Interfaith Food Seeks 2 AmeriCorps VISTA Members – Apply Now!

posted November 26, 2019

The Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative (ISFC) is a non-profit organization seeking 2 AmeriCorps VISTA members to assist with advancing our mission: to advance the production of and access to healthy food produced in a sustainable, socially just manner by empowering faith communities with models and resources to impact local food systems and advance public policy.

The Positions: The Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative offers VISTAs the opportunity to build sustainable food systems by working with the faith community. The VISTAs will serve as part of a very small team including up to 3 VISTAs focusing on helping low-income people in Sonoma, Marin, Alameda and Contra Costa counties of California access healthy local food. This will emphasize promoting purchase incentives for fruits and vegetables and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs and produce stands at faith-based sites. The VISTAs will participate in an orientation and attend trainings to build professional and personal skills. The VISTAs will gain familiarity with key aspects of non-profit management and network with community food access groups. Each position will have a different primary focus: community gardens and farms; facilitating job development in the food and urban farming sector; and marketing relationships through CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and produce stands. The VISTAs will be working in a dynamic fluid environment within a 7 year old organization.

The goal of each VISTAs assignment is to: increase food security for low-income individuals, AmeriCorps VISTA members will share models and lessons learned on how congregations and farmers can partner to create farm marketing outlets that supply fresh, sustainably grown produce and products to low income people. Each AmeriCorps VISTA will develop skills in: grant writing, program development; community outreach, community organizing, and evaluation. 

Key activities that the requested AmeriCorps VISTA Members will advance include:

  1. Facilitating relationships between low-income farmers and other food business entrepreneurs and faith-based groups that can support or partner to advance enterprises.
  2. Fundraising, with an emphasis on grant-writing, and program development to support mini-grants and build project capacity.
  3. Sharing and facilitating use of innovative ways that low income consumers and farmers can access and use CalFresh, Senior Farmers Market Nutrition and WIC.
  4. Share models and lessons learned on how congregations and farmers can partner to create community farms and gardens that supply fresh produce and products to low-income people.
  5. Facilitate new partnerships informed by lessons learned and ISFC experience. 
  6. Develop and make available resources including skilled volunteers and direct financial support in the form of mini-grants to congregations to improve economic opportunity through food access.
  7. Developing program evaluation systems to monitor impacts in-terms of intermediate outputs and outcomes.
  8. Outreach for an annual Conference; and workshops/trainings annually.

Terms/Stipend for the Position: The full-time position is for one year beginning November, 2019 and will be based in Sebastopol, California. Serving as a VISTA is a full-time commitment.  Some local travel for night and weekend meetings will be required. Compensation includes a stipend from the Corporation for National Service of approximately $1580.00 per month as well as basic medical insurance and a childcare allowance. VISTA’s receive an approximately $6,000 educational award upon successful completion of service and a student loan deferment while serving. 

Qualifications: The best candidates will have a familiarity with community organizing, sustainable food systems and/or faith community work. Spanish language skills are highly desirable. Experience with cross-cultural relationship building and social networking platforms is a plus. Strong oral and written communication skills are key. A B.A. degree or above is required.

How to Apply: Interested individuals should contact Steve Schwartz at Steve@interfaithfood.org or (707) 634-4672 and review the AmeriCorps website (www.Americorps.gov). This is a competitive position. Please submit a resume as soon as possible as we are scheduling interviews through 10/29/19-11/11/19.  Applicants may also apply through the AmeriCorps VISTA website: http://bit.ly/ISFC-VISTA-2019 

Introduction to the Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative (ISFC)

Established in 2012, the ISFC facilitates faith communities sharing models to produce and access healthy, local food and build a more sustainable food system by providing resources to help committed congregations increase their level of activity. The ISFC also engages in policy activism by connecting congregations to educational resources and specific advocacy opportunities. Interfaith Food works to broaden the base of the sustainable agriculture movement by building bridges between faith and farming communities.

Interfaith Food empowers congregations to develop programs through networking, technical assistance and financial assistance. Through seven regional conferences and more than 30 workshops and trainings, we have identified more than 300 congregations interested in advancing a just, sustainable food system. With these congregation and other partners, we’re building the movement of people demanding healthy, sustainable food by facilitating cooperation with and among faith community leaders.  Many low-income individuals in the SF Bay Area do not have adequate access to affordable food. Farmers need more outlets to sell food and infrastructure to be able to accept payments from individuals using government assistance programs. Families without land or garden space need places to grow their own food. The ISFC empowers congregations with resources to advance programs that address these challenges. The sustainable agriculture and local food advocates have had many successes over the decades. Several religious denominations have advanced initiatives highlighting the connection between the food system and spirituality. Many creative programs have blossomed from this, but the diverse application of congregational-level projects has not been catalogued and shared in a way that facilitates development of new projects across the faith spectrum. The ISFC fills the gap by facilitating sharing of innovative models.  More information can be found at www.interfaithfood.org.