The Center for Regional Food Systems within the MSU Department of Community Sustainability is seeking a full-time Academic Specialist -- Outreach to support capacity-building among and facilitate technical assistance to Michigan local food councils, Michigan food and health organizations, and countrywide grantees in the federal Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) program. The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program, or GusNIP, supports programs that provide nutrition incentives – including produce prescription programs and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program incentives – to help families bring home more nutritious fruits and vegetables. The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition will lead a newly-established Nutrition Incentive Program Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation and Information Center. Core partners in the project include Fair Food Network, National Grocers Association, National Farmers Market Coalition, and the Michigan Farmers Market Association. CRFS will be a consultant to the project.
One half of this position will lead efforts with statewide food and health networks and associations and work with current Michigan Local Food Council Network coordinators to support councils, seeking to build organizations’ capacity to execute their individual and collective priorities. This includes assisting local food councils in building their capacity to serve as a critical piece of the Michigan Good Food infrastructure by communicating across communities statewide, setting and advancing policy priorities in the development of a post-2020 Michigan Good Food Charter, and playing an active role in a statewide food policy voice once developed.
The other half of this position will be devoted to coordinating the Center’s involvement in providing local food sourcing and food system equity technical assistance, network facilitation, and educational resources development to grantees of the federal GusNIP grantee assistance will center on the topics of local food sourcing and food system equity, with the goal of maximizing the efficiency and impact of GusNIP projects. Types of assistance include one-on-one grantee assistance, webinars, best practice bulletins, and other resource materials. The candidate will provide a portion of this technical assistance and will coordinate technical assistance provision by other CRFS staff.
This position is an opportunity for a collaborative, network-oriented, resourceful candidate to join teams supporting local and statewide food and health groups in Michigan and GusNIP grantees across the U.S.
Plan content for and facilitate capacity-building among local food councils and statewide food and health network/associations in areas such as racial equity, membership, fund development, and policy advocacy through in-person or virtual training, peer-to peer learning, technical assistance, and webinars. Assist councils in building capacity to serve as a critical piece of the Michigan Good Food infrastructure and participate in a statewide food policy voice.
Contribute to relationship-building among and across statewide food and health networks/associations and local food councils, including via site visits across these groups.
Assist in making and administering mini-grants to local food councils using a participatory grantmaking process.
Lead or contribute to development of outreach and scholarly publications on networks and learnings; distribute information of interest to networks via calendar, e-newsletter, website, and directory of councils and statewide food and health networks/associations.
Contribute to reporting and reimbursement requests on current funding and developing grant proposals to support new/continued work.
Coordinate and be primary contact for the Center’s role as a technical assistance and content provider to GusNIP grantees through one-on-one grantee consultations, webinars, and best-practice informational resources such as bulletins, resource guides, and videos. Some content and technical assistance will be provided by the candidate selected and some by other CRFS staff.
Coordinate the community of practice on local and regional sourcing for GusNIP grantees and project partners.
Co-coordinate the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion community of practice for GusNIP grantees and project partners.
Participate in and represent CRFS in recurring calls and semi-annual convenings of GusNIP NTAE content providers, core partners, and grantees.
Expected of all CRFS academic specialists:
Engage with relevant networks led by CRFS and/or partners and appropriate professional organizations;
Document and share project work and accomplishments; maintain regular internal and external communication about project activities; write grant reports; develop and report on an annual plan of work;
Actively participate in CRFS staff and strategic meetings and stay current on CRFS projects, activities, resources and publications as relevant to this work;
Represent projects and CRFS in a professional manner in all forms of engagement and communication; and
Help to foster, facilitate, and maintain the CRFS culture of anti-racism, trust, support and accountability.
Status: This is a full-time, annual year, fixed-term position. Initial appointment will be for one year with annual reappointments contingent upon funding and performance.
Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree or comparable experience preferred. Prefer background in community food systems, food policy, planning, community development, or a related field.
Minimum of three years’ experience working with local food councils, and/or local/regional food sourcing and procurement in retail or institutional settings.
Demonstrated experience using an equity lens in food systems educational programming and working with multicultural and diverse populations.
Demonstrated project leadership, management, and grant-writing experience.
Proven ability to effectively and diplomatically engage and collaborate with diverse stakeholder groups such as project grantees, nonprofit, academic, and governmental organizations, and funders. Experience in network-building and group facilitation.
Demonstrated resourcefulness and ability to problem-solve and think critically. Proven to self-direct and balance multiple projects simultaneously and to easily shift between working independently and as part of a team.
Demonstrated strong written and verbal communications skills and experience using a broad range of communication tactics.
Fluency in Spanish highly desired.
High degree of knowledge of and comfort with using technology in completing job requirements including Microsoft Office suite; online search, file-sharing, and collaboration platforms; electronic survey software; and phone/web conferencing systems.
Available to occasionally travel throughout the state and, less frequently, within the US, including overnight. Possession of a valid, current state driver’s license required.
Required Application Materials
CV, cover letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the position, names and contact information of three references
If you have questions about the position or search process, you may contact: Rich Pirog, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please do not send application materials directly to Rich Pirog
Review of Applications Begins On
The mission of the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University is to work to engage the people of Michigan, the United States and the world in applied research, education and outreach to develop regionally integrated, sustainable food systems.
Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.
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About Michigan State University
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