The Michigan State University (MSU) Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) within the Department of Community Sustainability is seeking a full-time, fixed-term Grassroots Organizing Fellow. This position is classified as a Specialist-Outreach.
The Outreach Specialist will support training and technical assistance on community organizing and relationship-building in local food council and food policy projects of CRFS. This person will work with two initiatives: the Michigan Local Food Council Network (MLFCN) and the Michigan Good Food Charter (Charter). Together, MLFCN and the Charter provide a foundation for food policy that supports healthy people, thriving economies, sustainable ecosystems and an equitable society.
The MLFCN is a network of 25+ Michigan councils that come together to build their individual and collective capacities to work on food and food policy issues, operate effectively, and engage their communities. This position will be part of a four-person MLFCN team and will provide training and technical assistance on community organizing both to the network broadly and to small-group, intensive learning cohorts. The goal of these trainings is to help councils build skill sets to harness the power of communities – with a focus on those that have been historically and systemically excluded – to effect equitable policy change.
The Charter serves as a roadmap for collaborative food policy action and the development of a statewide food policy voice. This position will support development of a newly restructured organizing body to support the advocacy efforts and build coalition around specific, Charter-related policy actions. The Charter is based on over 10 years of food systems collaboration and coalition-building in Michigan and represents a new opportunity to organize collective action toward shared priorities.
The approximate breakdown of responsibilities will be 75% MLFCN and 25% Charter, although work with the two initiatives is highly interconnected. The capacity-building work this position will do with local food councils directly connects to the larger goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter.
- Lead content development and facilitation of local food council capacity-building in community organizing and advocacy through training and ongoing, targeted technical assistance;
- Provide outreach and technical assistance to councils led by and/or centered on Black, Indigenous, and people of color and councils in areas of low food access;
- Assist councils in building capacity to engage in policy action through the Michigan Good Food Charter and to participate in the development of a statewide food policy voice;
- Provide developmental and logistical support to the newly forming governance body of a statewide food policy voice centered on the Michigan Good Food Charter;
- Develop an advocacy communications plan, in collaboration with the CRFS communications team, connecting Michigan Good Food Charter action priorities to the Michigan Local Food Council Network;
- Participate in convenings and collaboration with CRFS staff and local and state partners virtually and in-person;
- Develop or contribute to development of e-newsletters, papers, resources, and other creative forms of scholarship in a timely fashion for diverse audiences, including academics, practitioners, stakeholders, and the general public. Publication examples include, but are not limited to, guides, policy briefs, videos, webinars, podcasts, reports, and journal articles;
- Present on outreach, research and/or education projects and findings at conferences, meetings, and other venues, which may include scholarly, government, association, and community audiences;
- Contribute to relationship-building and collaborate with CRFS partners and colleagues engaged in local food councils and food policy;
- Engage with the national Food Policy Networks and other relevant state, regional, and national networks as needed; and
- Contribute to reporting on current grant projects.
- Bachelor’s degree required.
- At least five years of community organizing and partnership/coalition development experience in a professional or volunteer setting, with demonstrated experience in campaign development, strategic communications, and/or policy advocacy approaches, network building and/or relationship development. Understanding of municipal/state policy processes and experience providing technical assistance, training, or education preferred.
- Demonstrated experience using an equity lens in community organizing and working with multicultural and diverse populations. Experience in teaching, presenting, and/or group facilitation within diverse communities desired.
- Proven ability to effectively and respectfully engage and collaborate with stakeholder groups such as community, nonprofit, academic, governmental organizations, and funders.
- Understanding of, and commitment to, a culture of anti-racism and inclusivity. Demonstrated participation in programs designed to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Demonstrated resourcefulness and ability to problem-solve and think critically.
- Proven ability to self-direct and balance multiple projects simultaneously and to easily shift between working independently and collaboratively, including as part of a team. Demonstrated project leadership, management, and collaboration desired.
- Demonstrated strong communication and networking skills and experience using a broad range of communication tactics.
- High degree of knowledge and comfort using technology in completing job requirements including Microsoft Office suite; online search, file-sharing, and collaboration platforms; electronic survey software; and phone/web conferencing systems.
- Available to occasionally travel throughout the state and, infrequently, within the U.S. by car or plane, including overnight. Possession of a valid, current state driver’s license required.
Find the full position description on our website ( www.foodsystems.msu.edu/GOF) and on the MSU Careers Portal (posting #764065, https://careers.msu.edu/en-us/job/509738/specialist-outreachfixed-term). Applications will be accepted until Friday, March 25, 2022 at 11:55 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Questions about the position or search process should be directed to Kolia Souza, Food Systems Equity & Advocacy Specialist, at email@example.com.
Visit www.foodsystems.msu.edu to learn more about the Center for Regional Food Systems.