Seeking a Farm & Sea to School Coordinator

Reports To: Farm Fresh Rhode Isand Co-Executive Director Jesse Rye with shared accountability to USDA Farm to School Grant Advisory Committee comprised of the RI State Director of Food Strategy and representatives from RI Department of Environment and Management (RIDEM) and RI Department of Education (RIDE)

Position Summary
The Farm & Sea to School Coordinator (FS2S Coordinator) is a new position made possible by a multi-year USDA Farm to School grant award to the Rhode Island Department of Environment and Management. The primary responsibilities of the FS2S Coordinator will be to work with farm to school stakeholders across Rhode Island to spearhead the development of a Farm to School Action Plan and to provide overall leadership and coordination of activities by working with state and local governmental and non-governmental partners to increase utilization of Rhode Island grown, made and harvested food, and promote farm to school activities in school districts that participate in the USDA National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program. The action plan will serve as a 3- to 5-year roadmap to support K-12 Rhode Island schools in expanding local food purchasing and other farm to school initiatives statewide. The FS2S Coordinator will work concurrently to expand and deepen RI Farm to School Network engagement and to strengthen the overall sustainability of the RI Farm to School Network through regular meetings, communication, outreach, marketing and resource development.

This position will be hosted at Farm Fresh RI and will report to the Farm Fresh RI Executive Director. The FS2S Coordinator position will work in collaboration with other Farm Fresh RI program staff working on farm to school activities as well as external farm to school partners across Rhode Island and New England. While hosted at Farm Fresh, this position is accountable to project partners in the RI DEM, RIDE, and the RI Commerce Corporation. The FS2S Coordinator will meet on a regular basis with an advisory committee to determine strategic priorities and an annual work plan. This is a limited, grant-funded position with funding confirmed through June 2024. The selected candidate will be responsible for identifying and securing additional funding sources to further the goals of the RI Farm to School Network and to extend this position beyond 2024.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities
Develop and Disseminate the RI Farm to School Action Plan

  • Identify and regularly convene a farm to school planning team, with diverse leadership and membership that reflects the community served with the focus of expanding access to local food and agricultural education across all school districts in Rhode Island.
  • Work with the advisory board and planning team to determine a scope of work for a planning consultant to assist in the development of a 3- to 5-year RI Farm to School Action Plan for K-12 schools.
  • Ensure that the development of the Action Plan is an inclusive planning process with a focus on community driven dialogue, participation and consensus decision-making that will include the following activities and other elements to be identified:
    • Conducting a S.W.O.T or situation analysis
    • Key informant interviews
    • Research national best practices and perform site visits of other farm to school programs
    • Identify farm to school activities for pilot programs with the potential to scale statewide
  • Draft Action Plan that is aligned with key Rhode Island Farm to School stakeholder focus areas including: food systems education, local food value chain coordination (delivery, processing, production, pricing), and promotion of the farm to school activities. The final action plan will include local purchasing goals, farm to school priorities, funding targets, timelines, partners and key evaluation strategies.
  • Finalize Action plan and share broadly with RI Farm to School stakeholders, the food system community and policy makers.
  • Document and provide key information about the planning process to ensure a data-driven evaluation that meets the criteria outlined in the USDA Farm to School grant award.

RI Farm to School Network Support and Facilitation

  • Plan and host an annual gathering of the RI Farm to School Network as an opportunity to strengthen member engagement in Action Plan development and implementation as well as drive progress on identified priorities of the Network.
  • Act as the chair for, and host monthly convenings of, the RI Farm to School Network Leadership Council.
  • Ensure all Network Leadership Council members are kept abreast of Farm to School Network activities.
  • Establish Network Action Committees to be led by members of the Network Leadership Council, which are based on the Network’s Action Plan to drive progress toward established farm to school goals.
  • Offer support to RI Farm to School Network Communities of Practice (meeting quarterly) with particular focus on local procurement and representation from communities served.
  • Host four focus groups or trainings to engage local farmers, fishers, distributors, or other potential stakeholders underrepresented in the RI Farm to School Network.
  • In conjunction with the Network’s Communications/Engagement Action Committee, develop and distribute a recurring newsletter to encourage ongoing engagement of RI Farm to School Network members.
  • Improve RI Farm to School Network website and expand resources and engagement.

Program Coordination for Farm to School Activities

  • Develop recommendations to address distribution barriers to increasing procurement of locally produced, caught and harvested foods.
  • Develop recommendations for agency heads and policy makers regarding policies to improve state farm to school partnerships, systems and environments. Supports planning and implementation of adopted policy strategies.
  • Build relationships with Rhode Island farmers, ranchers and fishers to implement forward contracting and other innovative programs to enhance utilization of locally produced foods in Rhode Island K-12 school child nutrition programs.
  • Recommend policy concepts to address farm to school and school gardens.
  • Liaise with relevant state agencies and/or the public on farm to school issues.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Needed to Perform this Role

  • Strong knowledge of nutrition; physical activity and farm to school or garden programs; local food systems; and food policy or experience working in a school food service environment
  • An entrepreneurial spirit, interest in growing and developing programs and systems related to farm to school
  • Comfort operating with a strong level of professionalism in a collaborative, shared leadership environment
  • Ability to build relationships with people from varied cultural, economic, educational, racial, and religious backgrounds
  • Willingness and ability to work a flexible schedule
  • Excellent professional communication skills (written and verbal), including the ability to accurately and passionately present information to stakeholders in both small and large formats in print or in person
  • Great attention to detail and excellent time-management skills
  • Ability to maintain a self-motivating attitude
  • Strong project management and problem solving skills
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office and Google Suite
  • Ability to prioritize and handle a variety of assignments simultaneously in a dynamic work environment
  • Ability to handle confidential and sensitive information with a high degree of discretion, diligence, and good judgment
  • Ability to work independently with minimal oversight to develop and prioritize daily task lists

Physical Demands (Physical, Mental & Environmental)
The following capabilities are required in order to perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations that do not create an undue burden on the company are available to address the following requirements.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit/stand for long periods of time at a desk; use hands to handle or feel objects, tools, or controls on computers; reach with hands and arms; and talk or hear in meetings and on the telephone or on the computer in an office or variable setting.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision and the ability to adjust focus.
  • Employees must be able to lift and carry up to 50 lbs.
  • Occasional ability to travel, which may include travel via car or train.

Salary Range

  • $60,000 - $65,000


  • Generous Paid Time Off (PTO) and paid holiday benefits
  • Monthly contributions to flexible health, dental and life insurance plans
  • Annual professional development credit and opportunities
  • IRA matching contribution after 2 years of employment

To Apply

  • Please send your resume and cover letter to Farm Fresh RI Co-Executive Director Jesse Rye ([email protected]) with the subject line “Farm & Sea to School Coordinator.”
  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with interviews starting in mid-November 2022. Final application deadline is December 1, 2022.
  • No phone calls or drop-ins please.

Organizational Information
Farm Fresh Rhode Island has grown briskly since achieving 501c3 status in 2007, to capture the public interest in locally grown food and translate it into sales for local and regional farmers and producers. Strongly mission-driven, Farm Fresh RI hosts a variety of programs to enhance the local food system, with particular attention to farm viability and low-income access to fresh food. Farm Fresh also operates a range of marketplace programs (retail, wholesale, processing) that engage and connect tens of thousands of eaters with thousands of farmers and food producers across the New England region.

Mission: Farm Fresh Rhode Island is growing a local food system that values the environment, health, and quality of life of the farmers and eaters of New England.

Vision: A New England region abundant with diverse family farms and fertile soils, with locally and honestly produced foods and flavors at the heart of every dinner table.

Farm Fresh Rhode Island is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in employment for all employees. We encourage enquiries from candidates who will enrich and contribute to the cultural and ethnic diversity of our organization. Farm Fresh RI does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, creed, color, religion, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, national origin, or disability status in employment or programming. Farm Fresh Rhode Island is an Equal Opportunity Provider.