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We’re Hiring: Seasonal Agricultural Program Coordinator

BTLT is looking for a new team member to manage on-the-ground operations of our Saturday Farmers’ Market and Tom Settlemire Community Garden. This is a part time, seasonal position, running from March to November.  The right candidate will be a people person with a dedication to conservation and local food, be able to prioritize diverse, demanding tasks, and have demonstrated experience in both gardening and oversight of events or programs. 

 About BTLT and its agricultural programs: 

The BrunswickTopsham Land Trust (BTLT) offers the Saturday Farmers’ Market and Tom Settlemire Community Garden (TSCG) at Crystal Spring Farm, our signature 321-acre property on Pleasant Hill Road in Brunswick, as part of our wider mission, which includes conserving and protecting our region’s natural resources, and supporting local agriculture and fisheries now and for generations to come. It is our goal to support and develop the local natural resource-based economy to keep farmland, forests, and fisheries open, working, and productive, and to make strides toward providing significantly more of our community’s food needs through local production.   

The Saturday Farmers’ Market commonly sees several thousand visitors on a busy summer weekend, hosts over thirty diverse vendors, and has kept millions of dollars in the local food economy. TSCG has eighty community plots, offers educational and volunteer experiences for local groups and youth, provides growing space for youth empowerment groups, and includes the Common Good Garden: a partnership to grow food for Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program (MCHPP). Both programs also provide important gathering places to enrich the lives of people in our region through community building, resilience education, connection to the natural world, and fun.  

 About the role: 

The Agricultural Programs Coordinator will be a part time, seasonal employee to oversee on-the-ground implementation of the Saturday Farmers Market and Tom Settlemire Community Garden programs, as well as play a lead role in the administration and communications for these programs. The Coordinator will supervise the daily operations of the Market and TSCG plots and grounds. This will include being on site at the Market weekly from May to October from 7am to 1pm, and at TSCG on a regular schedule. This person will oversee, coordinate, and nurture volunteers, support events, implement program goals in partnerships with other BTLT staff, and generally be the face of the Land Trust at these important programs. 

 The right candidate will be a people person with a dedication to conservation and local food, be able to prioritize diverse, demanding tasks, and have demonstrated experience in both gardening and oversight of events or programs. Familiarity with the southern Midcoast and BTLT is a plus.  

The position runs from late March through November at an average of 15-20 hours per week (hours may be more in spring and less in the mid-summer and late fall). The ideal candidate would plan to return each spring. Year-round employment is possible for the right person and based on grant funding and project opportunities. 

 Skills Required: 

  • Ability to work with diverse groups of people. 
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to resolve conflict. 
  • Physical ability to undertake various gardening and market set up tasks. 
  • Knowledge of organic vegetable growing and soil, pest, and disease management. 
  • Experience overseeing programs, large events, and/or community engagement efforts.
  • Proficient in Mailchimp, Microsoft 365 programs, Zoom, social media, and email. 
  • Basic “handyperson” skills for minor repairs and upkeep of infrastructure.
  • Ability to organize, motivate, and nurture volunteers.
  • Organized and detail oriented. 

 Duties: 

Garden Oversight: 

  • Work with Program Manager to assure all plots are assigned and paid for and complete all processing and data entry. 
  • Communicate with plotholders (primarily through Mailchimp) throughout the season on garden tips, pest issues, volunteer needs, and other alerts.  
  • Facilitate relationships with program partners such as the Merrymeeting Gleaners, MCHPP, Brunswick High School Dragons’ Farm Garden, New Mainers, and Mawita’nej First Nation Youth Group. 
  • Collaborate with seasonal education staff on youth summer programming. 
  • Work with volunteer program leaders to manage garden programs such as the Plant Sale, Plant Sale Gardens, and the Common Good Garden. 
  • Coordinate and implement spring plotholder orientations, and garden mentor program. 
  • Ensure that TSCG is opened and closeddown for the season in April and November respectively.  
  • Assist in scheduling, planning, and overseeing TSCG events and workdays that occur during the growing season. 
  • Oversee volunteer oversight of tasks such as mowing, turning compost, orchard maintenance, perennial gardens, etc. 
  • Oversee maintenance of all structures and infrastructure including shed, raised beds, kiosks, tools, water system, etc. 

 Market Management:

  • Be a welcoming face at the Saturday market, acting as an ambassador for Land Trust in all matters, including helping to staff BTLT info and membership booth at market, communicating effectively with vendors, welcoming market patrons, and referring questions about market policy and Land Trust matters to appropriate Land Trust staff and Board members. 
  • Attend all markets to ensure vendors comply with market expectations and troubleshoot problems when they arise. 
  • Collect certification of insurance, vendor fees, verify requisite licenses, and complete all processing and data entry. Layout the market site.
  • Work with parking staff to complete market site preseason set up and end of season breakdown, as well as weekly site set up and breakdown. 
  • Coordinate and manage SNAP/ Maine Harvest Bucks program, including finding and overseeing volunteers. 
  • Basic maintenance of site, such as ensuring the area is free of trash. 
  • Monitor how the market is listed on other sites and with other organizations. 
  • When appropriate, work with the Development team to plan for and implement the sale and marketing of fundraisers as may arise.  
  • Provide weekly reports on market conditions such as weather, number of attendees, vendors not in attendance. 
  • Create a final market report at the end of each market season.  

General:

  • Write blog posts and social media as appropriate to showcase programs. 
  • Take photos to document programs. 
  • Work with BTLT staff on events, program development, and other outreach as requested. 

 Compensation and Benefits: 

This part time position includes competitive salary (based on experience)paid vacation and sick time, and a flexible work schedule (aside from Saturday mornings), ability to work outside in a beautiful setting and from home, opportunity to engage with diverse members of the local community, and the chance to develop initiatives and programs based on interest. 

How to Apply: 

To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume to apply@btlt.org. Please use “Agricultural Programs Coordinator” as the subject line of your email. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received, with a deadline of February 10, 2021. 

About Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust:  

BTLT is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission to steward the cherished landscapes and rich natural resources of our communities, to connect people to nature by providing recreational opportunities and other engaging community activities, and to support local agriculture and fisheries, now and for generations to come. We were founded in 1985 and have grown over the past 35 years into a robust organization that holds over 2,500 acres in conservation, provides diverse programming, and works closely with an array of community partners to enhance the environmental vibrancy and health of our region.  We have approximately 1,000 members including a vibrant business membership. We have five part to fulltime staff, a board of directors of nearly 20, and dozens of active committee members. Learn more about our mission and programs at www.btlt.org 

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other legally protected factors. We actively encourage community members with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and ways of life to consider working with us. 

Poster Contest Winner!

Thank you to all of the artists who submitted their work for the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Farmers’ Market Poster Contest. We are impressed with the work you submitted and so grateful that you took the time to create these wonderful pieces of art for the Farmers’ Market!

The winning piece was created by Alessia McCobb of Sound Pine Farm and ties together the Farmers’ Market’s 20th anniversary and the wide variety of vendors at our vibrant market. Congratulations, Alessia!

Artwork by Alessia McCobb, Sound Pine Farm

Thank you to all of our contestants.

We can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with next year!

No Dog Policy begins this Saturday

Please remember that the no dog policy at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm begins this Saturday, October 6.

The Farmers’ Market struggled with the challenges of having dogs at the market for years and with amplified popularity of our beloved market, more challenges and concerns recently surfaced.  In the best interest of our visitors and to provide a safe, positive community space, BTLT board and staff found it necessary to adopt this policy. Since making that difficult decision in August, we have been notifying Farmers’ Market visitors, our membership, and our social media followers of this change in the hopes of easing the transition.

Leashed dogs are still welcome on Crystal Spring Farm trails and many other BTLT trails. Please see our trail map of Crystal Spring Farm by visiting this link: https://www.btlt.org/land-trust-trails-crystal-spring-farm.

Thank you for your support and cooperation.

 

BTLT in the News, “These little doggies will not be going to market”

“These little doggies will not be going to market”

September 9, 2018

Mary Pols wrote a well-balanced piece featured in The Source on Sunday, September 9 on the new dog policy at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm.

One Monday morning this summer, Jacqui Koopman, the manager of the wildly popular Saturday morning market at Crystal Spring Farm, walked into her office and announced she’d had it.

Maybe it was the pooping that pushed her over the edge. Possibly the peeing. Lunging and snarling were also a problem.

“We have got to have a dog policy,” Koopman says she told her colleagues at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, which runs the seasonal outdoor market. From her official vantage point at the market, standing behind a table in the middle of a rectangle of booths manned by oyster and vegetable farmers, cheesemakers, spice merchants, coffee roasters and bakers, she’d seen every manner of bad behavior, both from the four-legged attendees who lifted their legs on everything from tablecloths to coolers to the booths, and from the humans at the other end of their leashes.

Just the week before, as the market drew to a close, she said a co-worker called her attention to “a giant pile of dog poop” left in the middle of the market. A paper bag was lying next to it, as if signaling a right intention undermined by the wrong material.

Starting October 6, all dogs but those belonging to vendors will be banned from the market at Crystal Spring, which according to the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, is believed to be the first outdoor market of the approximately 120 in the state to say no to dogs.

“I am not aware of any that prohibit customers from bringing dogs,” said Hanne Tierney, the chair of the federation’s board, as well as the chairman of farmers markets in Portland and Waterville.

But there is certainly debate. Tierney said in an email that customer surveys show that people “feel strongly on both sides of the issue.”

In Brunswick, the issue has been discussed before. “For 19 years,” Angela Twitchell, the executive director of the land trust, said ruefully. “As long as the market has been there (at Crystal Spring).” They’ve tried signage, outlining the rules – including leashes and keeping your dog out of the vendors’ booths – and gentle in-person persuasion.

“We have talked to people about it,” Twitchell said. “We have had board members and volunteers at the market handing out little cards when we have seen misbehaving dogs and owners.”

But between dog “quarrels” as the land trust sweetly describes it, small children being scared by big dogs and the issue of defecation and urination – along with related food safety issues – the market, which is overseen by 19 board members, felt the tipping point was reached this summer.

“It was getting worse,” Twitchell said. “The board felt it was becoming a safety concern.”

To read the full story, click here.

Fungi Foray

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  • September 29, 2018
    10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Bob Pinette will lead this beginner foray, focusing on different types of mushrooms that we commonly find in Maine. He will give pointers on collecting mushrooms, show participants how to make a spore print, and go over basic morphology. You will go out on the trail, pick up what you find, and bring it back (more…)

Mushroom Foray

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  • August 31, 2018
    5:00 pm - 7:30 pm

This foraging experience, led by Louis Giller of North Spore Mushroom Company, will begin with a concise intro to Mycology in order to give participants a basic understanding of the fungal life cycle, structures, and role in the environment. We’ll zoom in on a few choice edible species that we hope to find during our (more…)

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