Organization Summary: Backyard Growers (BYG) is a grassroots community-based organization in Gloucester, MA. We are a small but mighty group of committed people who love what we do, and have fun while we work hard. Our mission is to cultivate healthy, connected, environmentally sustainable communities and to fight for food justice by teaching people how to grow their own food. BYG provides resources and support to establish vegetable gardens at homes, housing communities, organizations, and schools, and offers learning opportunities in growing and preparing fresh produce.
We serve public school children and low- to moderate-income residents in Gloucester, and share our program models regionally through a consulting practice to increase our impact. Our goals are to increase access to healthy, affordable foods, mobilize attitude and behavior changes around healthy food choices, reactivate neglected urban spaces through food production, and build community and support self-sufficiency within diverse populations. We believe that by growing our own food, we are empowered, connected, and strengthened.
Position Summary: This position is our lead school program staff person responsible for the implementation and execution of all Backyard Growers’ School Program activities. The Garden Educator also supports community garden programs with a focus on educational programs, community outreach, volunteer and service population engagement, and physical garden site maintenance. This position reports to the Program Director and works closely with the Program Coordinator.
This role is our lead school garden educator and implements all of Backyard Growers’ school program deliverables. At the elementary school level, this includes Salad Days & Fall Harvest Days—a program that involves growing two crops each year with K-5 students and hosting district-wide harvest celebrations. Job duties also include teaching in-class food systems lessons, leading monthly cafeteria taste tests, and developing special events and initiatives to promote food system literacy and healthy school food culture.
The Garden Educator will deliver our middle school programs at O’Maley Middle School, including our 6th grade Popcorn, 7th grade Wheat, and 8th grade Soil Health programs. Job duties include collaborating with teachers to integrate the school garden into their lessons, designing and leading lessons, and strengthening connections with other academic departments to make the program truly interdisciplinary. This role will be responsible for our pre-school Stone Soup program at Gloucester’s public pre-school and Pathways for Children. This position will also work with Gloucester High School students, staff and administrators on the integration of the high school permaculture garden into student life.
The Garden Educator will work closely with our service population and with outside volunteers. They will work alongside the rest of our programs team on the development of resources, training and support for our consulting programs, and other community garden work. The Garden Educator is an integral member of the Backyard Growers staff and as such will support other timely initiatives, events, and the continued expansion of Backyard Growers as part of our strategic plan. Duties and responsibilities include:
Execute Backyard Growers’ school program model in Gloucester, including all Salad Days and Fall Harvest Days events and activities
Lead all in-school and school garden activities in Gloucester from preschool through high school
Coordinate cafeteria taste tests and other Farm to School initiatives
Maintain physical school garden sites
Expand upon existing school programs through the development of additional lessons, learning opportunities and relevant student-focused activities
Coordinate lead parent volunteers for all schools and build relationships with administrators, teachers and parents across school sites
Capture school programs through photos, videos, trainings and other social media opportunities to help promote Backyard Growers’ work
Support Backyard Growers’ school program consulting and expansion efforts
Help with community garden site management, including raised bed repairs and overall site improvements
Work with residents and youth at Gloucester Housing Authority community gardens through special events and regular interactions to support successful growing and community building at those sites
Help build new raised beds as part of our annual Backyard Garden Program
Organize Backyard Growers’ seed collection and distribution process, including ordering and dispersing of seeds to community and program members
Assess program needs and strengths, identify areas for improvement, and adapt programming to meet goals
Follow grant requirements, document procedures, make purchases, track outcomes using our measurement tools, and track impact data
Assist as needed with events, which may include community and school events, internship fairs, garden events and workdays, fundraising events, etc.
Represent Backyard Growers at conferences and other public events
Inventory program materials, garden sheds, and equipment
Help with a variety of administrative tasks in the office, including checking voicemails, ordering supplies, office maintenance, and helping with mailings