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Americorps VISTA – SBCA Youth Program Coordinator

Organization Description

The mission of the Somali Bantu Community Association (SBCA) is to provide vital transitional services, advocacy, and programming that empowers members of the refugee community to uphold cultural identity and thrive in their new life here in Lewiston/Auburn, Maine.

The main programmatic undertaking of the SBCA is the community farming program, Liberation Farms. It aims is to provide new American farmers access to, and culturally-appropriate resources for, the means of sustainable food production for themselves and their communities to bolster food and economic security. The program assists over 130 Somali Bantu farmers by providing access to land, seeds, trainings, technical assistance, and marketing.

Job Description

In September, 2020, SBCA established a 99 year rolling lease at a 104 acre farm in Wales, Maine, about 20 minutes from where most of our farmers live. As we transition to the 2021 season, there will be much work to build capacity on this property and to generate resources for this purpose. As the Somali Bantu community looks to our agri-cultural future, it is important to engage our young people in the opportunities this new farm/community center will provide.

We are seeking a Youth Program Coordinator to support this transition and this larger goal. The position will be split between our office in Lewiston, farm in Auburn, and new farm site in Wales. 

Schedule

July 6, 2021 – July 5, 2022

This is a full-time job with some flexibility around scheduling, which will be determined based on the individual we hire. 

Duties & Responsibilities

Help our organization transition to our new farm in Wales, Maine:

  • Engage and survey Somali Bantu youth to alert them to the new farm and evaluate their priorities for the farm in Wales.
  • Work closely with SBCA Property Manager to coordinate community events at the new farm.
    • Evaluate necessary equipment and implement strategies for gathering safely.
    • Develop promotional materials for community events.
  • Design and develop pollinator strips and the perennial garden at the Wales farm.
    • Consult with experts, staff, and the community to educate community members about why these features serve the farm.
    • Develop educational materials to promote environmentally protective and sustainable agriculture practices.
  • Facilitate the building and installation of physical farm infrastructure for the sustainability of our farming program, working closely with Farm Operations Manager and Property Manager.
    • Research and draft plans for the implementation of a commercial kitchen at the new farm in Wales.
    • Assist in planning and building fencing, irrigation systems, greenhouses, wash/pack station, etc. 

Work towards the sustainability of the Liberation Farms community farming program:

  • Develop a better understanding, within the SBCA community, of programs that serve the community.
    • Conduct outreach within the community to help folks understand how they can leverage their SNAP benefits through the Maine Harvest Bucks program.
    • Process and track SNAP benefits to purchase Liberation Farms produce and/or seedlings.
  • Work closely with Markets Manager and Farm & Markets Coordinator to identify any surplus in commercial farming plots.
    • Develop a market/gleaning plan for redistributing this produce back to the Somali Bantu community and to local food banks, soup kitchens, schools, or other institutions aimed at alleviating food insecurity.
  • Keep an updated social media presence for SBCA via instagram, facebook, etc.
  • Research and facilitate grant applications to raise funds for SBCA’s farming program. 

Work closely with our Liberation Farms program staff, and Kasheekee, youth development, program staff to weave together these two programs:

  • Engage Somali Bantu youth in community farming practices to encourage investment and interest in Somali Bantu and Maine’s agricultural heritage.
  • Develop programming and curriculum that merges our farming program with our youth development program.
    • Lead gardening workshops in a demonstration plot managed by VISTAmember
    • Engage youth in Kasheekee program in Liberation Farms practices and principles
  • Facilitate Kasheekee programming at SBCA’s office in Lewiston, and at the farm property in Wales.
  • Plan and lead youth in building recreational trails for Kasheekee programming in SBCA’s forested land in cooperation with Wabanaki community members. 

Participate and engage with farmers and staff to accomplish daily farm tasks and large projects:

  • Assist with and set up systems to engage youth in farm chores
    • Goat chores and pasture rotation
    • Seeding and seedling distribution
    • Harvesting
    • Processing and packaging of produce
    • Installation and maintenance of irrigation system
  • Keep farm tools and equipment organized and clean
  • Assist in facilitating SBCA’s African flint corn harvest, drying, and processing so that it can be delivered to market accounts.
  • Work with Farm managers to open and close the Whiting greenhouse at the beginning and the end of each farming day.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, you must go through the Americorps website. The link to this position and application can be found here. 

Farm and Markets Coordinator

Organization Description

The mission of the Somali Bantu Community Association (SBCA) is to provide vital transitional services, advocacy, and programming that empowers members of the refugee community to uphold cultural identity and thrive in their new life here in Lewiston/Auburn, Maine.

 

 

The main programmatic undertaking of the SBCA is the community farming program, Liberation Farms. It aims is to provide new American farmers access to, and culturally-appropriate resources for, the means of sustainable food production for themselves and their communities to bolster food and economic security. The program assists over 220 Somali Bantu farmers by providing access to land, seeds, trainings, technical assistance, and marketing.

Job Description

We are seeking a Farm and Markets Coordinator for Liberation Farms who will help support farmers in the program through technical assistance, maintaining the quality of the farm(s), assisting with the transition to the Wales property (Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons), and helping with the harvest, packing, and delivery of commercial produce. This job requires someone with the capacity and passion to build relationships with the 200+ Somali Bantu farmers in the program, while simultaneously working with a wide range of organizational partners. This position also requires agricultural and cross-cultural experience.

Supervision Received:

Executive Director

Partners With:

Farm Operations Manager; Markets Manager; Farm Manager;

Schedule

Flexible and will be determined based on the individual we hire. During the growing season, there is the expectation that the Farm and Markets Coordinator will spend the majority of the work week on the farm. In the off-season, the majority of the work is expected to be remote. This is a one-year position with the potential for it to be extended based on organizational need and funding.

Duties & Responsibilities

Farm Coordination (55%)
  • Assisting the Farm Operations Manager with their duties including helping to run trainings, seedling production, supporting farmers in the harvesting/washing/packing of commercial orders
  • Helping to manage infrastructure and equipment on the Wales farm, as needed;
  • Executing daily agricultural duties (watering, weeding, pest and disease management, general field/greenhouse tasks)
  • Assist with special projects
  • Appropriately and safely utilizing all equipment and supplies
  • Record keeping, labeling, and data entry of seedling production, plantings, and yields
  • Ensuring compliance to soil fertility best practices
  • Help caretaker for livestock (water, feed, clean stall and field, coordinate with vet as necessary).
On-Farm Market Coordination (30%)
  • Oversee on-farm harvest, wash, pack, and delivery of orders, throughout SBCA’s harvest season
  • Ensure all orders are high quality and that appropriate food and COVID-19 safety practices are being followed
  • Maintain accurate records of the produce harvested from each iskashito group and assist Markets Manager with Harvest Log data input
Organizational Capacity(15%)
  • Assist with grant writing and grant reporting as needed
  • Help respond to, and coordinate with, media and partners that are interested in learning more about SBCA
  • Attend relevant workshops, training, and conferences

Qualifications

  • Minimum 3 years’ experience with production-scale diversified vegetable farming, preferably with experience in all aspects of farm planning.
  • Experience providing services and support to minority and disenfranchised communities.
  • Experience working with ESOLs and preliterate/limited literacy people.
  • Direct experience developing and managing complex on-the-ground farming operations.
  • Detail oriented and creative problem solver.
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds preferable
  • Ability to work in all types of weather including rain and snow
  • Positive, self-starting attitude
  • Strong oral and intercultural communication skills.
  • Reliable transportation, cell phone, and valid driver’s license. Employees are expected to use their own vehicle and personal cell phone for work.
  • Experience writing grants and fundraising a plus.

Compensation

$18 per hour. There is currently funding for the position at half-time with the opportunity for full-time depending on if we are awarded the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant, which we should know about by August. If we received funding from BFRDP this will be a ‘regular full-time’ position expected to work 40 hours per week. This is a one-year position with the potential for it to be extended based on organizational need and funding. It is non-exempt and year-round. Full-time regular employees (working 40 hours per week) are eligible for up to 120 hours (3 weeks) of PTO and 40 hours of sick leave per calendar year. Eligible holidays per year will be 7 fixed + 3 floating days that you select = 10 paid holidays per calendar year.

How to Apply

Email a resume and cover letter detailing your interest in the program and experience farming and working
cross-culturally to info@somalibantumaine.org. The deadline for application is July 9, 2021. Interviews will happen on a rolling basis and, if we find an excellent candidate, the job may be offered before the July 9th deadline.

Volunteer/Intern

If you are interested in volunteering with the Somali Bantu Community Association, please email info@somalibantumaine.org with the following information:
  1. A brief description of why you are interested in volunteering and what program(s) you would like to work with
  2. Your resume
  3. How many hours per week you are interested in volunteering
  4. What day(s) and time(s) you are available
  5. The best email address and telephone number for us to use to contact you