Washington State: Common Threads Farm seeks AmeriCorps*VISTA Youth Garden Corps Coordinator

24 Jan

Mission and Overview

The AmeriCorps*VISTA member will provide leadership in developing and implementing our Youth Garden Corps project, the goals of which are to:

Ø      Provide garden and cooking-based employment, job training and leadership development to low-income youth

Ø      Increase production of healthful affordable foods in identified low-income communities

Ø      Increase access to and awareness of healthful affordable foods in identified low-income communities through mobile farm stand (Bounty Mobile) food sales as well as nutrition education and cooking demonstrations in low-income communities.

The ideal VISTA candidate will have a background in small scale farm management, food production and sales, teaching and working with youth (in particular low-income youth), and will possess excellent problem-solving and communication skills, both oral and written.

About Common Threads Farm

Common Threads Farm is a Bellingham based nonprofit whose mission is to cultivate connections between people, food and community through seed-to-table educational experiences. We do this both through our work with schools in the Whatcom County School Garden Collective (a project of CTF), through partnership with other nonprofits, and through programs run out of our Fairhaven farm site, Bobbibrook Farm. The Youth Garden Corps project will allow us to expand our services to teens, in particular those who are low income and/or food insecure.

About AmeriCorps*VISTA

This position is funded through the AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program.  The mission of the VISTA program is to build capacity in non-profit organizations and the communities they serve to help bring individuals and communities out of poverty. This one-year volunteer position provides a living allowance and benefits (see below).

VISTA Volunteer Duties and Responsibilities

The AmeriCorps*VISTA will work closely with the Common Threads Farm Executive Director to develop all aspects of this project which will include:

Ø      Recruiting, hiring, training and supervising Youth Garden Corps members

Ø      Working with youth to develop and implement a farm and market plan which will include a mobile farm stand with regularly scheduled weekly stops at designated sites in low-income communities providing food for purchase with EBT (or cash)

Ø      Partnering with Youth Services agencies as appropriate to design and deliver a comprehensive job training/youth development curriculum for participating youth which will include: resume writing, interview skills, communication skills, conflict resolution, financial literacy, public speaking, customer service, food production and farm stand operation

Ø      Working to develop sustained project support and funding

Ø      Securing all materials, equipment and supplies for successful youth-run food production operation.

Skills and Qualifications

Ø      Strong teaching, leadership and communication skills

Ø      Experience in small scale farm management

Ø      Experience in food production and sales

Ø      Experience and ease working with diverse ethnic and socioeconomic communities and their advocates, notably communities affected by poverty

Ø      Passion for connecting people with healthy food, from seed-to-table

Ø      Experience working with youth in outdoor settings

Ø      Ability to work both independently and as part of a team

Ø      Ability to meet deadlines, prioritize multiple tasks, and take initiative

Ø      Ability to travel between multiple service sites via personal vehicle or public transit

Ø      Flexibility, humor, and creativity!


(see VISTA terms, conditions, and benefits at http://vistacampus.org )

Ø      $858 monthly service stipend

Ø      Education Award of $5550 OR End of Service Stipend of $1500 upon completion of service

Ø      Relocation Allowance: Members serving a 12-Month term and moving from their home of record to their project site residence are eligible for this allowance, not to exceed $550.

Ø      Child Care Allowance (max of $400 per child per month to qualifying members)

Ø      Life Insurance: members may purchase life insurance through AmeriCorps* VISTA

Ø      Health Care Support: Coverage by the AmeriCorps*VISTA Health Benefits Program

Ø      Student Loan Deferment

Ø      Possible Basic Food Benefits (ask for more details)

Application Parameters

Position is open until filled. Preference given to applications received by Monday, Feb. 7, 2011.  Applicant must be able to attend PSO (Pre-Service Orientation) April 4-8, 2011.

Position starts on Monday, April 11h, 2010 and ends Wednesday, April 11, 2012.


All applicants must file an online application with AmeriCorps: http://www.americorps.gov/

Click “advanced program search” and enter “common threads farm” under program name.


Please send a cover letter and CV or resume to:

Laura Plaut, Executive Director

Common Threads Farm

PO Box 4465

Bellingham, WA 98227

For more information:

Phone: 360.927.1590

E-mail: laura@commonthreadsfarm.org



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