Small Farm Technology Advisor

Website CAFF: Community Alliance with Family Farmers

Resilient family farms, communities and ecosystems.

Title: Small Farm Technology Advisor

Location: UC Kearney Agricultural Research & Education Center in Parlier, CA

FTE: 100% FTE

Salary: $58,000-70,000 DOE

FLSA: To be determined (Exempt/Non-exempt)

Reports To: Small Farm Tech Hub Specialist

Bilingual Pay Differential: Eligible

 

CAFF is a California-based membership organization that includes family farmers and other community members passionate about local food, farming, and the environment. As a farmer-serving organization, we recognize the historic and lasting inequities in the California food and farming system. We believe farmers of color, and other historically oppressed people, should have the opportunity to create and participate in a food and agriculture system that aligns with their needs, values, identities, knowledge systems, and communities. We commit to advancing racial, gender, and environmental justice in our larger systems, as well as in our own workplace. Currently our programming is focused in four areas: Farm to Market, Policy & Advocacy, Farmer Services, and Ecological Farming. To learn more about CAFF, our history, and our core values, visit https://www.caff.org/about.

Position Summary
The Small Farm Technology Advisor will play an important role on our Farmer Services team by leading small farm appropriate technology technical assistance efforts within the broader Fresno region. This position was created under the development of the Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation (F3) Coalition, an exciting new development for the Fresno community which received $65.1 million from the American Rescue Plan to accelerate the integration of technology and skills in the region’s agriculture industry—improving productivity and job quality for existing farm workers while driving a more resilient and sustainable food system. This position will be an integral member of the CAFF Small-Farm Tech Hub team and will serve other farmers across California as available and appropriate.

This position will focus on the use and development of appropriate farm technology best suited to the needs of small acreage farmers, including but not limited to; open source, grassroots agricultural technology and innovation, tools adapted to agroecology, digital, software, hardware, on-field production tools from hand tools to robotic carts, etc. Special focus will be dedicated to the topics of data and technological sovereignty, prioritizing farmer-led technological solutions and traditional knowledge, and local challenges experienced by farmers in the Fresno region. This position will play a key role in helping CAFF and the Tech Hub to address the vast disparities related to accessing resources and best-fit technologies for California small farms. This position will help to build out a program that supports an emergent socio-technical ecosystem orientated around agroecology, strengthening local and regional economies, and contributing to a growing innovation commons.

The Small Farm Technology Advisor contributes to organizational and team project strategy. They implement CAFF’s Racial Equity goals and practices throughout their work. This position will be responsible for managing program deliverables including, but not limited to, keeping project related data up to date in Dropbox and Salesforce, monitoring project timelines to plan for any adjustments, partner communication, and completing various project tasks associated with providing farmers technical support. A successful candidate will be highly detail oriented, have technical knowledge on small farm production, expertise in (and/or the ability to quickly develop expertise in) small farm technology and be a clear communicator. Resources developed as part of this program will be shared on CAFF’s website, social media, by webinar and through our many statewide partners, assuring that these tools are accessible to and designed for farmers of all types and from all backgrounds, especially historically marginalized and under-resourced farming communities. A strong grounding in technology for small farmers, a commitment to using technology to advance equity, project management skills, the ability to be part of a dynamic team are all important qualities for succeeding in this unique role.

ESSENTIAL RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:

75% Expanding CAFF’s Small Farm Tech Hub Program in the Fresno Region & Beyond:

  • Identifying and promoting more accessible and scale-appropriate technology within the agricultural industry, especially as the technology relates to “best-fit” and its ability to support the economic viability and resilience of small farms.
  • Provide 1-on-1 technical assistance to farmers via phone, email, and in-person, with particular focus on socially disadvantaged farmers such as immigrant and refugee farmers, farmworkers transitioning to farm ownership, and urban and peri-urban farmers.
  • Connect farmers already receiving technical assistance with financial support in adopting new (to them) technologies for their businesses (e.g. pay monthly subscription fees).
  • Provide workshops, webinars, and farmer co-learning events on various topics related to small farm technology and practices. Lead a farmer-to-farmer learning series once a month from August-October
  • Play a key role in facilitating the planning and implementation of an annual multi-lingual (Spanish, English, Hmong) Small Farm Tech Expo and Innovation Challenge based in Fresno. The Expo is an educational and networking event showcasing tools and technology designed specifically for smaller-scale operations, including not just those for sales and marketing but also production, e.g. tractors, irrigation, etc.
  • Support CAFF’s Small Farm Tech Hub Specialist with production of the annual Small Farm Innovation Challenge, including promotion, organizing applications, and awarding the annual small farm innovation awards.
  • During 2023 contribute to and facilitate completion of a technology needs assessment in the greater Fresno area.
  • Identify other organizations and businesses based in Fresno that work in the small farm technology space and spend time staying up to date on their efforts and possible opportunities for collaboration.
  • Partner with the UC ANR Small Farm Tech & Innovation Advisor to provide facilitation, planning, and coordination of the Small Farm Tech Innovation Alliance through regular meetings, events, and community engagement.
  • Connect F3 Coalition researchers and product developers with farmer needs and facilitate trials of new or existing e-commerce or digital technologies if it’s determined that those technologies have potential to benefit growers.
  • Build bridges between the small farm community and those of tech innovators, Silicon Valley startups, engineers and others to help them better understand the unique needs of small farms and to encourage appropriate-scale innovation.

15% Fundraising & Grant Management

  • Maintain tracking for grants and complete tracking activities when programmatic activities happen (e.g. if a field day is hosted after the field day a Salesforce campaign is created, data added to campaign).
  • Conduct evaluation activities such as following up with growers that received technical assistance to learn about the impact that had for them.
  • Provide input into grant writing by suggesting programmatic activities, timeline, and workplan information. Suggest possible subcontractors and may get letters of support from them.
  • Suggest new funding sources to the  CAFF’s Small Farm Tech Hub Program Manager
  • Collect monthly invoices from long term contractors and submit them to Expensify.
  • Conducts meetings with contractors and tracks project progress.
  • Communicate with subcontractors proactively and clearly.
  • Develop new relationships with possible project collaborators.
  • Provide data needed for progress reports and drafting grant reports to be reviewed by CAFF’s Small Farm Tech Hub Specialist prior to submission.
  • May lead writing a proposal and setting annual development targets.
  • Review budgets to actuals for projects and monitor spending down on grants with oversight by CAFF’s Small Farm Tech Hub Specialist

10% CAFF General Responsibilities

This person will be an important member of CAFF’s Small Farm Tech Hub Team and work closely with all members of the team on various projects.

  • Occasionally assist other CAFF programs with relevant tech and online marketing support, helping make materials more tech-savvy, accessible and integrated with the Small Farm Tech Hub
  • Participate in weekly CAFF staff meetings and annual retreats
  • Participate and contribute to racial equity action planning discussions
  • Represent CAFF as a regional lead by participating in community activities and events as necessary
  • Participate in other administrative tasks as needed
  • Contributes to Farmers Services team annual program area team strategy
  • Other duties and special projects as assigned

We know it’s impossible to convey every single task for a particular job in one job description. Our hope is that as we work together, and your role evolves over time, we can adjust your job description accordingly.

Qualifications

Educational and Work Experience

  • Associates, Bachelor’s, or Master’s Degree in business, applied technology, food systems, horticulture, agroecology, or equivalent preferred
  • At least 2 years of professional experience in small business development, preferably in local food and/or with small farms specifically
  • Small-scale diverse and/or organic farming experience
  • Knowledge of agricultural technologies  and  application to specialty crop production and/or diversified agricultural systems.
  • Event planning
  • Teaching audiences about complex topics
  • Professional experience managing dynamic projects
  • Experience working directly with farmers
  • Experience working with nonprofits strongly preferred
  • Experience in building partnerships and with multidisciplinary teams.
  • Ability to work with ethnically diverse clientele.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Bilingual, bicultural skills in another language required (preferably Spanish & heritage speaker)
  • Passion for sustainable agriculture, local food and family farms and a general understanding of related issues.
  • Solid understanding of practical agricultural technology and equipment as applied to small-scale and diversified agricultural systems.
  • Deep understanding of key concepts and challenges related to small farm businesses.
  • The ability to analyze data and information and develop systems as needed
  • Strong relationship builder, outgoing and eager to collaborate, make connections and grow the program
  • Strong written and oral communication skills in English
  • Flexibility to work independently, with minimal supervision, as well as collaborate with others in a remote team setting
  • Ability to work on a variety of projects simultaneously with occasional weekend and evening commitments
  • Ability to speak publicly and teach to various audiences. Demonstrated excellence in written, oral, and interpersonal, and information technology communication skills.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, especially Excel
  • Proficiency with collaborative working platforms such as Salesforce, Action Network, Wordpress, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Project Management Software

Physical Abilities

  • Ability to sit for long periods of time working at a computer.
  • Ability to drive long distances 4+ hours to visit farmers and conduct trainings.
  • Requires a full range of physical mobility, such as bending, stooping, lifting, turning, carrying objects, and grasping.
  • CAFF’s policy is that all persons are entitled to equal employment opportunities regardless of race, color, religion, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation. We strongly encourage those from diverse backgrounds and from historically underserved communities to apply.

To apply: 

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and sample of your work that you feel is relevant to this position with the subject line “Small Farm Technology Advisor” to TechHub@caff.org by Sunday, February 26th, 2023. Reference requests will be made further along in the application process. We are reviewing applications immediately and hope to have someone hired for the position by mid/late March.

To apply for this job email your details to jobs@caff.org