*Please take note of adjustments to job description below as they pertain to COVID-19

Who We Are

Since our founding in 1991, The Food Project has grown into an internationally recognized non-profit organization that works at the intersection of Youth, Food, and Community. For over 28 years, youth and adults from diverse backgrounds have come together to produce healthy food for residents of the city and suburbs and build local, sustainable food systems. Each year, our youth crews work with our staff to farm on 70 acres in eastern Massachusetts in the suburban towns of Beverly, Lincoln, and Wenham and partner with our neighbors in Lynn and Boston’s Dudley neighborhood to create the food system they imagine. We believe that food is a unique vehicle for creating personal and social change. Nothing else ties us so intimately to each other and to the planet we share, affecting our health, the climate, and culture. Moving into the future, our goal is to transform the food system into a more just, community-engaged model, that supports food-security for all. 

What We Seek

The North Shore Youth Development Specialist plays an integral role in the implementation and ongoing development of The Food Project’s youth engagement model. They provide primary leadership during the summer session for The Food Project’s Seed Crew – including 36 new Food Project youth and their adult and peer leaders – and during the academic season for the 15 youth members of Dirt Crew. The Youth Development Specialist also contributes significantly to youth crew development and evaluation in the organization. 

This position will begin full time as soon as possible.  Major responsibilities include: 

Youth Engagement 

Summer Season:

  • Will work a mostly Monday through Friday schedule. 
  • Hire, train, coach, mentor, and supervise the performance of Crew Leaders, Operations Associate, and Seed Crew Peer Leaders to ensure a smooth, high-impact experience for Crew Workers throughout the summer. 
  • Serve as the Seed Crew Supervisor in the North Shore region. Plan for and lead daily sessions with the Seed Crew in accordance with stated schedule, design and learning objectives, focusing on building introductory knowledge of social justice and food justice issues and skills in communication and relationship building across social barriers. 
  • Handle logistics around workshop supplies, medical records, payroll registration, tracking youth progress, etc. 
  • Partner closely with growers on our farms in Lynn and Wenham and our community- based staff and partners to be sure youth are prepared to accomplish necessary tasks. 

Academic Season:

  • Will work a mostly Tuesday through Saturday schedule.  
  • Coordinate the recruitment, interviewing, and selection of Dirt Crew from the previous summer’s Seed Crew youth. 
  • Lead Dirt Crew’s involvement in The Food Project’s Build-a-Garden on the North Shore through outreach, planning, and installation of 50 raised-bed gardens annually for interested residents of Lynn. 
  • Plan for and lead weekly group sessions with Dirt Crew throughout the academic season in accordance with stated learning objectives, focusing on building youths’ knowledge of social justice and food justice issues and their skills in leading volunteers and performing rigorous work in sustainable agriculture. This includes Saturday and after school work opportunities.  
  • Foster a culture of trust, respect, accountability, and growth among Dirt Crew members. 
  • Provide individual mentorship for Dirt Crew youth to achieve their individual, interpersonal and group goals, and give youth regular feedback through Straight Talk and other mechanisms. Coordinate additional work opportunities for youth. 
  • Support Dirt Crew members in leading groups of volunteers in work on the farms during the spring and fall seasons. 
  • Conduct outreach in the winter and spring to recruit Seed Crew members for the upcoming summer, including contacting partners and making presentations in local schools. 
  • Coordinate a team of youth and staff to interview and select youth for Seed Crew. 

Other Responsibilities: 

  • Staff the Lynn Central Square Markets on Thursdays from September through November.  
  • Staff Serve & Grow during the weekdays in either Lynn or Wenham from September through October in the fall, and April through June in the spring – days TBD.  
  • Manage the Salad Days Program – coordinating logistics involving North Shore Community College, UMass Extension students to support the work of running an event- and time-based program for elementary students in the spring and fall at Lynn Public Schools.  
COVID-19 Adjustments to Job Description – Summer and Academic Year Work

Youth Engagement

Summer Season

  • We are hopeful that we will be able to run a regular summer season in 2021.  In the event that COVID is still present, it will mostly focus on running virtual programming for our youth crews while supplementing that work with supporting our farming and distribution operations.  

Academic Year 

  • Will work a mostly Wednesday through Sunday schedule as we will be operating a hybrid program that combines Seed Crew and Dirt Crew together for the fall and spring trimesters.  Programmatic days will happen on Saturday and Sunday.  The winter trimester will most likely be a Monday through Friday or Tuesday through Saturday schedule focused on more in depth planning for future work given how things progress.   
  • Build-A-Garden is put on hold until it is safe to convene small groups of people together to build raised beds.  
  • Serve & Grow is put on hold until it is safe to convene groups of people to work together on the farm.  
  • Salad Days is put on hold until school is back in session.  

Youth Crew Design 

  • Partner with Regional Directors and counterpart in Greater Boston to design and adapt curriculum as necessary to meet learning objectives, in accordance with The Food Project’s organizational strategy. 
  • Partner with Regional Directors and Evaluation Specialist to design and implement evaluation of all stages of The Food Project’s youth crews and youth experience. 
  • Work with The Food Project’s farm and community-based staff to facilitate strong alignment of Seed Crew and Dirt Crew activities with organizational priorities and needs around food production, food distribution, and community engagement. 
  • Participate in a community of practice among youth crews staff across the Greater Boston and North Shore regions, contributing to the maintenance and further development of a strong, coordinated, multi-year youth development model in accordance with organizational strategy. 
  • At least three years of experience working directly with youth in a teaching, organizing, and/or facilitative capacity. 
  • Demonstrated skills in youth development, including creating safe spaces and responding effectively to the non-programmatic issues youth bring up in the course of their work. 
  • Experience facilitating discussions or training about oppression, power, and equity, as well as in working with diverse groups of people. 
  • Experience in curriculum design, including ability to make complex information accessible to adolescent learners and understanding of how to adapt content to learning exceptionalities. 
  • Capacity to uphold high standards set by the community, and ability to motivate a group of young people while fostering their potential.  Strong interest in working with youth as partners and supporting the youth-led aspects of the work. 
  • Excellent organizational skills, dependability, flexibility, and capacity to manage time effectively both independently and on group projects. 
  • Some familiarity with food systems and food access issues. 
  • Valid driver’s license and willingness to drive large vehicles in the city. 
  • Farming or gardening experience (preferred). 
  • Familiarity with the City of Lynn (preferred). 

This is a full-time benefit eligible position. Compensation is commensurate with experience.

Recruitment Process

Please send resume and cover letter via email to: [email protected] In the subject line, write your name and the position for which you are applying, eg: “Jordan Smith – Youth Development Specialist.”

We will review all submissions, identify viable candidates and contact ONLY those individuals selected to continue in the search process. The position will be filled when the desired candidate is found. 

The Food Project is an Equal Opportunity Employer that is committed to creating an inclusive organization. We actively seek a diverse pool of candidates for this position.