The IDEA Farm Program works within the larger Child Nutrition Program (CNP) and Healthy Kids Here initiative dedicated to making IDEA Public Schools one of the healthiest school districts in the nation. IDEA Farm Program collaborates with campus leaders, students, and community stake holders to create a successful farm-to-school curriculum by providing exceptional educational experiences and high-quality produce. CNP Farmers coordinate all onsite farm operational and production process, and student academic performance by leading a best-in class farm education program to support IDEA’s mission of making College for All a reality.
CNP Farmers lead a farm education program which includes coordinating with campus leaders on Junior Master Gardener (JMG) classes, instructing K-12 students through outdoor lessons and Food Systems curricula, and supervising students during outdoor classroom instruction. The CNP Farmer plans and delegates the implementation of a four-season diversified vegetable farming system that includes cover cropping, crop rotation, orchard cultivation, native habitat maintenance, and an integrated pest management plan across a specified campus farm. Additionally, the Farmer manages a campus budget and the procurement and coordination of contracted services on the farm.
In this role, you will:
ENSURE FARM IS OPERATIONALLY READY WITH CROPS PLANTED, QUICK-START & PREP WEEK COMPLETED, AND OPERATIONS AUDITS PASSED BEFORE THE FDOS
- Develops production plan one year in advance based on IDEA menu requirement and regional hardiness zone crop production limitations, and ensures weekly and monthly goals are met
- Manages the planting of seeds and transplants for multiple crops in accordance with a strategic production plan aligned to the IDEA academic calendar
- Supervises QuickStart checklist completion and ensures that signed checklists are submitted to Director of Farms to ensure farm is ready to serve students by first day of school
- Ensures Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Harmonized operation audits are passed with 90% rating or better to provide safe, quality produce
- Conducts Operation audits to ensure farms continue to be operationally ready in order to provide the best student experience
- Confers with Assistant Principal of Operations and Facilities Managers for any facility, maintenance, and safety issues relating to the farm
- Ensures and authorizes servicing all equipment, land, and buildings to be maintained in respectable conditions
CERTIFY 10% OF STUDENTS ENROLLED IN GRADES 3RD –7TH AS JUNIOR MASTER GARDENERS BY JUNE 30
- Collaborates with school leadership to coordinate agricultural education for students on the farm that enhances their campus education
- Increase student awareness and participation in agricultural issues to create a lifetime of healthy eating habits
- Ensures courses are being taught according to the curriculum and assigns student field lessons as needed to fulfill JMG requirements
- Verifies 100% of student educational hours are logged in at the end of every class for record keeping
- Verifies 100% of students are logged into the JMG website to be registered as certified Junior Master Gardeners
- Certifies students at the annual JMG ceremony as a sign of successful completion of the course
MEET FARM COST PER SQUARE FOOT GOAL BY JUNE 30
- Manages budget accuracy through use of weekly farm dashboard ensuring financial sustainability of the Farm Program to continue supporting student health and college access for years to come
- Submits requisitions properly and verifies the allowability of purchases according to business office policy
- Generates yearly financial projections to calculate expenditures for farm projects and events
- Coordinates with approved vendors to ensure timely issuance of services
- Oversee the in-ground farm expansion, including a pollinator garden, outdoor classroom, and other areas which enhance the student farm educational experience
MEET POUNDS HARVESTED GOAL BY JUNE 30
- Guarantees 100% of the production plan crops starts on time via transplant in order to have crops ready for students to eat from the First to the Last Day of School
- Ensures 90% of plants are in the ground according to crop succession plan
- Coordinates 90% or more of all crops are harvested within 2-4 days of original harvest estimate
- Guarantees pounds to meal conversions are tracked and factored into production plan
- Conducts field walks with CNP Assistant and Substitute Farmers regularly to identify next steps in crop management and identify corrective actions needed to meet production goal
- Quickly diagnoses issues related to meeting production plan goals and effectively implements solutions
- Develops strong relationship with campus Cafeteria Managers (CM) for distribution of produce and coordinates “excess harvest” deliveries with local IDEA campus CM’s
- Verifies 100% of all food safety and harvest farm logs are entered into tracking system by end of week
MEET AN AVERAGE OF 90% RATING ON GOOD AGRICULTURE PRACTICES (GAP) HARMONIZED AND QUALITY OPERATIONAL AUDITS BY JUNE 30
- Ensures all individuals interacting with the farm are trained and aware of food safety protocols
- Verifies all records are entered in a timely manner and kept for auditing purposes
- Conducts physical inventories for all materials and equipment on a quarterly basis
- Prepares the farm for food safety audits by conserving and upkeeping the cleanliness of the farm
- Maintain and develop standard operating procedures for all potential hazardous and inefficient activities. Ensure documentation is within eyesight of potential activity.
- Adhere to the established schedule for the Farm Program’s online safety video training (SafeSchools)
LIVE VALUES OF IDEA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
- Believes and is committed to our mission: that all students are capable of getting to and through college
- Supports families through ongoing communication and support of their scholar
- Driven by outcomes and results, and wants to be held accountable for them
- Has a propensity for action, willing to make mistakes by doing to learn and improve quickly
- Thrives in an entrepreneurial, high-growth environment; is comfortable with ambiguity
- Seeks and responds well to feedback, which is shared often and freely across all levels of the organization
Required Experience and Certifications:
- Education: High School diploma or equivalent required. Associate’s degree or higher preferred.
- 1+ years in teaching/outdoor education preferred. 1+ years supervisory experience preferred.
- Experience: 2+ years in general growing preferred; hydroponic experience is a plus.
- Licenses or Certifications (if applicable): Local or state recognized food safety certification preferred
Desired Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
- The ability to motivate, delegate, and lead a team to accomplish goals
- Experience with youth education and communicating with students
- Comprehension of irrigation systems, and hydroponic practices
- Understands vegetable production and general horticulture
- Familiarity with Integrated Pest Management
- Knowledge of methods, materials, equipment, and processes used in farming
- Strong understanding of safety and sanitation practices involved with food production
- Ability to understand and interpret data (charts, graphs, etc.)
- Can handle stress well to meet deadlines
- Effective organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills.
- Computer literacy with understanding of Microsoft Office Suite (i.e., Excel)
- Able to follow verbal and written direction and ask for clarification as needed
- Demonstrates problem solving, adaptability and flexibility
- Good mathematical skills and basic finance understanding
- In this role, you will be responsible for supporting the team to reach the following ambitious goals:
- 100% of existing farms are operationally ready with crops planted, QuickStarts completed, and internal audits conducted by the first day of school.
- Meet Junior Master Gardener certification goal by June 30
- Meet an average of 90% rating on Good Agriculture Practices Harmonized and Quality Operational Audits by June 30th
- Farms grow and harvest 21,170 pounds of produce by June 30
- 100% of farms meet cost per square foot goal by June 30
Commitment to Diversity and Core Values:
To achieve our mission of 100% College For All, IDEA commits to being a diverse, equitable, inclusive and anti-racist organization, where we honor and include the voices, values, and beliefs of all our students, staff, alumni, families, and community members. Click here to learn about IDEA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Anti-Racist and Anti-Bias commitment.
Our core values are:
- We Act with Integrity: We put the best interests of the IDEA Team & Family—and most importantly our students—at the forefront of all our decisions and actions, taking personal responsibility to model the honest and ethical behavior we want our students and each other to demonstrate every day.
- We Build Team & Family: We foster a sense of belonging and inclusivity by treating every member of the IDEA Team & Family—our students, staff, families, and community—with compassion, respect, and humility. We maximize our individual best efforts through collaboration and support of each other in the focused pursuit of our collective mission.
- We Achieve Academic Excellence: We believe ensuring college success for 100% of our students is the best way to help them succeed in life and in seeing obstacles they face as opportunities for learning and growth. Every member of the IDEA Team & Family works together to ensure each student on every campus and in every classroom receives a high-quality education.
- We Deliver Results: We set ambitious goals, hold ourselves and each other accountable for achieving results, and believe that our students will succeed to and through college. Our results show what’s possible when the adults in the system get it right and represent the collective effort and focus of the entire IDEA Team & Family.
- We Ensure Equity: We set high expectations and share compassion and empathy for every member of the IDEA Team & Family. We differentiate our support and resources, proactively address racism and discrimination, and advocate alongside our students and staff to empower them with the opportunities to succeed and ensure the respect they deserve.
- We Bring Joy: We create a positive, uplifting, and joyful environment for every member of the IDEA Team & Family, every single day. We operate with a sense of optimism, and our traditions celebrate learning, growth, and the accomplishments of our students, staff, and community.
- We Sweat the Small Stuff: We embrace that achieving excellence lies in paying attention to and carrying out the details—the ‘small stuff’—that go into effective execution and positive implementation. Every step of the way, the IDEA Team & Family prioritizes actions contributing to our mission of College for All.
Compensation & Benefits:
Salaries for this role typically fall between $17.44 and $21.80 an hour, commensurate with relevant experience and qualifications. This role is also eligible for a performance bonus based on team performance and goal attainment.
The CNP Farmer must currently live in or be willing to relocate to Texas, with preference for one of our regions in Austin, El Paso, Houston, Permian Basin, Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, or Tarrant County.