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Detroit Food Academy AmeriCorps VISTA

Detroit Food Academy is bringing an AmeriCorps VISTA into our team this coming year!  Please share and apply via theAmeriCorps portal by May 25!

Neighborhood Ally Description: To support Detroit high school students in actualizing as holistic young leaders who are healthy, connected, and powerful, the Detroit Food Academy *VISTA project will build the capacity of our organization through the development of a partnerships, a community-rooted guidebook, and activity trainings for DFA high schools and partner neighborhoods.

Detroit Food Academy is a place-based, experiential leadership program dedicated to transforming the lives of young Detroiters through food and social entrepreneurship. We partner with high schools, educators, and food entrepreneurs to facilitate a year-round practicum culminating in the design and launch of students' own triple-bottom-line (people, planet, profit) food businesses. By developing food-based solutions in their communities, students learn to identify problems, implement solutions, and grow as holistic leaders who are healthy, connected, and powerful to affect change within and beyond the local food system.  Students graduate our program as entrepreneurial thinkers confident in their own power, conscious of the food system, familiar with business principles, and connected to networks of mentorship and support.

Apply by May 25 at https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do?id=61448&fromSearch=true

Ecology Center: Farm to Institution Campaign Director

The Ecology Center seeks a Farm to Institution Campaign Director to provide leadership and help connect the dots between our broken food system and a ‘Good Food System’ for Michiganders and beyond. The position is primarily responsible for the success of Michigan Farm to Institution Network (MFIN) and its local food purchasing campaign Cultivate Michigan, an effort that was launched in 2014 and is co-led by the Ecology Center and the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems to work toward the goal of the Michigan Good Food Charter that institutions source 20% of their food locally by the year 2020. Furthermore, as an organizer for Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), the position will help determine regional specific projects to help move national sustainable food systems campaigns forward in and around the Great Lakes.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Farm to Institution Campaign Director is a full-time position providing support to Ecology Center’s Sustainable Food, Healthy Communities program. It will help to direct the strategies and activities, identify and pursue opportunities to leverage funding, fill education and resource gaps and cultivate leadership within MFIN and Cultivate Michigan while recruiting members and participants and supporting key projects and partners. In addition to essential, ongoing responsibilities of the co-lead role, some ongoing duties of this position will include managing key functions of Cultivate Michigan website and accounts, working with outside developers as necessary; supporting content development for communications; providing maintenance and dissemination of resources, including, but not limited to informational brochures, purchasing guides and promotional materials; and assisting with event coordination, logistics and facilitation. There will be opportunities for special projects related to procurement and supply chain activities, which will be added to the set of responsibilities as determined by the Sustainable Foods, Healthy Communities team.

Requirements

    Existing relationships, experience in, or knowledge around movements related to Farm to Institution, local, sustainable food production and/or procurement, supply chains-value chains and institutional food service operations;

    Experience with facilitating groups and with participatory decision making. Confidence planning and facilitating effective meetings that encourage broad participation, and experience with horizontal organizations and distributed leadership is a plus;

    Entrepreneurial orientation and start-up experience. This position will be fast-paced, open-ended and will require a high degree of self-reliance, self-motivation, determination, willingness to learn, and ability to connect the dots among best practices, data, projects, partners and funders;

    Ability to effectively engage and collaborate with diverse stakeholder groups, including practitioners, community members, organizational partners and funders;

    Passionate about environmental sustainability and supporting the development of sustainable food systems that protect public and environmental health;

    Ability to balance multiple simultaneous projects and to easily shift between working independently and as part of a team;

    Demonstrated project leadership; strong self-initiative, critical thinking and problem solving skills; sound judgment and good habits of consulting with others;

    Strong verbal and written communication, including experience in writing content for websites, social media, blogs and/or press releases, and experience in preparing and delivering presentations and group facilitation;

    Minimum Bachelor’s degree in a related field, Masters degree or higher preferred.

Desirable Qualifications

    Solid grasp of environmental issues pertaining to environmental health;

    Experience with grant writing and program development; and

    Strong computer skills are necessary including experience with, but not limited to: Microsoft Office Suite, social media, content management systems (CMS), graphic design and Adobe Creative Suite; additionally, the following skills are desired, but not required: web-based advocacy/organizing, email marketing software and Drupal experience.

Hours and Compensation

This is a permanent, full-time position at 40 hours per week with a primary base in the downtown Ann Arbor office and option to work from our Detroit office. Most work will be Monday-Friday between the hours of 8am and 5pm. Some travel required.  Salary is commensurate with relevant professional experience. The Ecology Center offers very generous benefits, including medical, dental and retirement. The position offers opportunity for educational and professional development. It includes some shared organizational responsibilities and office duties. Ecology Center staff actively participate in organizational decision-making. This position is a great opportunity for a creative person to make a difference working with outstanding colleagues for a nationally respected public interest organization.

About the Ecology Center

The Ecology Center is a Michigan-based nonprofit environmental organization that works at the local, state, and national levels for clean production, healthy communities, environmental justice, and a sustainable future. Founded in 1970, the Ecology Center has developed many of the most innovative environmental programs in Michigan and the Midwest. We employ market campaigns, policy initiatives, educational programs, technical assistance, and community organizing to address our top priorities – Environmental Health, Climate & Energy, Sustainable Local Communities, and Green Business. The Ecology Center is committed to diversity and inclusion in our internal practices and opportunities, and in how we fulfill our mission of working for healthy people and a healthy planet. The Ecology Center is an equal

opportunity employer.

About Michigan Farm to Institution Network & Cultivate Michigan

The Michigan Farm to Institution Network is a space for learning, sharing and working together to get more local food to institutions. It aims to meet the Michigan Good Food Charter goal of 20% Michigan food to institutions by 2020. Three subcommittees steer the Network’s activities, including Cultivate Michigan, a statewide local food purchasing campaign. It works to help 1) Farmers and food suppliers offer the local foods institutions want in the ways they need; 2) Institutions such as hospitals, schools, preschools and colleges find, buy and use local foods; and 3) Eaters at institutions identify, value and enjoy local foods.

Salary and Benefits

Commensurate with experience, with a generous benefits package including health, dental, FSA, 403(b), ongoing training, and growth opportunities. Upbeat, collaborative, and goal-oriented office atmosphere. The Ecology Center is committed to diversity and inclusion in our internal practices and opportunities, and in how we fulfill our mission of working for healthy people and a healthy planet. For more about our values and work in this area, see the Ecology Center Statement of Values on Diversity and Inclusion. The Ecology Center is an equal opportunity employer.

Application Procedure

To apply, please send resume and cover letter to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , with “Farm to Institution Campaign Director” in the email subject. Please include where you heard about the position.

Applications accepted until May 25, 2015, or until position is filled. Only selected applicants will be contacted and invited for interview.

Supporting the Washtenaw Food Hub at the Public Hearing!

UMSFP was recently contacted to help enlist help from our members in supporting a zoning change that would enhance the capabilities of the Washtenaw Food Hub ~~ here's a message from Deb Lentz from the local Tantre Farm about what positive changes the zoning modification would bring:

On June 1 the Ann Arbor Township Planning Commission is holding a public hearing at 7:30pm to decide whether to recommend changing the zoning designation of the Food Hub from a “Minor” to a “Major” agricultural education facility. We are hoping that you will come to speak in support of this change, or mail comments of support to us.

This zoning change would allow the Food Hub to have events with more than 50 people on site without special permission, and would help us decide how extensively we should renovate Building 1. For example, rather than just a few cosmetic improvements we would like to develop a full-fledged classroom, presentation, demo kitchen, and community gathering space. Some of the activities we’ve asked to be allowed to do include things like: 

- Monthly calendar of workshops (e.g., vermi-composting, organic gardening, beekeeping, etc.)

- Farmer, educator, and non-profit meetings (e.g., Food safety, Connecting to new markets, Business planning, MIFFS annual meeting, UM researcher and class meetings, Farmers Market managers, etc.)

- Film screenings (e.g., Food Inc., Fed Up, Food Chains, etc.)

- Annual CSA Fair promoting local farms and healthy eating

- Summer camps, for example for school age children a “Summer Farm Camp”

- Cooking classes and demonstrations (e.g., How to cook what’s in your CSA box this week, tomato canning, etc.)

- Seed swaps

- Educational events, lectures and conferences for participants from around the country and around the world

Our understanding of the June 1st agenda is that the Food Hub will present our case, then there will be time for community input, and finally the commissioners will debate whether to recommend this change to the Township Board. 

Ann Arbor Township’s position toward the Washtenaw Food Hub has been positive overall, but they need to hear if there is support from neighbors and community members before they will recommend this requested change.

If you are willing to come to speak in support or send comments of support, we would be glad to send an outline of talking points if that’s helpful (contact Deb Lentz from Tantre Farm at tantrefarm@hotmail). 

Time: June 1, 2015 at 7:30pm

Location: AA Township Hall, 3792 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI

Community Healthcorps Member for The Gardens Project

The Gardens Project is recruiting a Community Healthcorps member to serve next year from September 2015 until July of next year.  

The position entails working with community garden projects, nutrition education, access for low-income residents to fresh healthy food, planning garden workshops, and more!! It is a fun job and a really positive working environment. 

Americorps members receive a living stipend and an educational award, and is a great opportunity to learn professional skills.

One of the main things we are looking for is a bilingual individual! The majority of our community gardeners are Latino and Spanish speaking.

Ukiah, California is in the heart of the beautiful and unique Mendocino County about 2 hours north of San Francisco.

More detailed information on the position can be found here: http://www.ruralcommunityhealth.org/index.php?/community-healthcorps-of-northern-california-20112012-position-descriptions.html 

You can find more information about the Gardens Project at their website: http://www.gardensproject.org/

Students can feel free to contact UM PitE alum Jessica Ruff with any questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The 2014-2015 UMSFP Annual Report is here!

What did student leadership in sustainable food look like on campus this past year?

  • 843 course contact hours logged at the Campus Farm and with UMSFP programs
  • 10,000+ lbs of food recovered from 2 dining halls
  • 25 student projects related to UMSFP and the Campus Farm completed
  • Established two new campus gardens, with three in the works for spring
  • Expanded sales of fresh, affordable produce on campus from once to twice each week
  • 10 UMSFP student member groups and a student Leadership Team creating on-the-ground and in-the-dirt change through education, community building, and food production
  • Two new member groups already on board for next school year

There’s more! Check out the 2014-2015 Annual Report to see the faces and hear the stories behind UMSFP. Then learn more about the student member groups driving this work to see how you can get involved!

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