Job Title: Production Associate (1-year contractual position)
FLSA Status: Nonexempt
Supervisory Responsibilities: None
Reporting to Title: Production Manager
SUMMARY: The Food Security Initiative (FSI) at the Bainum Family Foundation works to improve access to quality, nutritious food for children and families in Washington, D.C. while strengthening the local food system. In this work, the initiative focuses on four key areas: regenerative agriculture, community education, workforce development, and retail / distribution pathways for locally- and regionally-sourced healthy food. In addition to collaborating with a series of partners in this effort, the Food Security Initiative operates the Bainum Foundation Farm, a 263-acre property in Middleburg, Virginia that is a limited liability company wholly-owned and funded by the Bainum Family Foundation.
The Production Associate will spend one year on the Bainum Foundation Farm learning how to grow produce and flowers sustainably by working hands-on in all areas of the farm's activities. Under the direction of the Production Manager, the Production Associate will be involved in many facets of day-to-day farm operations, from production work in the fields and greenhouse, to produce transport preparations (washing, weighing, sorting, storing). The Associate will work towards advancing technical skills from seed to harvest, including season extension and transplanting, using crop successions and rotations, managing soil health and fertility, harvesting and handling post-harvest, and completing low-till tractor work. In addition to production work, s/he may periodically be involved in community outreach and education by representing the farm during on-site field trips and other visits and supporting distribution of produce to local partners.
The sustainable production approach used on the Bainum Foundation Farm reflect our priorities to create healthy, ecologically-sustainable food, but also requires considerable hand-labor (weeding, harvesting, trellising, planting, pest management, etc.), which is accompanied by some low-till but mechanized (tractor) cultivation and preparation of beds. The field work will be very physically demanding and will require that the Associate is motivated and has a good attitude, can tolerate working in inclement weather, and can work closely on a small team.
The Foundation values and is committed to a diverse workforce and an equitable, inclusive culture. We believe that viewing every aspect of our work through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens allows us to holistically support our staff and have a greater impact on the communities we serve. The Foundation therefore strongly encourages and seeks applications from all qualified individuals whose racial, socioeconomic, ability status, and other individual dimensions allow them to bring unique and diverse perspectives to their work.
Educational Enrichment: There is a tremendous amount to be learned in a first season at the Bainum Foundation Farm, where hands-on fieldwork dominates the workday and daily repetition of critically important tasks are what drive an Associate's holistic understanding of the farm operation. The Associate will explore topics with Farm Managers during an initial orientation, daily/weekly check-ins, and supplemental reading/development assignments. Upon completion of the farming season, the aim is for the Associate to have the foundational understanding and skill set necessary to move on to more advanced work in agriculture elsewhere, or to be considered for remaining at Bainum Foundation Farm in a more advanced role at the farm (if business needs allow).
Note on housing: Housing is offered in addition to an hourly compensation of $14-$16/hour. This is a shared housing arrangement with up to 2-3 seasonal staff members, and therefore housing is only offered to the employee. Pets are not allowed. The Associate has the option to select the master bedroom with en-suite. Participation in the on-Farm shared housing is entirely optional, however, exceptions will not be made to working hours based on the Associate’s chosen location of residence.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
Serve as primary executor of day-to-day production activities year-round under the direction of the Farm Production Manager; this may include planting, irrigation, pest management, weeding, harvesting, washing, storing, etc.
Guide seasonal staff on day-to-day production activities during growing season based on activities and techniques outlined by the Production Manager.
Manage seed/supply orders based on direction from the Production Manager, including research on available varieties best suited to conditions of the Farm.
Support the Production Manager with research and troubleshooting to address challenges resulting from weather, pest pressure, soil quality, etc.; this may include trial-and-error, conversations with other local farmers, and/or desk research.
On an occasional basis, support on-site learning activities related to production for visiting groups or events.
FUNCTIONAL/TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS: The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Equivalent combinations of work experience and training that provide the required knowledge, skills and abilities will also be considered.
Availability to commit to a full calendar year is required.
Two to four years of experience on a sustainable produce Farm is required. Applicant must be familiar and comfortable with basic production tasks and looking to grow in independent application of on-Farm activities with guidance, training, and occasional hands-on support from supervisor.
Experience working on a farm in the Mid-Atlantic region is a plus, but not required.
Genuine interest in agricultural production, with the intention to continue a career in food or farming post-associateship.
Able to work 40 to 55 hours per week, including one weekend per month, particularly during the growing season (April through October).
Capable of following instructions, working independently, and providing guidance to team members with less experience.
Willing and able to work closely with a small team.
Strong physical and mental work ethic and sense of pace.
Desire to learn and improve one's skillset and knowledgebase related to food systems and sustainable agriculture.