Be our AmeriCorps Farmer/Steward!

MassLIFT-AmeriCorps farmer/steward position open for February through July

Do you know how to grow vegetables at a small-farm scale? Do you want to help us to grow food for low-income families, and help plan for and manage our 120-acre community farm?

UPDATE: POSITION FILLED AS OF 1/27/2017

Grow Food Northampton is looking for a Land Stewardship Coordinator, a full-time AmeriCorps positions with a living stipend, an education award, and other benefits. This half-year, full-time MassLIFT program runs from February 1-July 28, 2017. MassLIFTAmeriCorps members are expected commit to serve for their entire term, and complete at least 900 hours of service, including time spent in trainings and service with the full MassLIFT team. Weekly service averages 38 hours and commonly includes some night and/or weekend activities. You will join Katie, our Community Engagement Coordinator, and Caroline, our Youth Engagement Coordinator, to round out our inaugural MassLIFT-Americorps team!

MassLIFT-AmeriCorps members engage with their supervisors to develop and carry out three or more capacity building projects over the course of the service term. Some of these projects will involve recruiting, training, and/or managing community volunteers. Grow Food Northampton has proposed the following projects for its Land Stewardship Coordinator, to be further developed with consideration of the member’s interests and skills:

  • Plan and manage, with some supervision, the Giving Garden, a ½-acre organic farm growing produce for donation to soup kitchens and food pantries. Duties include cover crop and vegetable crop management and rotations to support soil and plant health and sustainable yields, equipment maintenance, training and supervision of labor (including volunteers and interns), coordination with Youth Education Coordinator on bed preparation and other tasks to integrate youth field trip activities, and creation of a farm plan for the Giving Garden for future years.
  • Collaboratively develop, and begin to implement, a Property Management Plan for the 120-acre community farm that addresses lease management, farmer recruitment and retention, infrastructure planning, field edge maintenance, floodplain and climate risk mitigation, greenway integration along the Mill River, and productive conservation options on sensitive land.
  • Assist Community Garden Manager with duties related to management of common spaces and empty plots in the garden, including training and supervision of volunteers.

Essential Qualifications:

  • Knowledge and direct experience of small-scale vegetable-centered agriculture
  • Experience with (or demonstrated ability to learn) operation and maintenance of two-wheeled tractor and other small machinery
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Physical and mental ability to serve independently in both an office and field setting under sometimes demanding conditions, including lifting 50 pounds regularly and performing repetitive field tasks
  • Competence utilizing web browsers, word processors, spreadsheets, and email, and ability to quickly learn new programs, including online databases and farm management systems

Desired Qualifications:

  • Degree in sustainable agriculture, agronomy, soil science, or related field
  • Experience training and managing volunteers
  • Proven ability to work well with young people ages 5 to 18
  • Familiarity with seed starting and seedling care, vegetable disease management, crop rotation principles and practices, harvest criteria and techniques, post-harvest handling, and related topics
  • Familiarity with local farmers and the farming community, challenges faced by beginning farmers, and lease terms and conditions
  • Ability to use GPS for field mapping
  • Familiarity with floodplain environments, invasive species, and related issues balancing agricultural and environmental objectives

For questions about this service position, contact Clem Clay (clem@growfoodnorthampton.com or 413.320.4799×101).

How to Apply

Hosting organizations, service positions, and application procedures are described at the MassLIFT-AmeriCorps website: masslift.org. For questions about MassLIFT-AmeriCorps, contact Sean Pollock, Program Director, at Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust. Email admin@masslift.org or call 978-248-2043 x16.

A complete member application includes a 1- 2 page cover letter, a resume, three references, and an application form. Download the application from the Join MassLIFT website. Scan your cover letter, resume, and completed form into one PDF file (in that order) and email it to admin@masslift.org. Member applications will be available for viewing by all of our host sites. Do not send applications directly to a host site. The program aims to fill all positions by mid-January, but host sites will continue as needed until all positions are filled.

Program Background

There are 30 MassLIFT – AmeriCorps positions being offered statewide through the Massachusetts Land Initiative for Tomorrow (MassLIFT), an AmeriCorps program managed by Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust. All members: carry out capacity building projects; educate or train individuals in environmental stewardship; manage community volunteers engaged in land conservation activities; and identify new people to participate in education, recreation, or service opportunities that address land conservation needs. Application specifics, position descriptions, and info about organizations hosting MassLIFT members can be found at masslift.org.

AmeriCorps programs provide equal service opportunities. MassLIFT will recruit and select persons in all positions to ensure a diverse and inclusive climate without regard to class, race, religion, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, disability, veteran status, color, political affiliation, creed, national origin, marital status, or any other status as protected by federal, state, and local laws. We encourage applications from individuals with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations for interviews and service upon request.

The Massachusetts Land Initiative for Tomorrow (MassLIFT) was established in 2010 under the leadership of Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust of Athol, Massachusetts. This AmeriCorps program is a collaborative effort of regional conservation organizations (including urban conservation and gardening efforts) seeking to increase their capacity to engage with more people and do more community conservation projects across Massachusetts. MassLIFT AmeriCorps is a grant program contingent on federal funding through the Corporation of National and Community Service.

Position Information

Land Stewardship Coordinators (LSC) build the long-term capacity of their host sites to meet core land stewardship responsibilities and collaborate externally with municipal boards and local, volunteer land trusts and other community groups to develop sustainable volunteer stewardship programs.

Specifically, the LSC builds networks of volunteers to support community land stewardship needs. They organize, train, and collaborate with municipal boards, neighborhood and civic associations, youth groups, and schools to steward conservation land. With volunteers, LSCs survey and monitor conservation land, build and maintain recreational trails, remove invasive plants, restore wildlife habitat, mitigate erosion, and improve public access to open spaces. By providing training and organizing collaborative stewardship projects, they increase access to funding for community projects, demonstrate environmentally responsible land management, help individuals build skills, and nurture an inclusive sense of public ownership in the local landscape. LSCs spend roughly 60% of their time in the office and 40% in the field.