Employment Opportunity

Position: Program Coordinator

The Institute for Sustainable Foraging, established in 2016, is seeking a Program Coordinator with strong outreach, organizing, and communication skills, who is eager to help support the advancement of wild food foraging practices in Michigan, as well as in other areas. The mission of the Institute for Sustainable Foraging is, Enhancing the responsible and research-based harvest of wild foraged foods, now and for future generations.”

The ideal candidate is a flexible, innovative, focused, detail-oriented, and engaging individual who is at home in farming, forestry, business, community, academic, and governmental settings; understands the economic, social, and policy basics of food and farming systems and land conservation efforts; and has a strong passion for food and resource protection issues, including academic research and science-based land management practices, protecting our environment, and building economically successful communities. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to grow with and shape the activities of a start-up organization. 

The Program Coordinator will:

  • Report to and be supervised by the Institute for Sustainable Foraging board of directors;
  • Work with the Institute for Sustainable Foraging board of directors to identify and advance wild foraged foods initiatives in Michigan and other geographic areas;
  • Oversee and administer a wild foraged foods certification program, including conducting site visits, assessing foraging plans, evaluating alignment with certification criteria, recommending certified entities to the board for approval;
  • Build and nurture relationships with academic institutions to encourage their independent scientific research related to wild foraged foods and the impacts of harvest and land management practices;
  • Serve as a community liaison by working collaboratively with other individuals and organizations advancing the sustainable food systems and land management practices in Michigan and other geographic areas as determined by the board of directors.
  • Administer the day-to-day operations of the Institute for Sustainable Foraging, including correspondence, scheduling, meeting facilitation, data entry and database management, coordination and preparation of monthly financial and programmatic reporting to board of directors.
  • Support and help to schedule the board’s fundraising activities.

Professional Requirements

Candidates for this position must have a bachelor’s degree or higher level of educational attainment. The candidate must demonstrate:

  • Deep knowledge of food systems and/or land and resource conservation, including management strategies, ecology, and economics;
  • Experience with land management, conservation, and/or foraging practices;
  • Experience reviewing and evaluating data and research;
  • Ability to exercise independent judgment when evaluating land management and harvesting plans;
  • Experience connecting with individuals and deepen trust and relationships on the phone and face-to-face;
  • Experience writing reports and website and social media content;
  • Experience using databases/CRMs to organize and evaluate information;
  • Organizing skills that motivate, guide, and engage partners;
  • Capacity to raise donor and grant funds and support and collaborate with the board of directors on fundraising efforts;
  • Excellent relationship building, outreach, and self-organizing skills.

Personal Qualifications

The Program Coordinator will work independently on a day-to-day basis and will communicate with the board on a weekly basis. Among the qualities we seek in successful candidates:

  • Strong commitment to the Institute for Sustainable Foraging’s mission and programs;
  • Thorough understanding of and enthusiasm for sustainable foraging and wild harvested food principles;
  • Strong interpersonal communication and teamwork skills;
  • Proven ability to organize multiple projects simultaneously with keen attention to detail, deadlines, and objectives;
  • Self-directed working approach and initiative;
  • Spirit of an engaged advocate, rather than a detached analyst;
  • Professional and pleasant demeanor; and
  • Sense of humor and positive outlook.

Compensation, Benefits, and Application Procedure

  • This is a full-time position with a salary range of $38,500 – $45,000, depending on experience.
  • The position will be based in Traverse City, MI with moderate amounts of statewide travel required. The ISF board is open to considering applications from individuals who wish to work remotely from other areas in Michigan.
  • Compensation includes health insurance coverage, ample vacation, and a relatively flexible schedule.
  • Please send a one-page cover letter, resume, and references to info@sustainablyforaged.org with the subject line: Program Coordinator by February 17, 2017.
  • Applications will be reviewed immediately after the deadline. ISF would like for the successful applicant to beginning working by or before April 1.

About the Institute for Sustainable Foraging

The Institute for Sustainable Foraging is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a home office in Traverse City, Michigan. The Institute was established in 2016 to create best standards and practices and conduct research regarding the sustainable harvesting of foraged foods such as ramps, edible mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns and other forest products. Its mission: “Enhancing the responsible and research-based harvest of wild foraged foods, now and for future generations.”

Foraged goods such as ramps (wild leeks), fiddlehead ferns, a range of wild mushrooms, and other wild-crafted products are garnering wider recognition as tasty, versatile, seasonally aligned foods, and their popularity has increased dramatically. Demand from chefs and consumers, each with a growing interest in where their food comes from, is contributing to an exponential rise in foraging of these products.

This growth in foraging for commercial and personal use has prompted concerns about harvesting practices and the impacts of harvesting practices on forest health and ecology.

Although certification programs for non-food forestry products are prominent, there was no established means to determine if wild foraged food goods were being sustainably harvested in sustainable ways, both for the enjoyment of future generations and the ecological stability of our North American forests. Similarly, little research has been conducted to date to determine what constitutes sustainable harvesting practices. Out of this gap in certification processes, and the associated research gaps, the Institute for Sustainable Foraging was born.