Our Urban Initiative in Rockford helps urban people build local food systems, increasing community capacity to grow, get, and eat healthy, local food in the city. We use a participatory community development approach with leadership teams from partner organizations. These teams make decisions, engage participants, plan and implement food system projects, and develop leadership from the surrounding community. Staff provide technical assistance and training, and mobilize a broad network to access diverse resources, information, and volunteers to assist partner projects. Projects are evolving towards the development of micro-enterprises, either led by individual entrepreneurs and/or by community based organizations. Consistent with our participatory community development approach, we seek a staff person skilled with enterprise facilitation and small business development. Experience in the food and agriculture sectors is preferred.
Primary responsibilities include:
1. Provide program management leadership for the Learning Center’s Urban Initiative Rockford (40%)
o Co-develop annual department plans and budgets with departmental leadership team and community collaborators
o Manage department team to meet annual objectives and budgets
o Contribute to the narrative program sections of grant proposals
o Monitor and evaluate progress of the department
o Develop and help maintain procedures and organizational systems for department
o Write narrative progress reports on the department for the Learning Center, external communications, and grant reports.
o Lead department’s public communication efforts: respond to inquiries, write press releases, and provide program-related content for blog, e-news and webpage
o Provide leadership for civic-engagement activities and strategic community partnerships
2. Coach community leadership teams to plan, budget, implement and evaluate their food system projects, and to build capacities to sustain the projects. (30%)
o Support community leadership teams by: *Getting to know their project’s current structure, assets, barriers, future plans and key participants. * Connecting community leadership teams to appropriate informational, social,
or financial resources to support their project and vision. * Helping community leadership teams focus on their assets and creatively problem-solve about their barriers to success. o Related activities include: coordinating community outreach, facilitating partner meetings, developing curriculum, leading hands-on agricultural training, facilitating training and technical assistance to build leadership capacities, and providing project evaluation and documentation.
3. Provide enterprise facilitation support for individuals and community-based organizations emerging from the food system project initiatives. (30%)
o Assist entrepreneurs (youth and adult) to develop strategic business plans for their urban agriculture and food system enterprises.
o Assist entrepreneurs to secure access to training, land and infrastructure, financing, human resources, and markets.
o Provide entrepreneurs with options for legal and cooperative structures for their enterprises.
o Provide networking opportunities between leadership teams of urban agriculture sites in Chicago, Rockford and other locations.
o Contribute to team projects with Urban Initiative staff, including development of a comprehensive curriculum and methodology for working with groups and individuals.
o Manage recordkeeping and documentation of trainings and their outcomes.
o Collaborate with the Learning Center’s Farmer Training Initiative and Chicago Urban Initiative to leverage complementary training, technical assistance, and program support.
o Ability to spend 6 hours at a time on your feet outdoors in all weather, infrequently
o Ability to lift and carry heavy objects up to 50 lbs., infrequently Required Qualifications:
o Demonstrated experience in project, program, and/or organizational management
o Demonstrated experience with enterprise facilitation, small business development, and/or small business entrepreneurship.
o Experience with and understanding of the social, political, and economic climate for urban agriculture in Rockford, IL.
o Experience with cooperatives, worker collectives, and/or other forms for cooperative enterprises.
o Skills and grounding in popular education, community organizing, and asset-based development.
o Experience, familiarity, and/or passion with urban agriculture and local food systems.
o Ability to manage an urban farming site, and train others in topics such as: site selection, soil building, organic or Biodynamic growing techniques, harvesting, marketing, season extension, composting, beekeeping, food systems literacy, cooking and nutrition.
o Experience with community-based fundraising and capital campaigns, and/or accessing resources from community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and program related investments (PRIs).
o Oral and written literacy in English and other languages, especially Spanish.
o Excellent interpersonal and oral communication skills, plus strong skills in conflict resolution. Ability to consistently and effectively communicate in person, through email, and through written correspondence with diverse audiences, staff, and community members.
o Positive and productive team player.
o Reliable self-starter, with excellent ability to prioritize multiple responsibilities, followthrough, and meet deadlines.
o Highly organized, with excellent attention to detail.
o Ability to plan ahead, be prepared, and stay flexible.
o Experienced in cross-cultural environments, and with multiple age groups
o Internet literacy, and proficiency using Microsoft Word and Excel.
o Comfortable with worms, bees, soil, sweat, and bugs.
o Ability to work in the afternoon and evenings, including periodic weekends
o A commitment to the Learning Center’s mission and programs, its relationship building approach, and its foundational partnership with Angelic Organics, a Biodynamic community-supported agriculture farm.
o Access to a vehicle preferred.
Please familiarize yourself with our website at www.learngrowconnect.org. Then send your cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “Program Manager Rockford” in the subject line item of the email and submit all documents in a PDF format. No phone inquiries, please.