Saltcatcher Farms is a community teaching center and gathering space located in Denmark, SC (Bamberg County) where residents can cultivate food sovereignty through education and access while securing economic empowerment through green jobs. By providing tangible examples of low-cost, low-tech demonstrations and training, the farm encourages residents of all ages to see farming, gardening, and food entrepreneurship as an accessible tool to improve their physical, mental and financial health. Emulating the businesses it aims to cultivate, the farm is run with an entrepreneurial approach designed to create jobs and support the community through mission driven revenue generating activities. Youth and adults can roll-up their sleeves and dig-in for transformational experiences in growing, cooking, and eating fresh fruits and vegetables. The project is intended to build the physical and social infrastructure necessary to bring residents, local organizations, schools, and businesses together to build a resilient local food economy.
Saltcatcher Farms is a project of Southeastern Housing and Community Development (SHCD), a nonprofit organization established in 1976 that fosters self-sufficiency and community development by providing holistic housing, social and economic opportunities for individuals and families. “Growing Healthier Communities” is a program of SHCD developed to catalyze an equitable and sustainable local food system focused on empowering residents to increase their self sufficiency by cultivating food, teaching skills for healthy living, and providing opportunities in food entrepreneurship. These goals are met through the services, projects, and collaborations of the Bamberg County Health Coalition and Saltcatcher Farms. The Coalition facilitates collaboration and grassroots organizing focused on a mission of empowering Bamberg County residents to improve their health and achieve economic stability by connecting them with education and resources that create a better quality of life. To realize this mission, Saltcatcher provides the physical space, infrastructure and programming to support the work of both the coalition and the broader food system work of SHCD.
Saltcatcher Farms is located in rural Denmark, SC and includes a 5 acres site which is currently comprised of 20 raised garden beds, a tool library, a high tunnel, a greenhouse, compost area, pollinator habitat, main-line irrigation, fencing, and storage shed. All edible food production is conducted above ground in raised beds and containers with the potential for in-ground production at another 5 acre farm site owned by SHCD. Plans for the existing farm location include the upfitting of a production greenhouse, wash/pack line, walk-in cooler (using a cool-bot), the use of large cisterns for stormwater control and use, pollinator habitat, cover crop demonstrations, commercial scale composting, laying hens, outdoor classroom, and a teaching kitchen. Available equipment beyond small engines and hand-tools includes two small John Deer tractors (850/1050) and a Ford Ranger farm truck. Saltcatcher is currently overseen by the Executive director with two employees providing daily oversight as well as part-time support from SHCD maintenance staff and technical support from a project consultant (as well as community partners). In addition to the Growing Healthier Communities, the site is also home to the Lumber to Livelihoods program focused on rural economic development through green jobs in the lumber industry leveraging materials from deconstructed houses and excess timber to create small batch dimensional lumber. Currently lumber, mulch, and sawdust from the project are being used at Saltcatcher.
The Farm Manager at Saltcatcher Farms has the opportunity to play an active and integral role in the planning and development of a unique and pioneering project and program working with a broad range of organizations and individuals in rural South Carolina. In the first year, the Farm Manager position will be focused on reaching the infrastructure and programmatic goals as well as managing the daily operations for Saltcatcher Farms at the current location. The position includes all aspects of daily operations of the 5-acre site including the planning, planting, maintenance, harvesting, distribution, and oversight of the garden as well as those staff and contractors working on-site. In the future, the position will include in-ground production management at the alternate location. As a farm grounded in sustainability, the operation needs to include an understanding of the environmental, social, and economic aspects of the farm operation including utilizing organic practices (non-certified), empowering community members through education, and acting as a catalyst for social entrepreneurship by engaging in and promoting revenue generating activities on the farm. This includes annual vegetable and perennial production, laying hens, and management of revenue generating distribution activities (FoodShare, raised bed kits, etc). This position requires commitment to and skill with working collaboratively with people from many backgrounds and creativity in managing the unique challenges of a teaching farm growing above ground. The Farm Manager will coordinate the Growing Green Jobs farm activities, ensure produce delivery to FoodShare and other customers, and work with the Community Engagement Manager and organizational partners to ensure a strong connection to the community (including working with volunteers). The Farm Manager will be responsible for continuing to build healthy soil for production – serving as the steward for an environmentally, economically and socially viable farm. This position will report to the Executive Director, work collaboratively with the Community Engagement Manager, and supervise the activities of maintenance staff and interns.
This is a full-time, exempt employee position at 40 hours/week. This position requires some evenings and weekend work, as well as a heavier workload during the season over the off-season. Adjustments to hours worked and a flexible work schedule are available. The hourly rate range is $20 - $22/ hour, depending on qualifications and experience. Saltcatcher Farms provides a generous benefits package including employer paid group health insurance, 401k match, paid sick and vacation time and holidays in accordance with the Southeastern Housing and Community Development Handbook.
Essential Duties & Responsibility
Develop long-term integrated plan for farm operations, with the Executive Director and Community Engagement Manager;
Develop and implement annual crop plan, with planting and harvesting schedule for each season;
Develop and implement marketing / distribution plan for produce, aligned with SHCD strategic goals and in cooperation with the Executive Director, and other key staff;
Develop a season extension plan with the existing and future hoop houses;
Purchase seeds, supplies, tools and equipment; maintain tools & equipment ongoing;
Manage planting, irrigating, weeding, harvesting, washing, packing and delivering produce;
Maintain the full site for public use, ensuring a positive experience for anyone on site;
Track farm operations and data, including crop plans, energy consumption, harvest log, germination rate, planting schedule, growth tracking, compost production and soil nutrient management soil testing), sales tracking (lot #s, storage, invoicing);
Research farm security methods and processes and determine viability of security systems; oversee implementation of systems;
Ensure compliance with Food Safety Regulations;
In collaboration with the Executive Director, identify and hire additional farm production staff, workshare members, interns and volunteers;
Coordinate and manage the Growing Green Jobs Program; about 3-5 young adults aspiring to work in the agriculture industry;
Supervise farm production staff and Growing Green members, as well as volunteers working on the farm;
Utilize sustainable organic agricultural methods, including weed and pest management and development of soil structure through composting and other organic methods;
Responsible for compliance with all city, county and state agricultural, food and safety policies;
Be an active and articulate ambassador for Saltcatcher Farms;
Assist with preparation of farm reports for grant applications and reports;
Other duties as assigned.
3+ years vegetable farm management using sustainable agriculture practices
Mission driven, passionate, and self motivated
Experience in crop-planning, post harvest handling, and distribution specific to direct market outlets
Experience working with and building relationships with a wide range of diverse or underrepresented groups and individuals
Knowledge and interest in the unique and complex aspects of growing above ground
Experience operating and maintaining tools and farm equipment
Comfort working in a fast-paced, young and growing project
Valid driver’s license
Computer skills required to develop budgets, communicate with colleagues, use software to plan and track farm operations
Ability to work independently and collaboratively
Ability to work weekends and evening hours during peak growing season
Commitment to mission and values of Saltcatcher Farms, including sustainability, community empowerment, social justice and racial equity
Preferred additional qualifications
Interest and commitment to establish and maintain relationships with all staff, representatives of local and state agencies, other community organizations and individual community members
Working knowledge of organic farming standards and techniques
Experience in permanent raised-bed production
Experience in working with accounting staff to manage an operating budget
Experience in high tunnel production
Interest and experience living and working in a rural community
Training in food safety principles and practices
Basic carpentry and mechanical skills
Ability to manage assets resourcefully – equipment, labor etc.
The ability to work outdoors in all weather, including cold, hot, windy, rainy, as needed.
The ability to operate machinery and small engines.
The ability to lift bags and farm supplies.
To apply, send your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Saltcatcher Farm Manager” in the subject line. Applications are currently being accepted and the position is open until filled. Position posted 2/6/2020.
Southeastern Housing and Community Development is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. For applicants with any special needs, SHCD will provide reasonable accommodation to complete the application upon request. To request an accommodation to support your participation in the application or interview process, please email to email@example.com with your request.