Mountain Roots advances social, economic, and environmental sustainability through community-driven initiatives including Farm to School, Food Security, and Sustainable Agriculture programs.
Mountain Roots is a Community Food Systems initiative located in the Rocky Mountain headwaters community of Gunnison-Crested Butte, CO. Environment, outdoor recreation, sense of place, and quality of life are important to people who choose to live here, despite the rugged conditions. But, we are a Class 2 food desert where barriers to equitable food access are physical , economic, cultural, and educational.
With environmental stewardship as a foundation, we model and teach sustainable agriculture in urban youth as well as manage a number of community farms in collaboration with community members. Actively engaging community members in increasing organic food production simultaneously builds food security, improves community health, and promotes active conservation of our water and land. Programs include a district-wide Farm to School program, six organic gardens and the new community farm, Backyard Harvest (a grow-a-row / food rescue project), Cooking Matters, SNAP+, Kids Cook!, and more.
Our VISTA will join a small but passionate team working to transform this rural local organization’s rapid rise into sustainable growth by developing the Food Security Program arm of the organization. Specifically, this position combats rural food deserts, food insecurity, and obesity by working directly with underserved audiences to challenge systems of oppression, amplify voices, and empower people to take action for personal and community change.
By working in schools and in the general community with low-income and other underserved audiences, you’ll develop current access strategies into lasting programs that increase access to and consumption of fresh food, build self-sufficiency and improve individual and community health, address the root causes of poverty, some social determinants of health, and bridge age, cultural, and socioeconomic gaps. You’ll develop human resources, financial resources and partnerships; developing new strategies that increase community, volunteer, and donor engagement and overall awareness of issues and organizational impact.
The VISTA will also strengthen the organization’s framework through fundraising, annual events, grant writing, diversifying funding streams, building public and private partnerships, outreach and awareness, PR and marketing, etc.
Position Details -
This is an Americorps VISTA service position placed through our partner Community Resource Center (CRC), starting August 28, 2018, with a minimum of one-year commitment and maximum of two years service.
The Day to Day -
This is a capacity-building role, for the organization as a whole and for food security programs, specifically. As such, the activities you can expect to take a lead role in include:
• Pilot Projects: Building on the work of prior VISTA, field-test new/ recommended strategies to improve effectiveness and impact of our anchor projects: Backyard Harvest, Cooking Matters, Promotoras, and the Bill’s Park Giving Garden. To better understand how we can best serve our high-need communities, and to better understand our impact, priorities include: designing and testing new strategies for Inclusivity, strengthening relationships with our underserved community members through mentoring, outreach, and community-based needs assessments, engaging and training volunteers to assist with program delivery.
• Program Development: Develop sustainable program funding sources; strategic planning and goal setting; evaluation; build human resources and develop staff trainings.
• Outreach & Engagement: Increase public awareness around food security issues through direct engagement with target audiences; public presentations; empowering citizens in community advocacy and in developing community/participant based solutions; volunteer engagement.
• Organizational Capacity: VISTA works with the organizational team throughout the year and assists with annual events, community outreach, building public and private partnerships, awareness, PR, and marketing.
Anti-Poverty Focus & Community Empowerment -
All VISTAs work in communities to help alleviate poverty. At Mountain Roots, this means addressing poverty and hunger issues at the root-cause level. We value the inherent strengths and resources of the community. AmeriCorps VISTA expects project sponsors to involve residents of the community in planning, developing, and implementing the project. This approach allows low-income individuals the freedom to speak for themselves in determining the projects that best suit their specific needs.
Program Benefits -
Living Allowance of $1026/month
Choice of Education Award ($5,815) or End of Service Stipend ($1,500) upon successful completion of service
Health Care Coverage
What We’re Looking For:
• Genuine passion for and support of the mission of Mountain Roots Food Project
• Skills and experience in community mobilizing or grass-roots organizing
• Enjoys working with people of diverse economic and cultural backgrounds, ages, abilities (Spanish language would be very helpful as many of our audiences are Spanish speakers)
• Overall awareness of and interest in community development (helping people to meet their own needs)
• Very effective interpersonal skills, written and verbal communication, public speaking
• Strong background in fundraising, grant writing, and event organizing
• Versatile multi-tasker: strong skills in planning, organizing, community mobilizing, strategic (‘big picture’) thinking, analyzing, and leadership
• Effective time management: balance multiple projects with varying deadlines, assist staff and volunteers in doing same, ability to work with a group, and sometimes alone, to ensure timely completion of tasks
• Comfortable with establishing new relationships, forging new ground, cold-calling
• Working knowledge of small-scale organic food production
• Interest and physical ability to perform field work, able to lift 50lbs.
• Able to find value in everyone’s contribution and put people at ease, helping them feel safe, confident, valued, and connected to each other
• Ability to conduct research using several methods, compile and analyze data
HOW TO APPLY
Please read about Mountain Roots and our programs on our website.
Then read about Community Resource Center (CRC) at http://crcamerica.org/americorps-vista-project/
It is essential that you submit an application to both Mountain Roots and to the Americorps VISTA system. Final placement is decided by Mountain Roots.
Step 1. Please send a resume and a narrative, no more than two pages, indicating your interest in the position to: Holly Conn, email@example.com
In your narrative, please answer the following questions:
1. What prior experience do you have with local food systems, poverty and hunger, underserved / low-income populations? Please explain.
2. What does food security mean to you?
3. What goals or objectives do you have related to food security / food systems and how will this position prepare you to meet these goals?
4. Tell us about a time when you worked directly with an individual or a group of people whose cultural or economic background was very different from your own. What was most important or effective? What would you have done differently and why?
5. What three attributes would co-workers, friends, and family all agree that you possess? Please give examples.
Step 2. We will send you a link to register and complete an online application to Americorps VISTA.
You can start your registration with Americorps VISTA here:
Deadline: We will accept applications until the position is filled. Priority consideration will be given to early applicants. Complete applications must be received by July 14. This includes your application to Americorps VISTA. Please direct questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Holly Conn at 970-417-7478