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Chicago Master Gardener

A blog for Chicago Master Gardeners providing information on volunteer opportunities, training, workshops and resources.

Growing Power Farm-City Market Basket Program Assistant Job Announcement

Posted by Ron Wolford -

Chicago Farm-City Market Basket Program Assistant. !6 to 20 hours per week. Salary Range based on previous experience.

Goal of program: Increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for their own food needs

Growing Power does this via the weekly-year round distribution of Farm-City Market baskets (FCMB) that provides immediate access to farm-fresh products without the expense and infrastructure of the large box grocer/market

Farm-City Market Basket Program (FCMB): a weekly, year-round, food security program supplies safe, healthy, affordable vegetables and fruit to communities at a low cost ($7 for junior/senior/$15 for Family or $26 for Organic). The FCMB includes 12-18 different types of produce in amounts that will feed a family of 4 for a week, i.e., white/red potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, celery, carrots, lettuce, spinach, greens, tomatoes, peppers, winter and summer squash, cabbage, sweet corn, peppers, beets, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, apples, peaches, bananas, and grapes. Presently being distributed to 200-400 families in Milwaukee and the county, 25-50 families in Madison, Wisconsin and 200-400 families in Chicago, Illinois.

The program addresses food access deficits for communities who do not have grocery stores with fresh produce available and/or affordable high quality produce. Growing Power operates a community food center at our urban farm site in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Silver Spring Drive that grows fresh greens, tilapia fish, small poultry and other livestock, as a means to both provide education and produce for sale and distribution to our community.

This has been most successful via the Farm-to-City Market Basket program that supports the food needs for all in the community, in a manner that is dignified and without stigma. Low income consumers can use WIC, Quest –electronic benefits transfer or EBT or pay in cash. We consider the FCMB a hunger relief program that builds self-sufficiency both for low-income families and as a marketing vehicle for struggling small family farmers.

Additionally, we work with at-risk youth who are employed and assist in growing some of the produce for the FCMB, assist in packing and distributing the baskets and managing Growing Power's retail store, that serves as a pick up site for the program, as well as a farm store with additional products for sale.

Growing Power has helped create the "Rainbow Farmer's Cooperative", a network of small family farmers empowered with the knowledge of how to grow food and with a real connection to a food system. Their power as farmers directly supports regional food security in Wisconsin and Illinois and in tandem small African-American farmers from Mississippi and Georgia for out of season production.

As part of the comprehensive program to promote healthy eating and support local farms, Growing Power's staff also provides education and market linking services that connect local school communities directly with Growing Power's Market Basket Program.

Chicago Projects Office: Growing Power's Chicago office officially opened in February of 2002 to manage resource development and the technical assistance needed to assist emerging Community Food Centers and urban and small farm projects in the metropolitan Chicago area. Notable projects include the following: Grant Park Urban Agriculture Potager; Homegrown Chicago, where in small- scale community growers sell their products in community-operated farmers' market; Fourth Presbyterian – Cabrini Green Community Partnership; Farm-City Market Basket Program, which is distributed at 12 Chicago area sites; Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council, which represents over 175 diverse stakeholders who are creating food policy advisements for city, state and federal policy makers.

Work Description: To coordinate the organization's weekly food security program, the Farm-to-City Market Basket Program in Chicago, Illinois. This is a part-time hourly position requiring at least a three-day commitment, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. The program is both administrative in terms of placing orders and coordinating deliveries but also requires outreach and marketing of program to new sites and communities, communications between 14+ drop sites across Chicago and neighboring suburbs, including coordination with Milwaukee and Madison, WI staff. Assisting with local deliveries is a requirement on delivery days.

Key Attributes:

An interest and willingness to learn and work with diverse communities

Ability to work as a member of team, with a problem solving work ethic

Ability to perform weekly, time oriented tasks with consistency and foresight

Ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences, staff and management

The successful candidate will be a dynamic individual who works well both independently and as part of a team. She/he will be highly organized and efficient and have a proven track record in working in diverse settings, with the ability to problem solve and transition from administrative duties to delivering baskets, assisting in packing baskets in Milwaukee, WI when needed and providing outreach demonstrations of the program to form new sites across Chicago.

Communication, problem solving and consistent work habits will be highly valued in selecting a candidate. A good attitude and willingness to learn new skill sets will be considered an asset over experience. Candidates with a seasoned work history who are looking for a long-term position are highly encouraged to apply.

This position will require some physical work in terms of hauling and lifting boxes of baskets and produce on and off of vehicles and into buildings. Also, a valid driver's license and DCFS background screening due to our work with youth.

Job Responsibilities:

This position entails organizing and facilitating weekly deliveries of the Farm-City Market Basket to sites across Chicago. This includes weekly communication with site coordinators and the program's manager in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on a weekly basis, year-round. Currently the average weekly total is 175 baskets per week, we would like to see this number double in 2007.

Coordinate weekly, year-round Farm-City Market Basket Program in Chicago

Collect and place weekly orders from 14 sites across Chicago

Communicate with Milwaukee office with orders and delivery tickets in a timely fashion

Set-up new sites and make presentations at a variety of venues to educate communities, including food preparation demonstrations, recipe collection and mailing of materials

Maintain records, invoices and up to date customer and coordinator information

Write and produce weekly newsletter for the FCMB in partnership with volunteers, site coordinators and GP staff

Develop innovative events and press materials to promote program

Daily light office work in the form of checking voicemails, returning inquires, scheduling presentations via phone and emails as needed

Skill sets required:

Effectively and proactively addressing challenges and solving problems

Working as a team member with people from diverse backgrounds and levels of experience

Ability to work with minimal supervision

Extremely flexible and self starter, organized individual who takes pride in the seeing a program/project through, even if it requires additional hours

Ability to prioritize work and make sound, consistent decisions

Assist with writing and reports for the FCMB program

Able to email, perform basic word processing, spreadsheet

Works well with youth

Excellent interpersonal and communication skills

Physical Demands: Must be met by an employee to successfully perform this position. Applications will be considered for other positions that do not have this requirement in the future.

Ability to handle, feel objects, tools and to reach with hands and arms. Ability to lift heavy objects of at least 55lbs without pain.

Highly recommended:

Access to laptop computer, internet access wi-fi will be provided at office

Must have valid driver's license

Growing Power is a local organization with a national presence. It convenes a minimum of five national workshops on-site at its Milwaukee facility each year; it has sponsored two national conferences focusing on food security and will be sponsoring two others in the next two years; it provides technical assistance – on-site – at numerous sites around the country from Boston to Montana; 3,500+ individuals receive tours of the Community Food Center each year; and the Director has been the keynote speaker at several national conferences and the recipient of numerous local, state, and national awards and recognitions, including most recently a 2005 Leadership for a Changing World Award from the Ford Foundation.

Growing Power currently employs 11 full-time and 9 part-time workers. Its work is augmented by the work of over 100 volunteers each year.

To learn more about Growing Power, please visit us on the web at:

To apply: send resume with cover letter detailing interest and experience. Please include a summary (1 page max.) of what you would like to accomplish in this position and what relevant skill sets you have that would contribute to building the FCMB program. Email:

Released February 26, 2007 – Start date flexible, May 15th ideal

Growing Power is an equal opportunity employer. All candidates, regardless of race, gender, age, or sexual orientation are encouraged to apply.

Chicago Projects Manager and National Outreach/Development Director
Growing Power, Inc.
1741 N. Western Avenue, 1st floor
Chicago, IL 60647
office: 773.486-6005

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