Just Roots is a nonprofit community organization located in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Our mission is to increase access to healthy, local food by connecting people, land, resources and know-how. We started a community farm on Greenfield town land in 2011 and began production of a diverse vegetable farm which, in 2018, will grow food for 300 families in Franklin County, MA. We donate over 10,000 pounds of food each year to our local food pantry and pay-what-you-can cafe. We operate a vibrant community garden and offer on-farm visits and volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Since the inception of Just Roots, we have been reinventing the CSA farm share model as a health intervention program. Believing strongly that belonging to a CSA farm share program has the power to change the way you eat for the long-term and improve health, Just Roots set out to create a farm share for every budget, addressing key barriers and increasing access for all.
Community Engagement Coordinators (CEC) build the long-term capacity of their host sites by developing culturally inclusive systems, programing, partnerships, and events. By collaborating with community groups, CEC’s demonstrate how the sustainable use and conservation of land can help address community needs related to education, public health, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, homelessness, poverty, hunger, and cultural decline. By helping a broader cross-section of people experience the benefits of open space, CECs build connections between land and people that increase public support for land access, revitalization, and conservation initiatives.
CECs may partner with homeless shelters or food pantries to build community gardens; hospitals to build wellness gardens and walking paths, neighborhood groups to revitalize urban parks and greenways; farmers markets to increase community access to locally grown food; disability groups to create wheelchair accessible outings; youth and adult groups to inspire artistic expression; public health programs to support recovery; and any underrepresented community groups who want to provide access to the outdoors for recreational and entertainment purposes. By engaging with diverse peoples and collaborating with community partners, CEC’s build bridges that reinforce the connection between land and a sustainable social, economic, and environmental future for all people.
TerraCorps members engage with their supervisors to develop and carry out three or more capacity building projects over the course of the service year. Some of these projects will involve recruiting, training, and/or managing community volunteers. Just Roots has proposed the following potential project for their Community Engagement Coordinator:
Building out the Just Roots Food Access Workshop Series Program. Just Roots organizes a monthly Local Food Access Clinic — a resource providers fair with a featured skill-building workshop — in downtown Greenfield. This event offers community members opportunities to try a new vegetable, see a new recipe in action, get basic medical screenings and learn about healthy food access opportunities regardless of what their budget might be from a myriad of service providers, all in a fun and festive environment. Not all community members can make it to downtown Greenfield so the CEC will adapt and build out pieces of this clinic to take on the road!
Partners and Project: The CEC will work with community partners including the staff and residents of low-income housing, community center, Center for Self-Reliance, local schools, YMCA and Franklin County House of Corrections to name a few, to identify which food access resources and educational opportunities are most critical. They will then lead a collaboration with community members and partners on building out a series of food access workshops that addresses those identified barriers.
Just Roots is currently running a research study in collaboration with the Community Health Center of Franklin County and a doctor from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical looking at the health benefits of participating in a CSA farm share. The Community Engagement Coordinator will play a critical role in the final year of this study, to keep community members currently participating in the study engaged and a core team of research study volunteers organized. Health insurance companies have committed to using the results of our study to assess the possibility of an insurance-provided benefit for CSA shares, similar to the wellness benefit currently offered for gym membership. This has the potential to funnel significant private and state/federal funding into our local farms while making healthy food far more accessible to currently food insecure families! The CEC will build the capacity of the research team and lead strategy on participant engagement.
The Just Roots Community Garden is a thriving 70-plot community space. The CEC will lead and collaborate with the Garden Circle, a group of dedicated volunteers, as well as the Just Roots farm crew, to continue to build the vibrancy of the garden, enrich the garden experience with yet-to-be-determined (can’t wait for your ideas!) events, and continue to grow a supportive and fun garden community culture!
We’re always stewing up new ways to engage more deeply with our current community, and new ways to engage with community members we have yet to reach. Getting creative around Community Engagement is at the core of all of our work in the organization and we look forward to the creative directions our 2019 Community Engagement Coordinator brings to the table!
Development of these and other projects will occur during the first two months of service and consider the member’s interests and skills.
high school diploma and relevant experience
a strong interest in serving with diverse community (groups, partners and members), landowners, and municipalities
comfortable presenting in front of groups
strong writing, communication, and networking skills
able to serve both independently and as a member of a team
familiarity with Microsoft Office programs
associates degree or higher and/or certificate, training, or internship in a field related to environmental and social justice, environmental education, environmental policy and civic advocacy, social marketing and communication, or other social science related fields.
experience in community needs assessment
experience with diversity and inclusion issues
experience training and managing volunteers
experience in local government, or civic organizations
marketing experience or experience developing public information materials
familiarity with land conservation in Massachusetts
experience with service learning programs
knowledge of healthy eating, nutrition, providing food/cooking demonstration
understanding/awareness of SNAP
For questions about the Just Roots service position, contact 413-325-8969 or email firstname.lastname@example.org