We’re Hiring: Director of Agriculture
Gaining Ground is a nonprofit, no-till organic farm in Concord, Massachusetts. Our mission is to provide free, fresh produce to people experiencing food insecurity. We do this with a diverse community of volunteers who work and learn with us on the farm. We cultivate approximately three acres of farmland leased from the Town of Concord and Massport. We will bring an additional 5 acres in the Minute Man National Historical Park into production over the coming years. Last year we grew and donated over 115,000 pounds of vegetables and fruit. Our grassroots organization thrives on committed, friendly individuals who support our mission with enthusiasm, a positive outlook, and a sense of humor.
Gaining Ground is looking for an exceptional candidate to fill the newly-created role of Director of Agriculture (start date: Fall 2023). The Director of Agriculture will possess significant experience with and knowledge of no-till, organic vegetable production; a demonstrated aptitude in managing a team of farmers and engaging with more than 3,000 annual volunteers; a positive, strategic mindset; and a healthy, self-motivated work ethic. This position requires a passionate commitment to hunger relief and equitable access to nutritious food.
The Director of Agriculture reports to the Executive Director, supervising a team of full-time, year-round staff (including Farm Managers) and seasonal staff across all farm sites. The Director is responsible for ensuring our commitment to food equity and human-centered, regenerative agriculture supported by no-till agriculture and volunteer engagement. The Director oversees all farm expansion projects, infrastructure development, and execution of strategic plan goals within Agriculture and Farming. The Director is responsible for building robust farming systems and a skilled team of growers across all farm sites within the budget. This position collaborates with a wide range of colleagues and partners to realize organizational agricultural goals and Gaining Ground’s strategic plan targets.
Core Roles include:
Farm Site Management/Oversight:
- Create a plan to bring our newly-licensed 5.1 acre field at the Minute Man National Park into production using our no-till, volunteer-driven system.
- Manage all aspects of our farm operations, including staff oversight, long and short-term operational planning and forecasting, stewardship of annual operating budgets, and ongoing reporting and evaluation.
- Responsible for the long-term success and sustainability of our farm sites.
- Create efficiencies across all farm sites throughout the organization (ex. bulk purchasing, farm planning, farmer training)
- Responsible for working with all farm managers to improve production, volunteer engagement, the ecological footprint of each farm, and commitment to no-till farming practices.
- Supervise and support the Farm Managers to meet the farm’s financial, production, volunteer, and programmatic demands while protecting soil fertility and staff wellbeing.
- Provide coaching and mentoring to all farm staff.
- Provide expertise and guidance in farming, supervision, and management to farm staff.
Budget and Program Oversight:
- Oversee all agriculture budgets.
- Responsible for the timely completion of regular farm-related and budget variance reports.
- Build out annual program plans with staff and ensure goals are being met, making adjustments when needed.
- Collaborate with the Executive Director and Board of Directors to develop and execute long-range expansion and program plans.
- Work towards the organizational goal of expanding food production by looking at ways to increase production at our current sites, and by evaluating potential new farm sites.
- Start up new farm sites from vision to reality – facilitating and implementing all phases of new site design and start-up.
- Build out a program to train more farmers in regenerative, no-till agriculture methods.
- Attend all core organizational meetings as an advocate for agricultural priorities and as an advisor for organizational growth.
- Represent Gaining Ground at events.
Qualifications: The position requires a strategic, energetic, and highly motivated farm management professional with a proven track record in successfully managing a public-facing farm. Top candidates will have:
- Excellent communication, collaboration, and leadership skills, including a proven track record of working in a cooperative team environment that requires a high level of planning and organization.
- Ability to work well with a variety of community members. In addition, the experience and desire to work with and teach new farm crew members and volunteers.
- A calm, grounded presence, and the ability to manage setbacks.
- Ability to see the big picture and manage multiple priorities without getting overwhelmed.
- A solutions-focused outlook and growth mindset.
- Deep humility, a good sense of humor, and a willingness to learn.
- Enthusiasm for Gaining Ground’s strategic goals.
- Commitment to equitable food access.
- Prior success driving the goals of a public-facing farm, including 5+ years of farm management experience.
- No-Till farming experience is required.
- Experience managing multiple farm sites.
- Farm start-up experience is a plus.
- Demonstrated experience managing agricultural operations and experience with general property/natural resource stewardship.
- Demonstrated supervisory and budget management experience.
- Excellent interpersonal skills, as well as strength in oral and written communications and the management of multiple tasks.
- An understanding of the local, regional, and national food system, and knowledge of Massachusetts agricultural and food systems-related stakeholders.
- A willingness and ability to work outdoors in all types of weather, under potentially strenuous conditions.
- A desire to produce food of the highest nutritional and ecological quality, and to continue to learn and grow as a person and farmer. Continuous personal development is encouraged and supported at Gaining Ground.
– A valid driver’s license
– Ability to use a large tractor and BCS
– Ability to lift a minimum of 50 pounds
– Cell phone communication
– Reliable transportation
– Satisfactory background and reference checks
This is a full-time job. During the growing season, a typical workweek is approximately 50-60 hours/week; in the off-season, the typical workweek is 25-30 hours/week. THESE ARE ESTIMATES. Some evenings and weekends are required during the growing season and for special events.
SALARY AND BENEFITS:
This position will provide a competitive salary based on the market and the applicant’s experience, among other factors. Typically, an annual evaluation will be conducted, at which time compensation levels are reviewed.
• Heath care stipend
• Generous paid vacation and sick time.
• Personal and professional development opportunities in consultation with the executive director.
• The opportunity to work, learn, inspire, and be inspired alongside dedicated staff and board on a beautiful organic farm in a unique community!
TO APPLY: Please send a resume, cover letter, and two farming-related references to:
Gaining Ground is an equal-opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment of belonging for all employees. We welcome all applicants regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, or marital status.