AmeriCorps Food Educator Positions Now Open

Apply to be a member of the AmeriCorps Food Educator team with Common Threads! This service position will begin on August 23, 2021. Applications will be reviewed in rounds with a first round deadline on April 15th and a second round deadline on May 15th. If there are still openings, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until filled, so please don’t delay in getting your application in! 

Dates of service: August 23, 2021 – August 12, 2022

Total amount of service: 1700 hours minimum (full time!)

View the position posting here

To apply, complete the Common Threads’ AmeriCorps application form, and send a resume, cover letter, and two letters of reference to Margo Heffron at hr@commonthreadsfarm.org. 

For questions or to request reasonable accommodation in the application process, please email Margo Heffron at hr@commonthreadsfarm.org or call 360-927-1590.

What is Common Threads?

Common Threads connects kids to healthy food in the garden, in the kitchen, and at the table. We want kids to grow up making food choices that are good for their bodies, their communities, and the environment. Founded in 2007 and based in Bellingham, Washington, Common Threads is a grassroots, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes a “seed to table” approach to food production, good nutrition, and environmental stewardship. Historically, most of our programs have taken place on public school grounds, during the school day.  Common Threads also runs after-school gardening and cooking programs at schools and affordable housing complexes, and spring/summer camps at an urban farm site. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our focus has shifted toward food production and distribution to hungry kids and families as well as fostering community connection with on-line educational content. We are committed to balancing community service with COVID-19 safety for our team and the communities we serve.

At Common Threads, we are actively committed to social equity and justice and strongly encourage candidates of all racial and gender identities, cultural and economic backgrounds, and of any sexual orientation to apply for employment and service opportunities. Common Threads is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, or marital status in employment or the provision of services.

Why join the AmeriCorps Food Education team at Common Threads?

  • Make a positive difference in your community during a time of uncertainty by getting healthy food into the hands of hungry kids and families
  • Learn new skills and gain new experiences
  • Make new personal and professional connections
  • Receive a stipend not less than $17,000 ($1,416.66 monthly) before tax for full-time position (1700 hours). We continue to work with funders to increase this amount. Food Educators are service members, not employees, and thus do not qualify for unemployment benefits upon completion or release from the program
  • Receive an Segal AmeriCorps Education Award from the National Service Trust in the amount of $6,345 upon successful completion of service
  • Health care coverage including dental and vision
  • Subsidized childcare for qualified members
  • Basic Food Benefits eligibility
  • Opportunity to learn and grow in the company of other passionate service members 
  • Federal Holidays excluding Martin Luther King Jr Day (additional time off approved on a case-by-case basis) 
  • Professional development including but not limited to:
    • Education – teaching and adapting lessons based on Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), outdoor classroom management, culturally relevant and trauma-informed teaching practices, mindfulness for resilient educators
    • Farming & Gardening– winterization, crop succession and rotation, drip irrigation, soil and compost stewardship, pruning, seeding and starts 
    • Equity – brave spaces, “racial equity deep dive,” food justice
    • Professional skills – communication styles, conflict resolution, constructivist listening, resume and cover letter writing, meeting facilitation, story-telling and virtual content creation

 

What will I do as an AmeriCorps Food Educator?

Each AmeriCorps Food Educator will serve as the lead educator at one or more of Common Threads’ partner school sites, leading school-based garden lessons during spring and fall and cooking lessons during winter. 

Additionally, each service member may collaborate with the full team (staff and Food Educator teammates) to: 

  • Lead or support after school gardening and/or cooking clubs (school-based and affordable housing complexes)
  • Lead camp-style programs during spring and summer breaks
  • Support emergency food production and distribution efforts
  • Recruit and manage volunteers to help maintain/improve school garden(s) and support lessons at assigned school(s)
  • Manage administrative tasks, including email communications, data collection, and project prep time
  • Develop and/or facilitate live or recorded virtual content related to gardening and cooking
  • Support school district food service programs, including but not limited to meal production, packing, distribution, and lunch support
  • Support other relevant food education and food resiliency opportunities as they arise
  • Develop and use an equity lens during all aspects of service

Specialized Roles: Though all of our AmeriCorps service members will be selected as Food Educators, you can additionally apply and be selected for the following specialized roles:

Farm Team will be selected based largely on agricultural skills and experience in growing food. Responsibilities may include:

  • Support Food Educators in managing assigned school and community garden(s)
  • Develop and lead trainings for Food Educators on a variety of farming and gardening topics
  • Assist Food Educators in developing crop plans for school gardens and greenhouses
  • Manage greenhouse propagation in collaboration with the Food Education team (staff and AmeriCorps members)

Communications Team will be selected based largely on interest and previous experience with one or more of the following: social media, photography or videography, graphic design, and writing in a nonprofit/business environment. Responsibilities may include:

  • Capturing and telling stories of impact
  • Collaboratively creating content including photos, videos, blog posts, and print material
  • Scheduling and posting regularly to Facebook and Instagram
  • Supporting other projects depending on interest. Past examples have included grant application support, website improvement, community outreach. 

Curriculum Team will be selected based largely on interest and past experience in writing curriculum and teaching children. Responsibilities may include:

  • Training Food Educators in leading garden and cooking lessons
  • Leading lesson debriefs
  • Improving curriculum based on Food Educator and teacher reflections and needs
  • Writing new curriculum as needed

Volunteer Coordinator(s) will be selected based largely on previous volunteer management experience. Responsibilities may include:

  • Train and support food educators in the recruitment, supervision, and appreciation of volunteers
  • Manage the application and background check process in collaboration with school district volunteer coordinators
  • Coordinate and assign volunteers to different school sites and work parties
  • Update volunteer database and track volunteer hours 

 

How is Common Threads navigating the COVID-19 pandemic?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our focus has shifted toward food production and distribution to hungry kids and families as well as fostering community connection with on-line educational content. As schools reopen this spring, the Common Threads Food Education team will teach spring gardening lessons to groups of students 100% outdoors, socially distanced and masked. 

We are committed to balancing community service with COVID-19 safety for our team and the communities we serve. We constantly update our COVID-19 safety protocols to stay in alignment with guidance from the Whatcom County and Washington Departments of Health and the CDC. We provide staff and AmeriCorps members with PPE and sanitizer. It will be a requirement for accepted Food Educator applicants to complete COVID-19 vaccination before the start of the service term. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns about this requirement.

 

Depending on the stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, responsibilities of Food Educators are subject to change. Service opportunities will be a combination of virtual remote and in-person service that is likely outdoors, socially distanced, and masked. Service members will participate regularly in low-risk and infrequently in moderate risk activities. Common Threads cannot guarantee zero risk of COVID-19.

What skills and qualifications do I need?

Minimum requirements:

  • A U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
  • At least 17 years of age by August 23, 2021
  • Have obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent (or agrees to obtain a high school diploma or its equivalent before using an Education Award)
  • Satisfy the National Service Criminal History Check eligibility criteria. 
  • Passion for and understanding of Common Threads’ mission and programs
  • Willing and able to serve in-person and remotely in Bellingham and Whatcom County
  • Willing and able to travel to multiple service sites in Bellingham and Whatcom County (via personal vehicle, Common Threads vehicle, bike, etc.)
  • Willing to serve long hours outside in all weather
  • Passionate, committed, creative, adaptable, detail-oriented, capable of working both independently and as a team
  • Ability to create own structure within the day and work independently, and be a proactive self-starter on projects
  • Basic computer skills

The ideal candidate will also:

  • Have experience working with kids
  • Have experience gardening, farming, cooking or nutrition
  • Familiarity with Google Suite and Zoom
  • Speak to what special skills, personal experiences or perspectives they will bring to the team

What is the start and end date of this position? Will there be any breaks?

Accepted applicants will be expected to be in Bellingham to start a three-week orientation on August 23, 2021. After the training, service will start immediately and continue until August 12, 2022. Typically service projects follow the school schedule and Food Educators are offered time off on Federal Holidays excluding Martin Luther King Jr Day, as well as a Winter Break. Additional requests for time off will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.