Jobs

Executive Director Organic Growers School
Asheville, NC

Organic Growers School is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that inspires, educates, and supports people to farm, garden and live organically. We are building a mutually supportive network of prosperous farmers, knowledgeable gardeners, and informed consumers committed to creating thriving communities.

OGS seeks an Executive Director to start work before December 1, 2013.

Responsibilities include:
Program Development & Evaluation

  • Facilitate regular and strategic evaluation of programs as they mature to ensure they remain effective, applying short and long range vision to projects for the benefit of OGS and its clients.
  • Maintain organizational resources to ensure that they are adequate for quality program delivery

Human Resources

  • Engage and energize board members, funders, and volunteers toward OGS mission and goals
  • Recruit, hire, train, and supervise staff; discharge staff as needed; and carry out routine staff evaluations – to accomplish the mission of OGS
  • Encourage active committees of the board, serving on each committee and assisting committee chairs with committee directives

Administration & Policy Guidance

  • Ensure that OGS is up-to-date with all relevant local, state, and federal policies regarding nonprofit work
  • Complete, or cause to be completed, any paperwork or administrative functions required for on-going general business of OGS

Finance & Fundraising

  • Develop and maintain a balanced budget
  • Expand revenue through a diversity of sources including, but not limited to, grant writing, sponsorship solicitation, and earned income
  • Increase funding and in-kind resource opportunities for OGS via networking /partnerships / relationships
  • Manage an accounting system using software such as Quickbooks and accepted accounting practices

Strategy

  • Assist the Board of Directors in developing strategic goals that will further the organization’s mission and core values
  • Recommend appropriate timelines and estimate resources needed to attain strategic goals
  • Recognize opportunities, and understand the context and climate surrounding OGS’ work in the community.

Communications

  • Act as the public face of the organization, and maintain contact with community partners
  • Provide leadership to refine all aspects of communications and marketing – from social media, web presence, and e-news to visual marketing and external relationships, expanding OGS’ brand and deepening awareness of OGS’ work
  • Encourage free-flowing internal communication amongst staff and board to ensure organizational efficiency

Additional Details:
– Must be willing to commute to Asheville
– Must demonstrate adequate education and/or experience and demonstrated ability to do the job
– A demonstrated ability to develop and implement new programs is a plus
– Demonstrated grant writing and fundraising skills
– Must have ability to multi-task, and a willingness to handle an array of variable tasks
– Must have excellent communication, writing, and public speaking skills
– Prefer some history of working in a small-scale nonprofit organization
– Must be adaptive and willing to pitch in to solve problems on short notice
– Strong preference for candidates with a familiarity with organic agriculture, organic gardening, and local food

We offer a salaried position to pay $30,000 per year with the possibility of annual increases based on performance. The workplace is home-based virtual office at present but a physical office in the Asheville area is expected to be established in 2014.

Send cover letter , resume, and references to jobs@organicgrowersschool.org by November 6th
Please do not call the organization with inquiries.

 

 

Organization Background and History

MISSION

Organic Growers School inspires, educates, and supports people to farm, garden, and live organically.

VISION

Organic Growers School is the premier provider of practical organic education in the Southern Appalachians. We are building a mutually supportive network of prosperous farmers, productive gardeners and informed consumers engaged in creating healthy communities.

History of Organic Growers School

In 1993, a group of farmers and specialists gathered to discuss the growing need for a conference that addressed the nuts and bolts, region specific, crop-growing information applicable for farmers in Western North Carolina. The Organic Growers School (OGS) is a grassroots organization that grew out of the Spring Conference and has since expanded to include CRAFT, Apprentice Link, and other initiatives.

Organic Growers School Spring Event

• On February 21, 1994 the First Organic Vegetable Growers School was held at the Research and Extension Center in Fletcher, NC. This was the first organic growers school in the state. One hundred people attended. Throughout the years from 94-98, the school moved between the Research Station and Warren Wilson College, and the proceeds were donated to different non- profits willing to assume the role of fiscal agent over the event.

• From 1998-2001, the school was held at Highland Lake Inn and Blue Ridge Community College, and there was a paid coordinator. Attendance rose from about 230 people to around 400 in 2000. Carolina Farm Stewardship Association was the fiscal agent.

• From 2001 to 2005 the attendance rose from 500 to 800 and CFSA and WNC Coalition for Social Concerns were fiscal agents. In 2005 OGS incorporated as a non-profit organization.

• In 2006 we hired a spring conference coordinator. The event was held at Blue Ridge Community College from 2006-2009, and attendance rose from 900 to 1300.

• In 2010, the event moved to UNCA, where it is held currently. Attendance in 2012 was nearly 2000.

Future plans for the Conference include appealing to a wider demographic, offering more scholarships, maintaining class lineups that are parallel with OGS’ strategic directives, and raising more money for OGS via the Conference.

Organic Growers School CRAFT program

From 2004-2006, OGS initiated several models of programming that sought to reach an audience of commercial farmers and aspiring commercial farmers explicitly. Through partnerships with NC Cooperative Extension and NC A&T University, we reached out to roughly 200 farmers or aspiring farmers with education in those years.

As these programs lost funding or leadership (due to staff and board downsizing in 2006), the Farmer Education committee began to rework the approach to farmer education.

In 2009, the OGS Director and the farmer ed. committee partnered with area farmers to establish the CRAFT-WNC Farmer Training Initiative, in which established farmers mentor their interns and other member farmers’ interns, as well as young aspiring farmers not working on area farms in tenets of sustainable agriculture. The program’s curriculum is set up as a series of farm tours in which the farmers lead the group through a pre-determined checklist of their farm’s components/operations, and then focus in on one area of expertise. In its first year, CRAFT had 13 farm members and workshops averaged 30 people.

Since its inception, the program has grown to more than 45 farm members and 100 student or intern members. In conjunction with two fellow Asheville- area non-profits, the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) and Mountain BizWorks (MBW), OGS wrote and received three years of funding from the USDA to support a staff member to administrate CRAFT and expand the program into Eastern Tennessee and conduct feasibility for expansion into upstate South Carolina. CRAFT Southeast launched in spring 2012 in the Chattanooga area. In addition to satellite programs, CRAFT is expanding to include winter farmer round tables during the off-season.

Future goals for the CRAFT program include the creation of sub-regional CRAFT networks, refinement of the CRAFT curriculum, development of more year-round programming, a wintertime farmer’s conference, and funding for full-time farmer programs staff. CRAFT serves as OGS’ bridge to partnerships and areas of service that go beyond production education, such as access to land and capital.

Organic Growers School Apprentice Link program

Apprentice Link is a farmer-to-worker matching service that is based on the Internet. Farmers and farm workers alike can go online, create a profile, and enter themselves into a database that advertises their ability according to specific criteria. The goal of the program is to attract more farm workers to the region, assist farmers in setting up successful labor programs on small farms, and reduce the difficulty of finding workers for area growers. In addition to the database, OGS staff provides consulting for farmers in understanding how to hire and maintain workers on the farm.

NC Apprentice Link started in 2009 as a database for NC farms available for interns to search, and apply for farm work. In the years since, the service has grown to include farms outside of the state of NC, and the name has been changed to reflect a broader client base. Through success in matching and plain advertising, the service has grown on a very slim budget to include over 40 farms and close to 100 interested farm workers. Due to such growth, OGS renovated the online component in 2012 to include better search ability and functionality.