Hiring: Lead Farmer Educator – MESA

MESA (Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture) seeks a ¾ to full-time employee to join our dynamic team for the newly established “Advancing Next Generation Urban Farmers” project, in collaboration with Planting Justice. This position will lead educational development and implementation of MESA and Planting Justice’s beginning farmer training and incubator program, primarily serving refugee, formerly incarcerated and immigrant populations. The educational role supports beginning farmers with culturally-specific and relevant resources through on-farm, classroom, and online formats, and acts as leader/point person with our community partners. The incumbent will work with multiple farm managers in the program to provide participatory training in urban/peri-urban agriculture and resilient food systems.  The position will engage beginning farmers in program activities and support services involving production, processing, distribution and direct and cooperative marketing. As the training will serve participants with day-jobs, this position will require working some evenings and weekends. Position responsibilities will shift seasonally, while maintaining some core functions throughout the year.

The Lead Educator will support immigrant, refugee and previously incarcerated farmers to develop and reach their urban farming and business goals. Flexibility, sensitivity, strong communication, time-management and people skills are a must. MESA embraces a collaborative working environment with frequent hat and role sharing. The candidate will possess strong organizational skills and be self-motivated, culturally astute and exceptionally accountable. This position will require the ability to work well independently and as part of a team, a knack for negotiating conflict, and the capacity to uphold diverse collaborations, efficient working relationships and positive learning environments, Additionally, the candidate will be a creative, self-directed solution-seeker who can identify opportunities and take initiative.

Required Qualifications:

1.  Background and interest in working with historically underserved, immigrants, refugees and formerly incarcerated populations.

a. Preference for an immigrant, refugee, formerly incarcerated; or similarly experienced individual with understanding of the unique, diverse needs and cultural contexts

b. Understanding of languages beyond English, especially Spanish, Hmong or Mandarin

2. Minimum 2 years professional experience leading grassroots trainings and involvement with participatory and popular education models in cross-cultural environments

3. Minimum 2 years experience in agricultural production & marketing/business management

a.Experience running a financially sustainable urban/peri urban farm operation

b.Excellent general and technical knowledge of ecological farming and agroecology

4.Direct experience developing and managing complex on-the-ground operations.

5.Understanding issues related to new urban farmers, farmer education and mentorship

6.Strong and dynamic presentation public-speaking skills, outreach and recruitment experience

7.Reliable transportation and valid driver’s license.

The Ideal Candidate will also have:

  • Adult education experience, particularly involving agricultural businesses and financial planning, market development, vegetable production and value-added processing
  • Beginning farmer training, incubator and/or mentorship programs experience
  • Passion for cultivating resilient, equitable food systems and communities
  • Experience/interest in cooperative economic development and community building
  • Basic mechanical skills for operating and maintaining farm equipment

Primary Responsibilities: Develop and coordinate educational activities and curriculum focused on 3-month classroom and on-farm trainings. Oversee the establishment of viable farm businesses.

Secondary Responsibilities: Facilitate successful internships, apprenticeships and incubator participation in collaboration with one or more incubator sites and a host mentorship network

Other Responsibilities:

1.Working with Program Directors and Staff to coordinate outreach and technical assistance

2.Collaborating with staff to integrate curriculum content on MESA’s online learning platform

3. Some administrative support including correspondence, application review, contract creation and support to both applicants and mentor host farms

a. Maintaining accurate program records including participant contacts, tracking benefits usage, and other metrics for program evaluation and reporting

b. Help identify additional funding for both immigrants and formerly incarcerated

c. Assist with program evaluation and impact assessment

d. Support new funding streams including business development, grants, donors

4.Carrying out the responsibilities listed above in accordance with the mission statement, goals, and philosophy of the MESA and Planting Justice

Compensation: Salary commensurate with experience, funded by 3-year USDA-NIFA’s BFRDP grant.

Location: MESA’s office is located at 2362 Bancroft Way, Berkeley. This position will also collaborate with Planting Justice, located in Oakland, California. Our training sites are in Berkeley, El Sobrante and East Oakland. This incubator program includes several satellite sites in the Bay Area.

For more information about our organizations, please visit and

How to Apply: Submit a resume, cover letter, and list of one personal and two professional references as pdfs. Please include a short description your educational philosophy in the email to: Applications accepted through March 13th.

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