Opportunities

Director of Farm Operations at Sylvester Manor Educational Farm

Reports to: Executive Director
Position Type:
Full-time

About Sylvester Manor Educational Farm:
This historic landscape was inhabited and managed by indigenous people for millennia; the site of the educational farm has been continually cultivated for a thousand years. Since 1652, Sylvester Manor Educational Farm on Shelter Island has been home to eleven generations of its original European settler family and is now considered to be the most intact plantation remnant north of Virginia.

In 2009, the property, with its 1735 Manor House, 240 acres of woodland, waterfront, meadows and farmland, became a non-profit. In its latest reincarnation, it encompasses an organic educational farm that provides the community with fresh produce, a Summer Youth Program and numerous arts and cultural initiatives. The Manor House, still full of family history, artifacts and possessions, is open on a seasonal basis for tours and exhibition, while its grounds and gardens provide a tranquil respite for visitors April through October.

The existing farm was started by Bennett Konesni, Co-Founder of Sylvester Manor, over 10 years ago and has emerged as a model of educational and community farming; a place that is committed to fulfilling his vision of making life more joyful and fair. The mission of Sylvester Manor Educational Farm is to preserve, cultivate and share the history of Sylvester Manor to ensure that food and art remain connected to community and the land.

Job Summary:
Sylvester Manor Educational Farm seeks a responsible, dynamic self-starter with excellent interpersonal, management and strategic skills to help direct and grow the existing farm operation.

Sylvester Manor currently produces vegetables, small fruit and livestock on approximately 4 acres; the farm serves a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program of approximately 125 members as well as an existing farm stand. Though we are not certified organic, we follow organic practices and are committed to environmentally sound farming. We aim to provide healthy and nourishing food for our community and seek to strengthen the connection between community and the land we steward.

The Director of Farming Operations will be responsible for supervising all aspects of the farm operation including but not limited to planning, planting, harvest and post-harvest. Our goal over the next two years is to expand the farm from 4 acres to at least 12 acres and to double production. Long term, we plan on incorporating farming into the entire 240-acre historic site, presenting exciting opportunities for creativity, innovation and sustainable farming, including silvopasture and indigenous land management.

This person will work closely with our Retail Manager and report to the Executive Director. This is a full-time, salaried position with benefits and housing, and requires at least 5 years of farm experience. Candidates should have experience managing staff, volunteers and community members, and possess very strong communication and organizational skills. Must be a team player and able to work collaboratively and independently; a creative thinker, a detail-oriented multi-tasker and a motivating, effective team leader.

Essential Responsibilities

● Direct all aspects of an existing farm including planning, planting, harvest and post-harvest of a diversified fruit, vegetable and livestock operation
● Work with Executive Director and others on staff to strategically and effectively expand farm production/operation and improve sustainability
● Work with Executive Director, Retail Manager and others on staff to expand farm markets (retail, wholesale, farmer markets)
● Create, monitor and adhere to farm-related budgets, production records, cost control systems and resource and waste management systems
● Recruit, lead and steward farm apprentices, volunteers and community members
● Educate and train apprentices on an ongoing basis
● Operate and oversee maintenance of tractors and other farm equipment
● Cultivate relationships with CSA members, farmstand customers, community members and other partners
● Network with other local farms and regional agricultural entities to further build and strengthen community
● Work with Director of Operations to develop and implement weekly CSA newsletter, farm blog, social media posts and other marketing materials
● Participate in ongoing site-wide master planning process and work with lead facilitators on long term planning and growth of farm
● Work with Director of Summer Youth Program and others on staff to advance educational programming
● Assist in donor cultivation and other non-profit events and programs as needed
● Attend staff and organizational meetings as needed
● Other miscellaneous job-related duties as assigned

Qualifications

● At least 5 years of farming experience including familiarity with sustainable agricultural practices
● At least 75 hours of tractor operation and machine maintenance
● Experience with vegetable, fruit and livestock production
● Experience with growing in the Northeast
● Experience with CSA programs and retail markets
● Experience with highly efficient, innovative and profitable production methods such as Ben Hartman’s model of “lean farming”
● Ability to recruit, lead and train apprentices and volunteers, including organizing and prioritizing work assignments
● Ability to work independently, collaboratively and with supervision
● Ability to work effectively in a fast-paced environment with multiple priorities and frequent deadlines
● Excellent oral and written communication skills, including computer literacy
● Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to effectively communicate with a diverse community of individuals and constituents
● Ability to problem solve and to multi-task
● Must be able to accept and assume assigned responsibilities and make responsible decisions when required
● Well-organized with demonstrated ability to manage details efficiently and effectively
● Demonstrated ability to meet deadlines and function effectively in an environment that demands a high energy level, discretion, patience, flexibility, enthusiasm and humor
● Willing and able to work evenings and weekends when necessary
● Ability to lift at least 30 pounds
● Non-profit experience and educational farming a plus, but not required
● Computer proficiency including Google Suite/Google Drive, Microsoft Office, database and spreadsheet experience

To Apply
: Please send cover letter, resume and salary requirements to Tracy McCarthy, Director of Operations, at tmccarthy@sylvestermanor.org

Sylvester Manor Educational Farm is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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