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Volunter in service to America (VISTA) farm and design work: Sewanee, TN  RSS feed

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Join the exciting and dynamic Farm VISTA team at Sewanee: The University of the South. Be one of four VISTA members who will work to organize the 1st year of hunger elimination farm outreach in the 3 Appalachian counties that surround Sewanee, TN. Working with the University Farm, these VISTAs will work as a team for one year to promote growing food for subsistence and economic development throughout Grundy, Marion and Franklin Counties. The Farm VISTA team will also network with the Healthy Living Coordinator and the Grundy County Food Bank to increase residents’ access to healthy local foods and reduce food insecurity for at-risk communities.

There are four VISTA positions that start in mid february of 2015 and run for 1 year of full time service. If your resume is a good fit for a position, you will be asked to apply through the federal government’s VISTA Americorps website and you will be subject to a thorough background check. While placed as a Volunteer In Service to America (VISTA) at the university farm, the chosen candidates will receive a stipend of approximately $960/month plus health care benefits and an end of service educational award of up to $5,500. Housing is not provided, but private rooms with a shared bathroom down the hall are available in the area for about $250/month. VISTA members will be given a personal garden space for their own subsistence use.

The University Farm is a new program at Sewanee: The University of the south. Its manager has a master’s degree in soil and crop science and a permaculture design certificate. These positions are likely to be a good fit for someone who has WOOFED or anyone with a passion to reduce hunger and who can tolerate a year of low income. These positions are unlikely to satisfy activists who enjoy taking a fight to “the system” because everyone here is already in a collaborative mood. These VISTA members will be outdoors often and will be designing and setting up systems that involve physical work. Office space will be spartan and may move several times as we are expanding and under construction. This is a startup situation, so you must flexible, optimistic and self-motivated. We are looking for people with a high energy level.

The VISTA Food and Hunger Communication Coordinator will provide Sewanee’s University Farm with communication materials and activity protocols that enable the farm’s 500 visitors to interpret sustainable agricultural practices and also inspire them to grow some of their own food. The ideal candidate for this job is extremely tech savvy from a graphic design perspective. Your resume should include a link to your online portfolio of posters, flyers, interactive interpretive displays, websites you designed, and list the software programs you used to create them. The contact for this position is sewaneeVistaComm@gmail.com

The VISTA Season Extending Curriculum Coordinator will develop for the University's Farm program a system to collect season extending data, provide analysis and advocacy that will enable the farm’s 500 visitors to understand how to use inexpensive materials to extend the growing season on the Cumberland Plateau. This VISTA must have grower experience in wet, temperate climates and be familiar with hand tools that enable construction of low tunnels, row covers, spray equipment, irrigation, etc.. The contact for this position is sewaneeVistaSeas@gmail.com

The VISTA Organic Certification Coordinator will lead the economic development of local farms in the Tri-Counties through the 1st year of getting certified as an organic producer of fruits, vegetables, herbs, meats or value added products by using the University Farm as a transparent roadmap through this process. This VISTA needs to be highly organized, very detail oriented and possess a clear and concise writing style. Previous experience on a certified organic farm and knowledge of good agricultural practices are key criteria for selection. Being part of the certified naturally grown network is also useful. The contact for this position is sewaneeVistaOrg@gmail.com

The VISTA Aquaponics Economic Development Analyst will develop a curriculum to provide the University's Farm with data, analysis and advocacy that will enable the farm’s 500 visitors to understand how to use inexpensive systems to grow fish protein in their own backyards. This VISTA will have experience as an aquaponic grower, or will have attended on-site aquaponics training courses. This VISTA knows how to use hand tools, has practices general construction techniques, and is a Maker, with robotics program and control experience.The contact for this position is sewaneeVistaAqua@gmail.com

The VISTAs are placed at the University Farm, but are not employed by the University. They are supported during their year of service by a stipend from the Federal Government, as part of its anti-poverty programs. For more information about VISTA benefits please refer to the VISTA Handbook which can be found at http://www.vistacampus.gov/lessons/vista-member-handbook. All four positions require tech savvy, self-motivated individuals who enjoy social interactions and who are comfortable outside in a variety of weather conditions. All positions will recruit local volunteers, run awareness campaigns and develop curriculum for annual clinics particular to their VISTA assignments. Each of these VISTA positions will benefit from a broad, systems based approach that is common among permaculture practitioners.

Please send a resume detailing your education, relevant experience and 3 references to the contact information listed for the VISTA position that interests you. Limit cover letters to ½ page. Veterans are encouraged to apply. Resume reviews are starting immediately. Service starts in Mid-February.
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