Job: CSA Farm Manager -Kalamazoo Nature Center, Michigan

Title: DeLano Farms CSA Grower/Manager Supervisor: V.P. of Education The Kalamazoo Nature Center is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to inspire people to care for the environment by providing experiences that lead them to understand their connection to the natural world. Summary of Position: The DeLano Farms Manager position is a regular, full-time position which will develop and manage a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Responsibilities include crop production, planning and management, staff supervision, budget management, planning, and shareholder relations.  This position will provide opportunities for KNC educators to involve the public in the operation to experience and learn about sustainable agriculture.  The DeLano Farms Manager reports to the Vice President of Education of the Kalamazoo Nature Center and works closely with the all KNC staff.  The position is full-time year round with a seasonally variable work schedule and will be required to be on-call with the farm at all times.

Duties:

  • · Develop and implement a plan for a financially sustainable CSA operation, following the DeLano Farms Master Plan, starting at 150 shares and growing over time to include up to 500 shareholders.
  • · Oversee the production of crops on a commercial scale, including planning, managing and participating in the planting, cultivation, irrigation and harvesting.
  • · Work closely with KNC education staff to provide the public with experiences to build their understanding of sustainable agriculture.
  • · Recruit, manage and supervise permanent and seasonal CSA staff.
  • · Assist with marketing and the management of shares, including shareholder relations.
  • · Assist with production of a regular newsletter.
  • · Prepare, oversee and manage CSA operating and capital budgets.
  • · Direct special projects including fencing, irrigation, carpentry and other capital projects.
  • · Help train seasonal CSA staff in safety regarding use of equipment and facilities.
  • · Participate in administering the apprenticeship and volunteer programs, train and oversee seasonal farm crew and volunteers in everyday tasks with help from the Assistant Farm Manager.
  • · Work effectively and cooperatively with other famers and KNC staff to help support the local agricultural economy.
  • · Participate in KNC’s green initiative and help promote KNC membership.
  • · Assist with special projects as assigned by the Vice President of Education.

Entrance Requirements:

  • · Minimum of 3 years commercial-scale organic vegetable crop production preferred.
  • · Demonstrate ability in labor, infrastructure, equipment, business management and experience in marketing helpful.
  • · Ability to communicate effectively with the public required.
  • · Understanding of CSA and agricultural principles, whole-farm planning, crop rotation, soil enhancement methods, soil science, and general ecological principles required.
  • · Experience with maintaining a small stock of animals helpful.
  • · Must have a good attitude, with a willingness to be flexible and a commitment to achieving the goals of the DeLano Farms while supporting the mission of the Kalamazoo Nature Center.
  • · Strong interpersonal, oral & written skills and the ability to work independently and as part of a diverse team.
  • · Detail oriented, creative and high energy
  • · Self-starter and self-directed
  • · Able to work on rough terrain in all weather conditions and able to lift 50 pounds
  • · Computer competency

Abilities and Skills:

The DeLano Farms Manager must possess a strong appreciation for farming, the land and the extraordinary agricultural and cultural history of the Kalamazoo Nature Center. The DeLano Farms Manager must enjoy working with people and must be able to work independently with a minimum of supervision.  This person must able be willing to learn new skills through professional development opportunities.

The DeLano farm is a part of the 1,100 acres owned by the Kalamazoo Nature Center, a not-for-profit organization which is open to the public.  The DeLano Farms Manager will work closely with the land management staff to integrate farm practices into the previously established land management plan.  Interpretive and educational programs will be developed, by the Education staff, to utilize the CSA and associated lands to inform visitors about the farm’s history and the role of agriculture in our society. In addition, management decisions will reflect sound resource protection and management principals. As a result, the DeLano Farms Manager must possess excellent people skills, and be able to accommodate the broad goals of the KNC.

Salary and Benefits:

Starting salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.  This position also includes an excellent fringe benefits package with group health insurance, vacation and sick pay, option to enroll in a flexible spending account and a company matching contributions to a simple IRA.  On-site housing is also available.

Send resume, cover letter, three references & salary requirements to:

Jenn Wright, Vice President of Education

JWright@naturecenter.org

Fax: 269-381-2557

Or mail to:

Kalamazoo Nature Center, Attn:  Jenn Wright, 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI  49009

Application Deadline: Open until filled

Because we value the strength diversity brings to the workplace, the Kalamazoo Nature Center is committed to the recruitment, retention, and development of a workforce that reflects the society in which we live.  We encourage applications from candidates representing diverse backgrounds.

The Kalamazoo Nature Center is an equal opportunity organization that will not discriminate in its programs or hiring practices on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, height, weight, sexual orientation or gender identity, marital status, or political affiliation.

General information about Kalamazoo, MI:

Kalamazoo is located in the beautiful southwest corner of Michigan’s lower- peninsula.  Situated approximately half way between Chicago, IL and Detroit, MI, Kalamazoo sits along the banks of the Kalamazoo River and is know for its appreciation of arts & culture, the biological science industry, bedding plant production and education, as seen with the recent announcement of the Kalamazoo Promise, a program which guarantees a free 4-year college tuition to all KPS graduates.

With a population of approximately 76,145 people in the city and about 190,000 in the surrounding area Kalamazoo is just big enough to have all of the modern amenities, but also has enough small, rural surrounding communities that ‘heading to the country’ is easily accomplished.

Agriculture is one of the largest industries in the region with an abundance of bedding plant growers as well as fruit and vegetable production.  There is also a very active ‘local foods’ movement in southwest Michigan, as proven with the growth of organizations such Fair Food Matters and several community garden projects.

For more info on the Kalamazoo region check out:   http://www.kalamazoocity.org/portal/index.php.

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