August 16, 2017
Seeking Organizational Director
Development, Communications, Organization
Fourth Quarter 2017
|Type of Contract:
Part Time Employee
Reports directly to the Board
Development, Communications, Organization
30 Hours per week
About Agrarian Trust
Agrarian Trust is a newly formed farmland access advocacy organization and community land trust. Founded in 2014 as a partnership between Schumacher Center for New Economics and Greenhorns, Agrarian Trust is now an independent 501c3 organization based in California with a national scope. Agrarian Trust has the mission to support farmland access and succession– and to ensure fair, affordable tenure for those entering and exiting the sustainable regional farm economy. It proposes to serve this mission through engagement with stakeholders, national advocacy and educational programming, and by holding farmland in common trust to be leased to sustainable farmers.
Rationale for Our Work
Agrarian Trust was founded through a unique multi-stakeholder approach guided by principles of holocracy and horizontality, beginning from shared principles that reflect a “new economics.” Land and property are at the center of capitalism; historically and to this day land ownership and land tenure can be highly charged subjects. Structural power and shared trauma related to the coercion, expropriation, forced labor and ‘cheap food’ policies in the United States have undervalued natural resources and human labor, to the detriment of agroecosystems and food sovereignty. Conventional land conservation and conservation finance have arisen through elites and been structured as a top-down, hierarchical enterprise. It is explicit in the vision of Agrarian Trust to contradict these patterns in favor of a more commons-based, community-benefit approach. This is reflected in the job structures, the decision-making practices, our role as a public educator and advocate for best practices, our collaboration with other organizations and individuals in the space, and in our legal code, referral practices and trust model.
The basis for this work in commons-based land management practices comes from the many case studies and their functional principles documented by Nobel prize Winner Elinor Ohrstrum in her pivotal work Governing the Commons. This work catalogs the many land-based economies which successfully tempered ‘individualistic exploitation’ via cultural patterns of commoning. Agrarian Trust seeks to foster accountable and ultimately more ecologically based and socially embedded land relations. This land ethic has been elaborated on by land-reform advocates such as Leo Tolstoy, Ghandi, Upton Sinclair, and Henry George and has been practiced by thousands of people across all kinds of geographies and many very fragile and fluctuating ecosystems. Particularly in a changing climate–adaptive, resilient and responsive social structures may prove key in ensuring truly sustainable agriculture, culture and economy on the land.
We are looking for employees/leaders/staff-trustees who can embody this ‘community benefit’ framework, who are self-motivated, dedicated and able to operate in the spheres or “circles” of Agrarian Trust. Work is organized into ‘circles’ where staff/volunteers/interns/fellows/board members work to serve the function and workplan of the organization (development, communications, administration, HR, etc.). Each circle draws on the expertise of its members to accomplish its work. We look forward to speaking with candidates who are literate in the cultural practices of restorative justice, and highly passionate about cooperative working relationships.
For further information about our organizational model please refer to:
- “Reinventing Organizations”
Other recommended titles include:
- Patterns of Commoning by Silke Helfrich
- Thinking like a Commoner by David Bollier
- Stop Thief by Peter Linebaugh.
And many titles can be found on the Agrarian Trust reading list: http://www.librarything.com/catalog/thegreenhorns&tag=land+literacy&collection=-1
We are looking for a leader with strong team-building skills and a sharp focus on organizational capacity building; the Organizational Director will immediately join the search committee for the Financial Director position, who will be building the farmland investment fund. The Agrarian Trust board is committed to a brisk and assertive startup and early growth stage for the organization, so we are looking for proven startup and leadership capacity.
We recommend that candidates who come from outside the fields of land conservation and farm service provision demonstrate their rationale and qualifications for entering this new field of work.
The Organizational Director operates as a ‘Staff Trustee’ under the bylaws of Agrarian Trust.
All Staff Trustees have the duty to steward the organization (and its landholdings) in trust for the benefit of society and the planet, and for the watershed and the foodshed where the farm is located. Staff Trustees are directly accountable to all other Protagonists (which include farmer-members, investor-members, and committee-members).
Staff Trustees work closely with the Agrarian Trust members and Regional Trustees to accomplish the work of the Trust.
- All staff members of the organization act as trustees of its purpose.
- Each “Staff Trustee” becomes a point of direct accountability for the organization. Accountability to members is achieved through direct contact with staff, and less so through election of Directors.
- Staff have heightened responsibility, and as such, heightened influence.
- In order to carry out their heightened responsibilities, each staff member will have relatively equal powers to other staff members. This eliminates expensive and clunky hierarchies.
- The Staff Trustees shall use an internal governance/operational model that distributes power among them, ensuring a great deal of agency for each staff member.
- One value central to this organization is relatively equal compensation and benefits for staff trustees. Staff Trustees all receive relatively equal pay. Equal pay recognizes that all Staff Trustees have diverse, but equally important duties to the Trust, and it promotes a different relationship with the Trust. It prevents a view of the Trust jobs as a system of commodities within which staff can compete to move up a status hierarchy in relation to other coworkers.
- Holocratic principles are central to the culture and operations of Agrarian Trust, building competency in this arena is a requirement for this position.
Organizational Director Qualifications:
- Minimum 3 Years in nonprofit management
- Minimum 3 Years in marketing, development, and outreach.
- Bachelor’s degree required
- Demonstrated experience in land conservation
- Demonstrated experience in organizational startup
- Demonstrated experience working with stakeholder board members, funders, and colleagues.
To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, two writing samples (article/presentation/press piece/links to video presentations) and three professional references to firstname.lastname@example.org. The cover letter should not exceed one page, and it should include an introduction of the candidate, a brief description of the candidate’s background in the field, topical literacy, qualifications, aptitudes and personal motivations, and a list of three professional references.
|Key outcomes:Build a solid organizational foundation for Agrarian Trust, and place the organization in position to grow to serve the large national audience of clients who seek support with land access.|