The Michigan State University (MSU) Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) within the Department of Community Sustainability is seeking a full-time, fixed-term Local Food Council Fellow. This position is classified as a Specialist – Outreach.
This fixed-term position is a unique and exciting opportunity for a relationship-driven, resourceful, and self-motivated candidate to bring creative vision and add capacity to support and shape local food council and food policy work in Michigan. CRFS’s local food council work is highly collaborative. This position will require a candidate with excellent communication and networking skills to work closely with partners from community-based organizations, local and state government agencies, institutions, MSU Extension, potential funding agencies and national networks. Using a racial equity lens in all outreach, research, and communication efforts and organizational skills are critical for success.
The Outreach Specialist will support outreach, training and technical assistance, and relationship-building in local food council and food policy projects of CRFS. This person will assist in coordinating and executing activities of the Michigan Local Food Council Network (MLFCN), a network of 25+ Michigan councils that build their individual and collective capacities to work on food and food policy issues, operate effectively, and engage their communities, through peer-to-peer learning.
- Regularly convene and/or collaborate with CRFS staff and local and state partners virtually and in-person;
- Plan content for and facilitate capacity-building among local food councils in areas such as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); policy advocacy; and fund development through training, peer mentorship, and targeted technical assistance;
- Oversee programs to connect peer mentors with other local councils and connect council ambassadors with policymakers, municipal staff, funders, and organizations with intersecting interests (e.g., health, economy, environment);
- Provide outreach and technical assistance to councils led by and/or centered on Black, Indigenous, and people of color and councils in areas of low food access;
- Assist councils in building capacity to engage in policy action through the Michigan Good Food Charter, a roadmap for collaborative food policy action, and the development of a statewide food policy voice;
- Assist in making and administering mini-grants to local food councils using a participatory grantmaking/shared gifting process;
- Develop or contribute to development of e-newsletters, papers, resources, and other creative forms of scholarship in a timely fashion for diverse audiences, including academics, practitioners, stakeholders, and the general public. Publication examples include reports, guides, policy briefs, videos, webinars, and journal articles;
- Present on outreach, research and/or education projects and findings at conferences, meetings, and other venues, which may include scholarly, government, association, and community audiences;
- Contribute to relationship-building and collaborate with CRFS partners and colleagues engaged in food councils and food policy;
- Engage with the Michigan Good Food Charter, the national Food Policy Networks project and other relevant state, regional, and national networks as needed; and
- Contribute to reporting on current grant projects.
Expectations for 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 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 (12-month), fixed-term position. Initial appointment will be for one year with nine-month reappointment contingent upon funding and performance.
Available: November 1, 2021 or when a suitable candidate is identified.
Reporting: Individual reports to Rich Pirog, Director, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
Equal Employment Opportunity Statement
All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, disability or protected veteran status.
Bachelors -community food systems, food policy, public health
Masters -community food systems, food policy, public health
- Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree preferred, in community food systems, food policy, public health, nutrition, community development, or related field.
- At least two years of work experience in a professional or academic setting required (including part-time or full-time and concurrent with education). Demonstrated experience fulfilling responsibilities such as program coordination or communication, policy advocacy, community organizing, or provision of technical assistance, training, or outreach, preferred.
- Demonstrated resourcefulness and ability to problem-solve and think critically.
- Proven ability to self-direct and balance multiple projects simultaneously and to easily shift between working independently and collaboratively, including as part of a team. Demonstrated project leadership, management, and collaboration desired.
- Demonstrated strong communication and networking skills and experience using a broad range of communication tactics.
- Demonstrated experience using an equity lens in food systems programming and working with multicultural and diverse populations.
- Proven ability to effectively and respectfully engage and collaborate with diverse stakeholder groups such as community, nonprofit, academic, and governmental organizations and funders. Experience in network-building, teaching, presenting, and/or group facilitation desired.
- Understanding of, and commitment to, a culture of anti-racism and inclusivity. Demonstrated participation in programs designed to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
- 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 by car throughout the state and, infrequently, by plane within the U.S., including overnight. Possession of a valid, current state driver’s license required.
Required Application Materials
Qualified applicants should submit 1) CV or resume, 2) Cover letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the position. Please include a statement of your outreach philosophy that specifically addresses the alignment between your goals and the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ (within which CRFS falls) and CRFS’ focus on excellence through diversity and inclusion, including summary of your experience with or interest in working in diverse communities, 3) names and contact information of professional three references
If you have questions about the position or search process, you may contact Liz Gensler at email@example.com.
The university is requiring all MSU students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19
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.
CRFS recognizes that racism in the food system is historic, ongoing, and systemic. As we collaborate with partners to advance food systems rooted in local regions and centered on food that is healthy, green, fair, and affordable, we emphasize racial equity as a foundation of our work.
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.