The Michigan State University (MSU) division of Student Life and Engagement (SLE) is seeking an Assistant Program Manager for a new initiative to advance several key objectives in the MSU Strategic Plan 2030 (https://strategicplan.msu.edu/strategic-plan).
Under the direction of the Assistant Vice President for Culinary Services and the Director of the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE), this person will be responsible for the management of the MSU Student Organic Farm (SOF) and expanding
new programming and experiential learning associated with the below listed pillars:
- Carbon neutral campus dining
- Intersectional agriculture, indigenous foodways, food sovereignty
- Re-visioning our Land Grant commitment
- Critical food pedagogy
- Human and planetary health linkages
- Student sense of place and belonging
- Agroecological practices
The Assistant Program Manager will coordinate all aspects of farm production, supervise and mentor student employees and volunteers, and serve as the public face of the farm to the campus community and external stakeholders. In addition, the Assistant Program
Manager will take the lead on advancing new campus partnerships and programming as determined by the SOF visioning committee.
This person will facilitate the creation of student success programming at the SOF, advance undergraduate engagement with sustainable food systems through a variety of high impact practices, and provide the MSU community with a robust living learning laboratory
for the advancement of food justice locally and globally.
About the Student Organic Farm
Founded in 2002, the MSU Student Organic Farm (SOF) is a place for undergraduate place-based experiential learning. Located 3 miles south of campus
and situated at the Horticulture Teaching and Research Center, the SOF is a certified organic, diversified vegetable production farm that boasts 9 passive solar hoophouses, 8 acres of fields under cultivation, and a half-acre permaculture-style Edible Forest
Garden. Infrastructure and equipment includes: a fully equipped wash-pack shed, coolers, nursery greenhouse, tractor shed, equipment shed, workhouse, hoop barn for deep bed swine production, one walk-behind 2-wheel tractor, two riding 4-wheel tractors, tiller,
brush hog, waterwheel transplanter, various mechanical cultivation implements, and hand tools. The SOF offers a weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share to 190 community members. Students are also growing food for their peers with 25% of our crops
being served in campus dining halls.
Our students value this space as a place to get off their screens and into their bodies. The SOF is a place where undergraduates develop their self-esteem and confidence especially under the duress of Covid. For students working on the farm, being in close
contact with nature, working as a team, and growing food for the community, offers refuge and a sense of agency to make change as engaged citizens.
Unit Specific Education/Experience/Skills
Knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in Animal Science or Crop and Soil Science or agricultural field related to the area of employment; one to three years of related and progressively
more responsible or expansive work experience in supervision, all areas of farm work/production within specific animal groups and/or crops related to the area of employment; experience in computer usage; and knowledge of farm equipment; or an equivalent combination
of education and experience; the job may require a Pest Applicators Certification.
Student Organic Farm specific experiences:
- Whole-farm planning and management, crew scheduling, crop planning, farm budgeting
- Experience teaching, mentoring, and/or facilitating experiential learning
- Experience with managing CSA or farmstand/market sales
- Comfortable with year-round physical labor outdoors
- Willingness to receive feedback and seek support when needed
- Strong communication skills both verbal and written
- Track record of working collaboratively with diverse audiences
The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 5 years diversified vegetable production experience. Certified organic farm experience is preferred, as well as significant experience training and mentoring students on-farm. The candidate should have a demonstrated
record of interdisciplinary collaboration, innovative problem-solving, and engagement with current food systems challenges and critiques. We are seeking candidates who are passionate about large scale change as articulated in the MSU 2030 Strategic Plan,
and the core mission of MSU. Ability to connect with the broader food community such as non-profits, local food policy movements, foodsheds, community gardens, is also desired of the candidate.