Job: School & Community Garden Coordinator, Michigan

ISLAND is seeking candidates to fill a single part- to full-time position coordinating both the Central Lake Elementary Garden (Antrim County) and the Rapid City Community Garden (Kalkaska County). The goals of the position are to:

  • build, grow and maintain gardens at each school
  • connect the gardens to the after-school programs, classrooms, lunchrooms and community
The staffer will be required to coordinate and comunicate with elementary school students, teachers, administrators and staff, as well as community members, PTA, ISLAND staff and FoodCorp members.

Staffer will be based out of ISLAND’s office in Bellaire and/or a home office, but will primarily work at the gardens on the schools’ grounds. Work hours will fall primarily between 7am and 3pm for Rapid City and 4pm to 6pm for Central Lake, though occasional weekend and evening hours may be required. Staffer will work a combination of self-set and  prescheduled hours within the weekly times allotted; a great deal of personal responsibility is expected. Total work hours will vary by week (with more hours in gardening months) but will not exceed 32 hours/week. Staffer will report directly to the ISLAND program coordinator but is expected to maintain excellent communication with all stakeholders.

Duties and Responsibilities (with assistance from ISLAND staff and others):
(1) Grow the Garden

  • Coordinate the garden design.
  • Maintain a garden budget, including sourcing discounted and donated materials and equipment.
  • Purchase, start and plant seeds.
  • Amend the soil, manage composting, crop rotation and cover crops.
  • Oversee roto-tilling and/or raised bed construction.
  • Manage pests and weeds.
  • Buy or lease tools, maintain and care for equipment.
  • All other tasks as required to create and maintain bountiful and beautiful garden spaces.

(2) Involve the Schools

  • Work with Central Lake Elementary students after school, one to three days a week, to explore the garden and pursue after-school activities that are fun and hands-on.
  • Work with FoodCorp staff on garden and lunchroom projects.
  • Research, develop and coordinate “drop-in” grade-level specific lessons (GLCES) and other curriculum for K-5 students at Rapid City Elementary.
  • Evaluate and report on programming to both school staff and ISLAND administrators, and provide content for email outreach, newsletters, web content and presentations on the projects.

(3) Involve the Community

  • Coordinate the community garden at Rapid City: recruiting gardeners, overseeing lease arrangements, hosting workshops, administering the program (in partnership with ISLAND) and communicating about progress with all stakeholders.
  • Recruit and organize community volunteers to support both gardens throughout the summer.
  • Facilitate communication between host organizations, school administration, FoodCorps staff and the community.


  • Master Gardener certification or equivalent experience.
  • A college degree is preferred.
  • Experience in raising food using organic methods and in developing beautiful and robust gardens, including season extension techniques.
  • Experience working with and instructing children ages 5 to 10. A background check is required.
  • A strong affinity with ISLAND’s mission, as well as knowledge of current issues around food, health and sustainable agriculture.
  • Applicants must be personable, talented and possess a high degree of personal responsibility; applicants must also be excellent communicators and project managers.
  • Experience in recruiting and managing volunteers.
  • A cell phone, personal computer and reliable transportation is required.
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule.
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively.
  • Computer literate (email, Word/Excel or equivalent).
  • Good physical condition and ability/willingness to participate in physical labor. Capacity to lift and carry 40 pounds.
  • Ability and willingness to work in a wide range of temperatures, weather and terrains.
  • A passion for gardens, food, youth and community, and the drive to see projects through to completion.

$12/hour, plus a mileage stipend of .50/mile (not including commute). This is a one-year appointment, beginning in March 2011 and to be extended conditional on funding.

To Apply
Submit a resume, two professional references and a letter of interest by February 28th to:
ISLAND Garden Project
5870 Cottage Drive
Bellaire, MI 49615

Emailed applications are also acceptable. Contact Brad Kik with any questions: (231) 480-4515 or

ISLAND is a non-profit arts and ecology center dedicated to connecting people with nature, art and community. ISLAND helps
people become native to place by:

  • Supporting artists — visionaries, conceptual explorers and compelling communicators — with dedicated time, space and resources to create new work;
  • Restoring the old and developing the new skills and traditions of community self-reliance;
  • Creating and sharing a broad collection of tools for ecological living.

Learn more about ISLAND at

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