Hiring; Urban Agriculture Outreach Specialist – American Farmland Trusy
About American Farmland Trust
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and helped thousands of farm families make a go of it (primarily through programs that increase farm viability and/or enhance farmland access). Long a pioneering leader, AFT is now riding a new wave of growth, driven by agriculture’s most pressing needs and opportunities.
AFT believes diversity drives innovation. We are inclusive. We embrace differences. We recognize and respect the fundamental value and dignity of all our employees. We celebrate the unique traditions, heritages, and experiences that our employees bring to the workplace. We are committed to creating and sustaining an inclusive culture that promotes and values diversity, and where everyone feels empowered to bring their authentic selves to work every day. Please see AFT’s statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice.
We provide equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, expression or identity, national origin, age, disability, or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Farmland Trust complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which we have facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.
About this position
To help make agriculture more sustainable and viable in New England, AFT is working with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide direct technical and financial assistance to farmers and other landowners, including those engaged in Urban Agriculture. As a part of this joint effort, AFT has staff working directly with USDA NRCS in various parts of Massachusetts to assist with the delivery of NRCS conservation planning and financial assistance under a variety of NRCS programs. AFT’s conservation planners, specialists, and outreach team use their working knowledge, on the job training and formal education in agriculture, agronomy, soil science, farm conservation and environmental sciences to work directly with target audiences to understand NRCS programs and procedures – and to plan and implement conservation practices on farms and agricultural lands across Massachusetts.
What you’ll be working on
As an Urban Agriculture Outreach Specialist you will:
- Strengthen relationships between urban agriculture producers (also known as urban farmers, urban growers, etc.) and NRCS technical and financial support programs in Massachusetts.
- Build relationships of mutual trust, empathy and understanding between urban producers, communities, and NRCS and partners.
- Assist existing NRCS staff and other partners’ delivery of farm bill programs for urban producers, including the provision of technical assistance and making recommendations on financial assistance programs.
- Support conservation planners in assisting urban producers throughout Massachusetts.
The Specialist will provide these services within several projects funded by NRCS MA and the MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources. This position’s scope may be expanded to provide services to other parts of New England. The Specialist will be supervised by the AFT New England Director and will coordinate closely with the NRCS State Conservationist (or their designee), who will serve as the direct point of contact and support at NRCS.
Duties and Responsibilities
The primary responsibilities of this position are to carry out coordinated outreach and to assist with the delivery of USDA NRCS farm bill soil and water conservation programs, focusing on urban agriculture, in close coordination with state NRCS offices. The Specialist will:
- Serve as a primary, community-based point of contact between NRCS and urban producers (groups and individuals) and the organizations that support them.
- Learn and communicate the details of USDA conservation programs available through NRCS and assist urban producers in understanding them.
- Work closely with urban producers and NRCS staff across the state to advance their work in an urban context and facilitate the delivery of conservation planning and funding.
- Serve as the primary community-based point of contact between NRCS and certain state and local government entities regarding urban agriculture.
- Build, expand and deepen authentic, mutually respectful relationships at all levels between NRCS and these entities.
- Work with relevant stakeholders and producers to build trust, understanding and transparency regarding NRCS processes.
- Serve as a primary point of contact for NRCS staff and partner staff when questions arise regarding urban agriculture.
- Research and maintain information surrounding resources available to urban producers through the NRCS lens.
- Engage with state urban agriculture communities through the attendance of relevant workshops, webinars, conferences, etc.
- Document and provide guidance to AFT, NRCS and partner organizations on the unique challenges urban producers face, with particular attention to any natural resource concerns that may exist on urban farming operations.
- Develop opportunities to connect NRCS conservation planning staff to urban producers (and vice versa) to ensure comprehensive service delivery by NRCS.
- Help conduct and shape addition training for NRCS and partner staff to better understand and serve urban producers.
- Coordinate with NRCS state Outreach Coordinator to provide support as broadly as possible across NRCS offices in Massachusetts.
- Assist in the development and management of documents and materials that clarify pathways for urban producers to access specific farm bill programs – and supports long-term engagement.
- Support existing conservation planners at NRCS or partners by advising on urban agriculture production systems and contexts, especially when additional relevant expertise is needed, or needs are uniquely complex.
- Collaborate with NRCS and partner staff as needed to deepen, expand and sustain benefits for urban producers, and to support wider and improved urban agriculture activity in NRCS across all disciplines.
The ideal candidate will have the following qualities:
- 3+ years of practical experience in urban agriculture, farming, food systems, and/or community development.
- A strong background in urban agriculture, either working as an urban farmer – or with urban producers – to improve their operations, production practices and access to resources.
- Lived experience with and/or within community-based groups that support and/or are made up of urban producers and their communities.
- Community and/or educational outreach experience in individual and group settings.
- Experience and active working relationships with diverse communities and production systems.
- Ability to work with agricultural producers and landowners – especially those who have been historically underserved – to improve the stewardship of their land, soil and ecosystems.
- Demonstrated understanding of – and first-hand experience with – the environmental, social, and economic issues facing different populations of urban farmers and communities.
- Lived experience and cultural competency needed to build trust with and find common understanding and shared interests among diverse stakeholders.
- Experience providing technical assistance to – and facilitating peer support among – farmers, landowners, and producer/community groups, especially in urban and peri-urban settings.
- Experience with – or interest and willingness to learn about – federal and state policies and programs to support urban agriculture, farming, and the conservation of natural resources.
- Experience, skills, and training in community organizing, adult education, and urban agriculture.
- Experience and skills developing and extending socially, culturally, and linguistically relevant resources and services to communities.
- Training and/or formal education in conservation, soil science, or relevant natural resource, agricultural and environmental science fields.
- Willingness or interest to pursue conservation planning training offered through NRCS.
- Bilingual skills a plus.
- Ability to work independently, and collaboratively with others as part of a remote team, in groups, and across organizations and in communities.
- Experience and skills in organizational and administrative tasks.
- Excellent oral and written communication.
- Computer skills, especially experience with Microsoft 365, including Outlook (email and calendar), Office suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), Teams, etc. – and the ability to learn related applications.
- Must be based in Massachusetts.
- Possessing a valid driver’s license and a working motor vehicle for use during performance of duties. Where necessary, mileage reimbursement will be provided.
Salary range for this position is $55,000 – $60,000 commensurate with experience and qualifications. American Farmland Trust offers a full benefits package, including excellent vacation, medical, dental, retirement and other benefits. This position is currently funded under an ongoing cooperative agreement with NRCS. While we expect the program to continue without a specific end time, employment is subject to available funding.
Position will remain open until filled by a suitable candidate.
Why you should apply
- Be a part of a purpose-driven, committed, knowledgeable, high-performing, experienced and fun team
- A diverse and inclusive work environment
- A cause and mission you can be proud of
- Competitive compensation & benefits
- Remote work opportunities
- Flexible scheduling
Ready to apply? If this job sounds like a fit for you, then click on the ‘apply’ button below. Please answer the screener questions and be sure to include a cover letter and resume to be considered.
American Farmland Trust provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Farmland Trust complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the organization has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.