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Community Garden Capacity Builder, Diggable Communities Collaborative

Opportunities Waterloo Region

Background

Community Gardens offer an opportunity for people to get fresh produce at a low cost.  Community gardens help grow more than just fruits and vegetables in a community.  They help make communities more connected, more beautiful, safer and more sustainable.  

The Community Garden Network (30+ gardens), the Community Garden Council (decision-making body for the gardens), Region of Waterloo Public Health and Opportunities Waterloo Region (project lead) have formed a collaborative group called 'Diggable Communities Collaborative (DCC)' to help sustain and expand the community garden network to ensure our growing community will have access to gardening space and fresh, local produce.  Thanks to funding from The Ontario Trillium Foundation, the DCC is seeking a full-time Community Garden Capacity Builder to help bring this vision to life.  

Position Summary

The Community Garden Capacity Builder will coordinate various activities planned to achieve the goals set by the Community Garden Network and Community Garden Council. The key role will be developing and implementing various capacity building initiatives that increase their effectiveness and aid in the sustainability of the network.

The Capacity Builder (CB) is a full-time contract position, funded for 18 months.  S/he will work out of Opportunities Waterloo Region's office in the downtown Kitchener location and will be supervised by Opportunities' Executive Director, while taking direction from the DCC.

Tasks and Responsibilities:

  • conduct a needs assessment for each of the current 30+ gardens in Waterloo Region
  • develop a sustainability plan for the network
  • identify and conduct necessary skills development and capacity improvements with volunteers (i.e. volunteer management, conflict resolution, communication training)
  • co-ordinate or conduct training on a range of urban agriculture practices.  
  • work with municipal agents to help develop policies that will aid in the sustainability of the gardens and the creation of new gardens.  seek new forms of sponsorship to address identified barriers and needs.  
  • act as a spokesperson for community gardens, creating a comprehensive media plan, outreach materials including newsletters, website and other appropriate communication strategies.  Throughout the course of the contract the CB will prepare appropriate reports outlining progress and possibly apply for further grants.
  • Attend council, DCC, and other relevant meetings
  • Recruits and supervises local volunteers and other support staff
  • Record minutes, maintain files, report writing
  • Other duties as they pertain to this position
  • Act as part of a staff team

Skills and Abilities

  • Self-starter/initiator, can work independently and as part of a collaborative process
  • Extensive knowledge of Food security programs/issues, community gardens and local food systems.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, and interpersonal skills
  • Experience working with people of diverse cultures
  • Demonstrated ability to coordinate/facilitate meetings and organize project schedules
  • Excellent problem solving skills and decision making skills.
  • Strong financial management
  • Ability to work in a changing environment
  • Proficient in basic computer applications, data analysis and computer learning skills
  • Ability to work with people of all ages/cultures and understand their concerns
  • Must be able to provide an acceptable Police Records Check
  • Ability to travel to various locations in the Waterloo Region
  • Willingness to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends to ensure the success of the project

Educational Qualifications and Experience

  • Comprehensive knowledge of local food and related environmental issues (background in gardening a strong asset)
  • Post secondary education in environmental studies, education or related field and/or equivalent work experience
  • Previous experience in starting innovative projects, coordinating community gardens will be an asset
  • At least 3 to 5 years experience working in the non-profit/community services sector

Conditions and Benefits

  • This is a full-time, staff position 37.5 hrs weekly for 18 months
  • Benefits package available (including travel expenses, staff parking, three weeks vacation after 1 year)
  • Starting wage is $18 - $20 per hour, depending on experience.

Apply in confidence with your resume and cover letter, no later than 4:00 p.m. on March 7, 2008 to the Hiring Committee: hiringcommittee@owr.ca or fax (519) 568-8587.