LEAP Hiring Community Gardens Manager

About Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP)

Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP) is a 501c3 nonprofit based in Roanoke City. LEAP nurtures our food community to create an equitable food and farming system which prioritizes health and abundance. We do this by supporting community initiatives, markets, farms, and farmers.

LEAP values

  • Equity: We believe that all people should have affordable access to the food that feeds them and their families. We believe that farmers and food producers should be able to have viable businesses.
  • Dignity: We value and honor all people. We work to see, hear, listen, and understand the food community at all levels.
  • A holistic approach: Our region's people, animals, and environment have wide-ranging and different needs. We seek to understand this complexity and support systems which focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • The benefits of local food: We are rooted in trusting relationships with community members, businesses, organizations, and governments to collectively support our food community.
  • Love: We serve our community with passion, love, and humility.

LEAP’s work

We are a service organization centered in the Roanoke region. We are committed to listening and responding to the ever-changing needs, challenges, and opportunities of our food community. Our approach recognizes individual and community dignity. LEAP works collaboratively with community partners, farmers, food producers, and consumers throughout Roanoke City, the Roanoke Valley, and the state.

LEAP’s local program team works to create economically viable market outlets for local farmers and food producers and to connect consumers efficiently and equitably to local food (current programs include LEAP Farm Share, West End Farmers Market, Grandin Village Farmers Market, LEAP Kitchen, LEAP Mobile Market, Community Gardens, Healthy Food Incentives). LEAP’s regional and state teams work closely with partners to build networks, provide technical assistance, and create strong relationships to support more resilient local, regional, and state food systems (current programs include Regional Food System Planning, Farm to School, Community Garden Network, Virginia Fresh Match statewide SNAP nutrition incentives). For more information, please visit www.leapforlocalfood.org and www.VirginiaFreshMatch.org.

LEAP Community Garden Manager

The Community Garden Manager leads LEAP’s community garden program which includes four gardens in Roanoke City. The community gardens are a tool and resource to facilitate conversations about food, provide hands-on gardening education, and create space for community, art, and health. The manager works closely with the LEAP team,  community garden participants, community partners, and community members in the neighborhoods that the gardens serve. This position leads garden volunteers and interns and reports to the Director of Regional Partnerships.

Responsibilities:

Garden Management and Operations:

  • Manage garden registration, onboarding, and payment for new and existing community gardeners.
  • Implement and refine short and long term community garden management and operation plans  to meet the current and growing needs of the community gardens. Ensure that the operation and management of the gardens are sustainable, cost-effective, safe, and align with the program budgets.
  • Ensure that the community gardens are clean and maintained for garden member usage and that they follow all applicable regulations and requirements.
  • Work with the Director of Regional Partnerships to train and support volunteers and interns through regular and coordinated volunteer opportunities in the gardens.
  • As applicable, oversee other community garden staff members and associated projects (gardens grounds technician, contractors, community organizers, etc) on garden maintenance, infrastructure, and community-based projects.
  • Keep accurate and detailed financial records of all Community Garden income and expenses. Work with the Financial Manager to ensure accurate and timely accounts receivable and payable for the Community Gardens.

Community Engagement and Communications:  

  • Establish and maintain strong, trusting relationships with community garden members, community members, and other partners. Maintain clear and consistent lines of communication.
  • Create supportive and welcoming physical and virtual spaces for beginning and expert gardeners throughout Roanoke City.
  • Cooperatively plan and host social gatherings, educational workshops, and events for gardeners, community members, partner organizations.
  • Support emerging garden leaders at community garden workdays, meetings, and events.
  • Ensure that the community gardens are integrated with and connected to other LEAP and community programs.
  • Work with the Director of Marketing and Communications  to create and implement strategic communications to share the larger story of LEAP community gardens with the broader community.
  • Participate in the Roanoke Community Garden Network.

Leadership and Planning:

  • In close partnership with community garden members, community members, community partners, and LEAP team members, co-create, plan, implement, evaluate, and refine garden-specific programs and plans.
  • Create, evaluate, and refine short and long term community garden management and operation plans (including maintenance, communication, infrastructure, and strategy) to meet the current and growing needs and goals of community gardens. Ensure that these plans are sustainable, cost-effective, safe, and align with LEAP’s strategic plan and budgets.
  • Work with the Regional and Support Teams to identify financial, maintenance, ongoing, and start-up program needs for the gardens.
  • Work with the Support Team to identify and solicit garden-based sponsorships from businesses and organizations to support ongoing garden operations and programming.
  • Work with the Regional and Support Team to collect Garden Member and community member feedback on a regular basis and share relevant feedback. Analyze data to provide deeper insights about and how to improve Community Garden programs and services to meet community needs, program goals, and LEAP’s mission.

Required Knowledge, Skills and Attributes:

  • A minimum of 3 years of experience working with community gardens, horticulture, community engagement, education and/or outreach across all abilities and age span.
  • Proven record in working with adults from a variety of racial, cultural and economic backgrounds.
  • Strong familiarity with Roanoke City neighborhoods.
  • Ability to engage in physical activity comfortably outdoors in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Proficient use of smartphones, office software, email, and other technology.
  • Ability to interact in a professional, courteous, and confidential manner with others and to function as an ambassador of LEAP/food access/community gardens in a wide variety of venues and circumstances.
  • Ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing; and to listen and solve problems collaboratively and proactively.
  • Organized and planning-oriented.
  • An orientation to learning and growing within the scope of your work with LEAP.
  • A passion for community, equity, and food.

Technical Skills:

  • Ability to use power and hand tools.
  • Ability to drive large vehicles.
  • Basic understanding of crop production and ecosystem management (including, but not limited to: bed preparation, soil health, planting schedules, plant pathology, and pest control).
  • Basic construction knowledge and project management (scope of a project, the materials and tools required, and coordination of contractors).

Additional Information/Requirements:

  • Bilingual and multilingual candidates are strongly encouraged to apply (Spanish, Arabic).
  • This position is year-round and hourly (20-30 hrs/wk).
  • The candidate must be available to work some weekday evenings and weekends.
  • Must be able to lift 50 lbs.
  • Pay is $15-17/hour, depending on experience.

To Apply

To apply, please email the following to mo@leapforlocalfood.org:

  • A cover letter that speaks to why you are interested in this position and your experience and skills related to community gardens and/or community engagement.  
  • A resume that supports your cover letter and provides your work experience related to community gardens and/or community engagement.
  • Applications will be reviewed as they are received.

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For questions, contact Maureen McGonagle, mo@leapforlocalfood.org or (540) 632-1360.

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