Crew Leader Position
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The objective of the Dickinson College Farm is to prepare aspiring farmers and food system innovators for leadership positions in farming, food systems, or sustainability related careers. We aim to provide our 2022 Crew Leader with the skills, experience, and knowledge needed to advance toward management roles whether on a production farm or within sustainable food systems initiatives. The experience is also applicable should someone choose to return to academic studies or seek other employment related to food, sustainability, and education.
Work Environment &Program Structure:
The majority of farm’s training is hands-on, supplemented by educational sessions, field trips, and optional readings. During the summer months, the Crew Leader will be part of a team made up of 6 student employees, 4 seasonal apprentices, and 4 full-time farm staff. The farm Crew Leader will supervise field-based teams of students and apprentices, assist with tractor work, and complete side projects related to vegetable production (e.g. seeding flats, scouting for pests) throughout the season.
Our goal is to equip the Crew Leader with the knowledge and skills to do their work well, and to help them progress in their roles as production farmers and leaders. At times this will include receiving constructive feedback. We value open communication and require that applicants be receptive to the receiving (and giving) feedback in an effort to improve upon work performance and overall experience. Communication happens in both directions and farm managers will work to develop a respectful relationship.
As mentioned, the Crew Leader will be supported by a team of 3-4 seasonal apprentices. The Farm’s apprenticeship program is designed to provide recent college graduates with a six-month immersive introduction to farming and team leadership. Apprentices will arrive to this position with varied levels of experience, whether at our farm specifically or from other college/university farm/garden programs. The Crew Leader will work with farm managers to mentor and empower new apprentices – eventually enabling apprentices to share in crew supervision as the season progresses.
The Crew Leader will be encouraged to participate in group-text communications and contribute to weekly job lists shared with core farm staff both in-person and online formats. These forums help inform the goals of the day and week plus allow opportunities to discuss needs or concerns.
Additional study through reading and research on your own time is encouraged but not required. The farm has an extensive library of useful farming books on many topics that will be available upon request.
Work Ethic and Culture of the Dickinson Farm:
Success in any business, but especially agriculture is dependent on hustle, efficient workflow, and attention to detail from all participants. The College Farm management team love the work that they do and find beauty and joy on the farm nearly every day. Yet they have learned through experience that achieving good harvests and a healthy agroecosystem requires constantly pushing themselves to be faster, smarter, and more organized.
The Dickinson College Farm sets ambitious goals for vegetable and livestock production and health, as well as for a diversity of education and outreach programming. Meeting these goals will require all team members to pay attention to details, think about efficiency of movement, and push themselves to develop a fast pace in repetitive tasks. Crew Leader candidates should be prepared to be pushed to develop their speed as a core skillset that will benefit them in any future employment. Since the Farm
Crew Leader plays an important role in sharing the culture of hustle and efficiency with apprentices, students, and volunteers on the farm, this will be a recurring theme throughout the season. We embrace this mentality as part of the fun of “winning” at the game of farming.
The basic “work and learn” day is from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday thru Friday, with one hour for lunch (times may adjust seasonally or to accommodate weather). Each Monday afternoon in the summer, employees partake in a farm meeting and educational program. A separate meeting between the crew leader, apprentices, and managers will occur each week to go over farm to-do lists, provide management training and discuss any other pertinent matters.
Work Responsibilities & Expectations:
The crew leader will work directly under the Vegetable Production Manager and will lead the crew in daily tasks. It is expected that the Crew Leader will set the pace when leading others, ensuring people are working fast and efficient. Of equal importance, it is imperative that the Crew Leader maintain a positive attitude and the ability to keep the crew motivated.
The ideal Crew Leader will be energetic, dedicated to the farm mission, and present with an upbeat attitude on a daily basis. As a junior member of the management team, the Crew Leader will support and help communicate farm policies in a professional manner with respect for all farm staff, students and volunteers.
An underlying goal of the Crew Leader position is to allow for opportunities that build skillsets and confidence through hands-on learning. In addition to learning through daily production responsibilities, we will do our best to facilitate chances for learning both on and off the College Farm. Off-farm activities will include occasional fieldtrips during the paid work week, as well as optional social or educational visits to other farms during evening or weekend hours. Farm staff can expect to be exposed to ongoing experimental and investigative projects at the farm, including insect scouting, renewable energy research, innovative farm systems trials, and use of FARMDATA, a Dickinson-developed farm records smartphone app for field record collection.
The Crew Leader position maintains a 40 hour per week work schedule, Monday through Friday. In addition to earning a competitive hourly pay wage, food raised on the farm, including free produce and discounted access to retail items such as meat and eggs will be made available. As a department of Dickinson College, College Farm staff also have free access to campus amenities like libraries, gyms, and events.
Available Positions & Time Frame:
The Crew Leader position is slated to begin in March and end in December. Once the season is up and running, the Crew Leader is encouraged to take one week of paid vacation, as well as the occasional long weekend when personal needs arise and the farm schedule permits.
For additional information about the Dickinson College Farm and Crew Leader position, please contact Jenn Halpin at email@example.com.