Volunteer, Communications, and Development Americorps VISTA – Full Time – One Year Term

Position Summary:

Hope’s Harvest, a program of Farm Fresh RI, seeks an outgoing and energetic Volunteer, Communications, & Development AmeriCorps VISTA with demonstrated initiative and clear organizational skills. Hope’s Harvest RI mobilizes volunteers to rescue food from local farms that would otherwise go to waste and distributes it to local hunger relief agencies. Hope’s Harvest also contracts with farmers and purchases surplus for the purposes of hunger relief. This position offers a unique opportunity to increase capacity for volunteer management, communications, and development within the context of the Hope’s Harvest RI’s food rescue program. This position requires a one year commitment to begin as soon as possible after June 6th, 2022. Application deadline is extended to May 22nd, 2022.

Program Summary:

One in six Rhode Islanders rely on the emergency food system to meet their basic needs, a sharp increase since the previous year. In 2021, Hope’s Harvest RI rescued over 230,000 lbs of fresh, nutrient dense fruits and vegetables from local farms and delivered it to over 35,000 individuals a month via our network of emergency food providers. In 2022-23, we expect that Hope’s Harvest RI will rescue and distribute even more produce to our neighbors in need, while also supporting a robust network of volunteers and farms that make this work possible. Hope’s Harvest RI also operates additional hunger relief programs at Farm Fresh RI, a food hub with many different programs working together to build a stronger food system in Rhode Island.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Improve Farm Fresh’s capacity to fully utilize volunteers within the context of the Hope’s Harvest food rescue program by creating user friendly manuals for our systems for volunteer recruitment, tracking, management, and acknowledgement
  • Make gleaning activities more accessible to low-income, aging, and BIPOC community members who lack transportation and/or other resources to participate in gleaning activities
  • Refine and update a comprehensive communications strategy for the Hope’s Harvest RI food rescue program
  • Design and post social media content, stories, and copy to better reach and mobilize our unique network of volunteers, agencies, farms, and community partners, increasing connection and resource sharing
  • Revise and update templates for ongoing outreach to stakeholder groups to improve volunteer recruitment, fundraising efforts, and community awareness of program activities and impact
  • Increase fundraising capacity for Hope’s Harvest RI food rescue program, specifically around corporate sponsorships and events 
  • Engage in awareness raising and education when interfacing with volunteers during gleaning trips, strengthening our capacity to work within an evolving food system
  • Research and utilize data systems, leverage technology, and create user friendly manuals to be able to create more robust reports and better support our growing network of community partners

Essential Functions: 

  • Excellent professional communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Great attention to detail
  • Self starter and ability to maintain a self-motivating attitude
  • Ability to collaborate and work as part of a team
  • Excellent time-management skills
  • Ability to think, react, iterate, and redirect in a fast-paced environment
  • Comfort and facility driving large vehicles (training available) 
  • Must be able to lift 50lbs
  • Ability to prioritize and handle a variety of assignments simultaneously in a vibrant work environment 
  • Willingness to work hands-on in various environments (outdoors at markets, inside at office)
  • Some experience with farming or gardening in a professional capacity (internships, academic learning/service or consistent volunteer work on a farm or in a community garden setting would qualify)
  • Comfort with technology and data systems

Non-Essential Functions

  • Experience with CRM (Salesforce,) and/or training a plus
  • Coding or graphic/web design a plus
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office and Google Suite preferred
  • Spanish skills or other language skills are a plus

Organizational Information:

Hope’s Harvest RI mobilizes volunteers to collect unharvested produce and deliver it to needy populations. As an efficient and effective solution to the twin challenges of food waste and hungry people, farm-based food recovery (also known as “gleaning”) strengthens our local food system and makes our communities less dependent on commodity food shipped from thousands of miles away instead of what’s in our own backyard.

Hope’s Harvest RI is Rhode Island’s first gleaning project. Hope’s Harvest started gleaning in the 2018 growing season and is a program of Farm Fresh Rhode Island, a registered 501c3 organization.

Mission: To improve the livelihoods of local farmers, increase food security for our most vulnerable residents, and get everyone engaged in strengthening the food system by eliminating on-farm food waste in Rhode Island.

Vision: Hope’s Harvest RI envisions strong and connected communities where farmers are honored, valued, and compensated for their contributions, neighbors get their hands dirty and have fun helping each other, and everyone enjoys an abundance of fresh, healthy food. 

About AmeriCorps VISTA:

AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs, made up of three primary programs that each take a different approach to improving lives and fostering civic engagement. AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members bring passion and perseverance where the need is greatest: to organizations that help eradicate poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA members serve as a catalyst for change, living and working alongside community members to meet our nation’s most pressing challenges and advance local solutions.

AmeriCorps VISTA Member Benefits:

  • Bi-weekly living allowance of $575.40
  • $400 monthly rent stipend 
  • Monthly bus pass
  • Student loan deferment
  • Mileage reimbursement
  • Professional development opportunities
  • CNCS health benefit & childcare assistance
  • $6,345 Segal Education Award upon completion of service to help pay for college, graduate school, or vocational training, or to repay student loans

Term of Service & Hour Requirements

Full-year VISTA members must commit to a full week, approx. 36-40 hour/week AmeriCorps full-time service term from June 6th 2022 to June 2nd 2023.

Primary working hours will be Monday- Friday 8-4 with ability to work early evenings or weekends as needed. Member schedules can be flexible, and they will be in regular conversation about schedules with their direct supervisor.  

Members will be given the opportunity to fulfill all service hour requirements while also allowing for holidays, sick leave, and PTO.  Missed hours can be made up on site or off site depending on supervisor approval. All Members must participate in AmeriCorps national, state and local service projects as a part of their service term. 

Orientation, Training & Evaluation

Members will receive one-on-one trainings on AmeriCorps program impacts, history, and prohibited activities, as well as an orientation to local food systems and food justice topics addressed by Hope’s Harvest RI programs. Training will not exceed more than 20% of the members total service hours completed.

This is a full year position starting on as soon as possible after June 6th, 2022 and ending after one year. The deadline to apply is extended to 5/22/2022.