provides resources and support to establish vegetable gardens at homes, housing communities, organizations, and schools, and offers learning opportunities in growing and preparing fresh produce.

We serve public school children and low- to moderate-income residents in Gloucester, and share our program models regionally through a consulting practice to increase our impact. Our goals are to increase access to healthy, affordable foods, mobilize attitude and behavior changes around healthy food choices, reactivate neglected urban spaces through food production, and build community and support self-sufficiency within diverse populations. We believe that by growing our own food, we are empowered, connected, and strengthened.

Position Summary:  This position is our lead school program staff person responsible for the implementation and execution of all Backyard Growers’ School Program activities. The Garden Educator also supports community garden programs with a focus on educational programs, community outreach, volunteer and service population engagement, and physical garden site maintenance. This position reports to the Program Director and works closely with the Program Coordinator.

This role is our lead school garden educator and implements all of Backyard Growers’ school program deliverables. At the elementary school level, this includes Salad Days & Fall Harvest Days—a program that involves growing two crops each year with K-5 students and hosting district-wide harvest celebrations. Job duties also include teaching in-class food systems lessons, leading monthly cafeteria taste tests, and developing special events and initiatives to promote food system literacy and healthy school food culture.

The Garden Educator will deliver our middle school programs at O’Maley Middle School, including our 6th grade Popcorn, 7th grade Wheat, and 8th grade Soil Health programs. Job duties include collaborating with teachers to integrate the school garden into their lessons, designing and leading lessons, and strengthening connections with other academic departments to make the program truly interdisciplinary. This role will be responsible for our pre-school Stone Soup program at Gloucester’s public pre-school and Pathways for Children. This position will also work with Gloucester High School students, staff and administrators on the integration of the high school permaculture garden into student life.

The Garden Educator will work closely with our service population and with outside volunteers. They will work alongside the rest of our programs team on the development of resources, training and support for our consulting programs, and other community garden work. The Garden Educator is an integral member of the Backyard Growers staff and as such will support other timely initiatives, events, and the continued expansion of Backyard Growers as part of our strategic plan. Duties and responsibilities include:

  • Execute Backyard Growers’ school program model in Gloucester, including all Salad Days and Fall Harvest Days events and activities
  • Lead all in-school and school garden activities in Gloucester from preschool through high school
  • Coordinate cafeteria taste tests and other Farm to School initiatives
  • Maintain physical school garden sites
  • Expand upon existing school programs through the development of additional lessons, learning opportunities and relevant student-focused activities
  • Coordinate lead parent volunteers for all schools and build relationships with administrators, teachers and parents across school sites
  • Capture school programs through photos, videos, trainings and other social media opportunities to help promote Backyard Growers’ work
  • Support Backyard Growers’ school program consulting and expansion efforts
  • Help with community garden site management, including raised bed repairs and overall site improvements
  • Work with residents and youth at Gloucester Housing Authority community gardens through special events and regular interactions to support successful growing and community building at those sites
  • Help build new raised beds as part of our annual Backyard Garden Program
  • Organize Backyard Growers’ seed collection and distribution process, including ordering and dispersing of seeds to community and program members
  • Assess program needs and strengths, identify areas for improvement, and adapt programming to meet goals
  • Follow grant requirements, document procedures, make purchases, track outcomes using our measurement tools, and track impact data
  • Assist as needed with events, which may include community and school events, internship fairs, garden events and workdays, fundraising events, etc.
  • Represent Backyard Growers at conferences and other public events
  • Inventory program materials, garden sheds, and equipment
  • Help with a variety of administrative tasks in the office, including checking voicemails, ordering supplies, office maintenance, and helping with mailings

Desirable Skills and Qualifications:

  • At least 1 to 2 years of teaching experience with children in any kind of learning environment
  • Experience developing curricula and lesson plans
  • At least 6 months of experience working on a vegetable production farm and/or urban agriculture program
  • An interest in providing learning opportunities to people of all ages with a focus on children and youth
  • Commitment to social and racial justice—professionally and personally
  • Cultural competency to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds
  • Ability to play a public front-facing role for a range of activities including community relations and organizing, meeting facilitation, public presentations, and school and community outreach and trainings
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team, be flexible, and manage multiple priorities in a fast-paced, non-profit environment
  • Self-motivated; self-organized; excellent follow-through; creative problem-solving
  • Detail-oriented with excellent communication, organizational, interpersonal, and writing skills
  • Proficient computer skills and social media skills (Microsoft Suite, Google Suite, Facebook and Instagram)
  • Must be able to safely lift and carry 50 pounds repeatedly, use basic hand-held power tools, and work outside in different weather conditions
  • Must have reliable transportation, be able to drive a car, have appropriate auto insurance coverage, and a valid Massachusetts’ driver’s license
  • Must be comfortable driving a large work van
  • Must submit to a CORI/SORI check

Salary, Benefits & Schedule  

  • This is an exempt, full-time position at 35 hours per week with an annual salary of $31,000. As the organization grows, this position has the potential to grow in responsibility and salary.
  • QSEHRA tax-free health care reimbursement benefit
  • Unlimited Time Off and Flex Schedule policies; 10 paid holidays; Work from home and professional development opportunities; Personal technology use reimbursement; Free parking
  • Candidate must be open to work a flexible schedule, including some evenings and weekends

Apply Today! We look forward to hearing from you!

  • Apply by 4/25/21; Tentative start date is Tuesday, June 1, but there is flexibility to start later in June
  • Send resume, cover letter, and contact information for two references to (include “Garden Educator” in the subject line)
  • We will review all submissions, identify viable candidates, and contact only those individuals selected to continue in the search process — No calls please.

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