Farm and Food Security Assistant
The Farm and Food Security Assistant will serve as a core member of the 2024 farm team, and will assist with coordination of the Farm to Food Pantry program at DFI.
The Farm and Food Security Assistant will serve as a core member of the 2024 farm team, and will assist with coordination of the Farm to Food Pantry program at DFI. The position does not require previous food systems, nutrition or farming experience, although it is preferred. Ongoing training will be provided during this AmeriCorps term, and the successful candidate must have a desire to learn about sustainable food production and solutions to food insecurity. The position will report to the DFI Director, and collaborate directly with DFI’s Farm Production Manager and Food Security Project Coordinator. The position involves physically demanding tasks on the farm, interaction with a diversity of groups and populations, and working independently as well as within a dynamic team.
Service Location: DFI at the Nevada Agriculture Experiment Station, 920 Valley Road, Reno, NV 89512. Periodic daytime travel may be required within the metro area and region.
The Desert Farming Initiative (DFI) is an applied agriculture program demonstrating year-round organic fruit and vegetable production for arid climates. DFI is a part of the University of Nevada, Reno’s Experiment Station, the research unit of the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources. Located at the College’s Valley Road Field Lab, DFI partners with academic and Extension faculty to provide practical education and research opportunities for students, faculty and community partners. DFI produces tons of fruits, vegetables and herbs for the regional food system each year. Thirty to fourty varieties of produce are grown annually and all crops are certified organic by CCOF. The majority of the produce is directed to food insecure populations as part of our Farm to Food Pantry Program, with the remaining amount going to other wholesale and retail markets. Proceeds are used to support ongoing DFI educational and community programming. Read more at http://naes.unr.edu/dfi
DFI’s mission is to advance climate-smart farming and food sovereignty in the Great Basin by:
● Demonstrating sustainable vegetable and fruit farming practices, while bolstering the regional food system.
● Providing practical on-farm learning experiences for University students and developing resources for other growers.
● Actively engaging with a diverse array of stakeholders to improve food security and prepare for farming in a changing climate.
● Conducting research in collaboration with faculty and community and industry partners to improve agricultural practices for desert climates.
● Be a core member of the farm crew, including team work on the following tasks: harvesting, greenhouse propagation, transplanting, seeding, weeding and cultivation, irrigation assistance, crop fertilization and pest control, food safety practices, small equipment operation, and food packaging, marketing and delivery. The farm will be a platform for building skills and understanding around climate smart production of fresh organic produce for food system resiliency. (80% of time)
● Assist with coordination of DFI’s Farm to Food Pantry program, serving half a dozen food security organizations in Reno. (10% of time)
● Assist the Farm Production Manager in timely record keeping pertaining to crop production. (5% of time)
● Attend AmeriCorps trainings, assist with the coordination of Food Security Coalition quarterly events, and attend food security-related periodic activities (such as field trips or tours). This element, along with the Farm to Food Pantry coordination, will provide the service member time to build contacts and connections within the food system. (5% of time)
● Passionate commitment to working with others on food security and sustainable agriculture. Preference will be given to individuals who have an interest in a food systems oriented career.
● Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment and take initiative to improve farm systems.
● Ability to work outdoors conducting physical labor in hot, cold and windy weather.
● Outstanding work ethic and positive attitude.
● Good interpersonal communication.
● Preferred: strong understanding of or educational background in food systems and/or nutrition.
● Preferred: experience working on a commercial farm or garden.
Compensation and Benefits
This AmeriCorps service position receives a modest living allowance of $17,000 for a half term (approximately 6 months) and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $3,447.50.
Service members have the option to apply for student loan forbearance, and may be eligible for SNAP and Medicaid benefits. AmeriCorps contracts, living allowances and education awards are managed through the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation.
Timeline for Service: February – August 2023
Schedule: Approximately full time weekly schedule. Time off includes approximately 5 days of vacation, 5 days of sick leave and federal holidays. A total of 920 hours are required to be completed during this half term of AmeriCorps service.