Welcome! Below is our current opening:
*Please note: All steering committee positions have been filled, however there will be additional opportunities to become involved in this initiative! Please contact [email protected] if you are interested.
In partnership with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Renewing the Countryside (RTC) is stewarding a Twin Cities urban agriculture and People’s Garden* initiative that aims to create synergies between related networks and initiatives (including the USDA’s new urban agriculture service center) to help metro-area farmers and gardeners access the resources they need to flourish. This initiative will be led by a steering committee composed of 10 or more people working on different aspects of urban agriculture and community gardens, with at least 25% of the committee being directly involved in urban agriculture or urban gardening and 40% identifying as Black, Indigenous, and/or People Of Color (BIPOC). For the purposes of this initiative, urban agriculture and gardening refers to growing food/fiber, nursery stock, and/or medicinal or landscaping plants in the greater Twin Cities Metro area (within 60 miles of Minneapolis or St. Paul).
* USDA People’s Gardens are characterized by: 1) benefiting the community, 2) being collaborative, 3) educating the community, and 4) incorporating sustainable practices.
RTC has been entrusted with this stewardship role to:
- Reach out to urban farmers and the urban agriculture community to better understand people’s experiences, needs, and goals, and to foster collaboration
- Administer 3 urban agriculture and gardening mini-grant programs for: (1) urban farmers, (2) People’s Gardens, and (3) urban-agriculture-serving organizations
- Hold a series of field trips to urban farms and gardens
- Facilitate urban farmer micro-business training
- Support cultural competency and anti-oppression training for urban-agriculture-serving organizations
- Provide support for farmers to access USDA programs/services
- Provide support for farmers to access urban farmland
Steering Committee Responsibilities:
- Provide overall guidance on initiatives as outlined above
- Facilitate partnerships across the metro area to support urban agriculture and urban gardening
- Oversee the development of three separate grant-funded programs: 1) one for urban farmers; 2) another for People’s Gardens, and 3) a third for organizations. The steering committee will develop and approve an application/selection process for each program, and select individuals to serve on the review panel
- Meet 4 times/year and be responsive to periodic communication between meetings, around 20-40 hours/year commitment
- Work with RTC to provide feedback to USDA on urban agricultural needs
- Serve in this role for 1 year, renewable up to 3 years
- Collaborative attitude and willingness to work as a team
- Patience working with bureaucratic structures (whose staff are willing to learn)
Current or previous experience working in, and knowledge about:
- any aspect of urban agriculture and gardening, especially focusing on the Twin Cities, including: land access, growing techniques, business and/or food donation, educational programming, conservation practices, soil remediation, urban agriculture policy
- Experience overseeing grant programs is a plus
A Note to Potential Candidates:
The qualifications above serve as a guide for knowledge and capabilities that will be helpful in this position rather than a list of requirements that each candidate must meet. If you are interested, please apply whether you feel you meet every qualification or not. We recognize that every person has a unique and dynamic set of experiences and skills that can positively contribute to our efforts. We appreciate each individual’s strengths and encourage learning and growing into roles at a comfortable pace.
$750 per year per steering committee member
Steering committee nomination process:
The group selected should be broadly representative of the urban farming community throughout the greater Twin Cities Metro Area. We seek diverse representation in terms of: (1) geography, culture, race/ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion; (2) ways of being involved in urban farming at the levels of individual, community, or agency; and (3) areas of concern, including community and youth engagement, environment, economic justice, and racial and ethnic equity.
Please consider nominating yourself or someone else to participate on the steering committee. If you are nominating yourself, please answer the following questions in your format of choice (for example: a short video recording, a written response, or a short interview/conversation). If you are nominating someone else, please let us know their name, why you think they should serve on this committee, and provide their contact information so we can follow up with them.
- Tell us about your experience with urban agriculture.
- Tell us about your experience with, or commitment to, social justice.
- What is your vision for urban agriculture in the Twin Cities?
- Why do you want to participate in this steering committee, and what are your goals?
- What are the main skills, qualities, and/or perspectives that you would bring to this leadership team?
How to apply:
Please submit your written or recorded responses to these questions by September 15, 2023.
If you would like to schedule an interview as a way to answer the five questions above, please contact us ASAP or by Monday, August 28, at the latest, and plan to be available the weeks of August 28, Sept 4, or Sept 11 for a 30-minute recorded conversation (probably by phone or video) with someone from our planning team.
Note that if we get an abundance of applications, we may ask if you are willing to serve (in a compensated way) in one of the other roles needed to make these programs work, such as proposal reviewer, field day facilitator, or resource connector.
For more information and to nominate yourself or someone else, contact: [email protected].