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Posted 2/21/2015

Part-Time Position

Job Title: Home-Grower Program Developer

Description:

The purpose of this program is to increase the number of people who are successfully growing food organically on a home scale in Western NC. To that end, the Program Developer (PD) will support the creation of our Get Growing consulting/coaching program focused on meeting these home-grower needs. The PD will be part of a team that conducts assessments, gathers information, plans, designs, implements and manages the new program. Additionally, the PD’s role is to build the structure for and maintenance of solid working relationships with local small business collaborators to develop and deliver products and services to home growers.

Task include:

Program Development

  • Thorough assessments of needs, trends, demographics, and similar programs nationwide.
  • Creation of a strategic plan, including a full business plan with accompanying financial and funding plans, marketing plans, timelines, etc.
  • Design of the organizational structure, management team, and partnership models used internally and externally with partnerships.
  • Conduct strategic relationship building with regional collaborators (landscaping, educational, installation, and permaculture services) to build a core of members and a sub-core of one-on-one educators.
  • Develop the outreach and marketing campaign including brand development, promotions, and oversight of the public awareness coordinator.
  • Fundraising as needed.
  • Implementation of the program, including all aspects of management, strategic direction, and on-the-ground projects.

Hourly Rate: $15/hr.

Duration: Ends December 31, 2015. Continuation of position will be determined by the success of the project, funding resources, and board approval.

Hours: 20 hours per week.

Location: OGS offices at AB Tech Small Business Center in Enka/Candler.

Requirements:

  • Proven business planning experience.
  • Experience with home-growing, homesteading, farming, or other land-based work.
  • Financial literacy & strong management experience.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • A passion and gift for collaboration in the broadest sense and strong independent leadership in the day-to-day sense.
  • Creative. Flexible. Problem Solver. Systems Thinker.
  • Solid people sills.
  • Familiarity with sustainable growing practices & sustainable food systems in Western NC.
  • Computer & internet literate including MS Office, Google docs, Abode CS or similar, Quickbooks.
  • Experience with marketing, including print campaigns, online, social media, and branding.

Outcome: Organic Growers School has been educating commercial farmers, urban farmers, homesteaders, permaculturalists, and rural growers for more than 22 years. 2014 saw an increase in our programs for home and community growers, yet we continue to see a strong need in the home and community growing populations for support, skill and confidence building, and social motivation. Our recent strategic plan emphasizes these two goals in the home-grower area: 1. To increase the number of people who are successfully growing on a home and community scale.  2. To increase public and community support for home and community growing.

Our specific strategies for meeting the above goals are as follows:

Strategy 1: OGS encourages home growers of all stages. We help them move along the spectrum to confident, empowered, excited about their food sovereignty, skills, and health by:

  1. Education
  2. Consulting
  3. Access to Resources
  4. Support & Networking
  5. Public Awareness Campaigns
  6. Partnerships

Strategy 2: OGS creates a energized and vibrant interest in growing that grows into a movement through:

  1. Support & Networks
  2. Public Awareness Campaigns
  3. Partnerships

These are vitally important areas of development for any region interested in food resiliency. Imagine 20 million gardens in the US today (the number of Victory Gardens in the 1944 US). Imagine 50 million lawns, parks, and community gardens made productive. Imagine 40-50 percent of our food grown regionally by the very people eating it. We see home and community growers as central, dynamic, and vital partners in the development of the sustainable food movement.

It is our goal to inspire the average person towards personal confidence through education, one-on-one support, and public awareness. First by increasing the desire to reengage with food production by radically changing the public image of small-scale agriculture in order to demystify the role of food & growing in our lives. We want to change the way people feel about the kitchen, pantry, garden and chicken yard. Secondly, we’d like to help people build excitement and skill in food production, processing, and preparation in order to help them build a sense of confidence and an increase their food security.

The ultimate outcome is an empowered population, successfully growing organically on a home- and community-garden scale, who are financially and nutritionally resourced, ready to take a seat at the political table and use their voice to advocate for more equitable, sustainable and accessible food systems and a vibrant, engaged community.

How to Apply: Please send cover letter, resume, & references to jobs@organicgrowersschool.org and be sure to put “Home-Grower Program Developer” in the subject line as we have more than one position open. Position will be open until filled.

About Us: 

MISSION: Organic Growers School is a 501c3 nonprofit, which 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.

Counties we Serve: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Yancey, Polk, Rutherford

Our History & Work: The Organic Growers School is a 501c3 non-profit organization that grew out of the volunteer efforts of a group of farmers and extension specialists who, in 1993, gathered to discuss the need for nuts and bolts, region-specific crop growing information applicable for farmers in Western North Carolina. From this meeting, OGS was born, along with a mission to deliver practical information about organic agriculture at a reasonable price.

A History of Home-Growing:

150 years ago 90% of the population farmed. These land-based families provided their own food, fuel, clothing, lighting, transportation, and storage systems. 100 years ago, 50% of people farmed and much of the other 50% had basic food, cooking, and growing skills. During the first and second world wars, 20 million Victory Gardens provided up to 45% of fruits and vegetables consumed in the US. We were a nation of growers.

Today, less than 2% of people in this country farm.

While the industrial revolution promised to “liberate” us from rural life and physical toil, it has created more problems than it has solved. Chemically-based methods and GMO foods are compromising our health and our environment and the promise of mechanized agriculture to feed the world has fallen short. According to the statistics on world hunger, 842 million people in the world are food insecure.  According to A Nation of Farmers, “The cost of flying in food from far away and shipping it across the country in refrigerated trucks is rapidly becoming unviable. More Americans than ever before require food stamps and food pantries just to get by, and a worldwide food crisis is unfolding, overseas and in our kitchens.”

The 2013 UN Trade & Environment Report recommends significant and rapid change in our food and farming systems. “Wake up before it is too late: Make Agriculture Truly Sustainable Now for Food Security in a Changing Climate,” is the title of the compilation of more than 60 international experts that contributed to creating the report. They say that “Rural poverty, persistent hunger around the world, growing populations, and mounting environmental concerns must be treated as a collective crisis. Urgent and far-reaching action is needed.”

From all sectors, research is showing that sustainable agriculture, in the form of agroecology and resilent local food systems, offer promise for addressing our failed food systems. The UN Human Rights Council is calling for the world’s food system to be “radically and democratically redesigned.” They recommend a rapid and significant shift away from “conventional, monoculture-based… industrial production” of food and instead, the goal should be “mosaics of sustainable regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers and foster rural development”.

There is no doubt that a resurgence of interest in sustainable agriculture is upon us. Western NC is a mecca for folks who want to learn about self-reliance. Yet over the last 50 to 100 years, we have produced a culture of food and farming illiterate people, not to mention a rising health care crisis, due in part to our disconnection from and lack of access to healthy food and cooking skills. There has been an epidemic loss of ancestral knowledge and of a local food community leaves people disconnected, disempowered, and insecure. Our food and growing heritage and culture are fragmented by the agribusiness agenda and our communities have little cohesion with regards to interdependence, skill-sharing, or celebration of food and growing.

Addressing the food crisis is going to take all of us. And we must start now. To create strengthened communities, reclaim food sovereignty (the eaters make the decisions about the food life cycle), and prepare for global energy peaks, and climate change, we must inspire, encourage, educate, and support the average person to grow food. We know that the small scale grower is the sustainable grower, which means planting a variety of crops, without chemicals, and eating fresh where the food is produced.

Now is the time. We must end our over-reliance on industrialized food systems and create a region of inspired, educated, and confident food growers.