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Farm Manager

homeless garden job header

HOURS: 40 hours/week, occasional weekends, holidays and evenings

BENEFITS: Health benefits, 16 days paid vacation, ~8 days paid sick leave, 9 days
paid holiday

REPORTS TO: Director of Operations

AREA OF FOCUS: Farming and Agriculture, Social Entrepreneurship,
Homelessness, Job training, Community focus

ABOUT US: The Homeless Garden Project (HGP), a 501c3 nonprofit based in Santa Cruz, CA, provides job training, transitional employment and support services to people experiencing homelessness. In complement, HGP operates a vibrant community volunteer and education program serving the broader community. The training, employment, education and volunteer programs take place in a 3.5 organic farm and related enterprises.

Products produced in the training program are sold through farm and Value-added Enterprises. The farm enterprises include a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and a farm stand. The farm provides the raw materials for the Value-added Enterprise which consists of a retail store, an online store, and wholesale to other retailers. Production provides for a real work environment and is also a meaningful source of revenue for the Project.

HGP seeks an experienced, effective and dedicated individual to lead management of the farm. We specifically seek an enthusiastic, outgoing and organized person skilled in agriculture, production, marketing, and building partnerships. The ideal candidate will also have a sincere commitment to ending homelessness and have experience working with individuals experiencing homelessness and/or mental health challenges. The Farm Manager will have overall responsibility to create and sustain the farm as an effective training site, and an economically robust farm with exemplary sustainable agriculture practices. The Farm Manager will have a focus on farm system and enterprise management, and programmatic support and education on the farm.

HGP is currently going through an exciting period of growth, preparing to move our farm from its temporary 3.5-acre site to a permanent expanded farm site.

POSITION DESCRIPTION: Under the general supervision of the Director of Operations, the Farm Manager oversees all aspects of the farm operations, including not limited to: production of agriculture crops, sales channels (CSA, farm stand), value-added crops, trainee education and supervision, volunteer and community engagement, and the farm business planning and management. In addition, the Farm Manager will have a crucial role in supporting the planning and development of HGP’s new expanded farm site.

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Farm Production:
    • Manage all elements of farm production operations, including crop planning, sowing/planting/harvesting, irrigation, weed and pest management, soil fertility, and more.
    • Oversee farm budget, monitoring revenue goals and farm expenses.
    • Work with the Director of Operations to evaluate sales channels, set revenue goals, and consider growth opportunities.
    • Ensure that all necessary materials and supplies are acquired in a timely manner and all equipment is properly maintained and cared for.
    • Manage direct reports - Crop Production Manager and Weekend Farm Steward - to support farm operations.
    • Manage sales channels - overseeing all elements of CSA and farm stand operations.
    • Develop and maintain relevant records necessary for measuring progress toward business goals; monitor progress and adjust accordingly.
    • Oversee all applicable certification and license processes, such as CCOF.
    • Lead the creation and maintenance of thorough and accurate farm processes including planting, weeding, watering and harvesting schedules; yields; ground prep; winterizing, pest management, soil fertility, & more.
    • Promote farm safety through regular trainings and safety assessments.
    • Coordinate with the Volunteer Coordinator to support farm volunteers, including individuals and large groups.
    • Coordinate with the Development Director and others to support special events held at the farm, which may utilize farm space and crops.
    • Work with the Value-Added Enterprise & Retail Manager to set and track value-added crop production goals.
    • Support the planning and development process for HGP’s new farm site at Pogonip.
    • Other duties as assigned.
  • Transitional Employment & Training Program
    • Work with the Program Manager to ensure farm operations support an effective program utilizing program guidelines.
    • Develop weekly and daily work plans for the trainee crew during the farm season; share and collaborate with the Training and Education Supervisor on a weekly basis to ensure trainees have a clear work plan.
    • Assist the Training & Education Supervisor in trainee supervision and management.
    • Deliver training in horticulture skills through occasional farm demonstrations for the trainee crew.
    • Provide support and help facilitate the employment training program on the farm, enforcing the rules and policies of HGP.
    • Support and reinforce training in general work skills and behaviors, such as problem solving, communication and social skills.

SKILLS:

  • Strong physical labor skills (e.g. sit, stand, bend, lift, walk, carry)
  • Strong knowledge of organic gardening methods
  • Demonstrated ability to make assignments and follow up on completion/evaluation
  • Demonstrated ability to both follow and give directions & seek assistance
  • Requires ability to work early morning hours, evening hours and weekends; in all weather conditions
  • Demonstrated ability to organize, delegate, give direction, monitor others
  • Demonstrated ability to operate farm equipment such as: tiller, mower

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • An academic degree or equivalent work experience in organic farming
  • Five years of very broad horticultural/agriculture experience
  • Experience supervising persons coping with difficult life challenges
  • Experience managing—or helping to manage—a small business
  • Ability to work successfully as part of a team
  • Leadership skills to inspire others to do their best, meets deadlines; and manages complex responsibilities without losing her sense of humor
  • Able to work effectively with all populations to include: individuals with complex mental health issues, disadvantaged youth, homeless, students and community members

DESIRABLE SKILLS & QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Bi-lingual/bi-cultural background
  • Effective and positive interpersonal and management skills
  • Experience with creating and managing budgets
  • Commitment to sustainable agriculture and food systems
  • Experience with social justice issues and affected populations a plus
  • Understanding of and experience implementing conservation efforts on a working farm.

HOW TO APPLY: Please send a cover letter, resume, and 3 references to Darrie Ganzhorn, Executive Director, at darrieg@homelessgardenproject.org. We will review materials and schedule interviews on a rolling basis, no calls please.

Full job description can be found here.