National Service (VISTA) Opportunities:
Food Security and Sustainability in Albany’s South End
The Radix Ecological Sustainability Center, an environmental education organization with an emphasis on urban food security, and the South End community advocacy organization AVillage…, Inc. are seeking applications for two AmeriCorps VISTA positions to advance access to healthy food in Albany’s South End neighborhood.
These one-year positions will start in July 2016, and applications must be received as soon as possible. The final decisions are made by Hunger Free America, a New York City Program that is the sponsoring organization. Interested parties should contact Stacy Pettigrew, executive director of the Radix Center, at email@example.com, or Tom McPheeters, secretary of AVillage, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AmeriCorps VISTA membership requires a serious commitment for a year of full-time national service. Members receive a stipend ($447.85/ 2 weeks in the Albany area) and health insurance benefits, as well as invaluable training and contacts. Please research carefully to decide if this program is right for you before contacting us.
Both the Radix Center and AVillage, together with our third partner, the Trinity Alliance, are engaged in addressing the many issues around hunger, health and sustainability in the South End of Albany, which is officially labeled as a “food desert.” The Radix Center is an urban agriculture entrepreneurial program for high school youth that produces a weekly Farm Share for local families and grows produce for the South End Farmers Market. AVillage operates the Farmers Market during the summer and fall, as well as year-round exercise and nutrition programming. The market accepts Food Stamps and WIC and people are encouraged to attend exercise and nutrition classes at the market in exchange for free produce In addition to the 5 gardens we currently manage, we also are helping develop vacant lots into productive garden space and organizing with neighbors to facilitate their use. We are also planning to create a second Farmers Market at the Ezra Prentice Homes, Albany’s most isolated public housing.
The VISTAs will help us build capacity and further the sustainability of these programs. Responsibilities will include:
- Generating a diversity of funding streams by designing new and creative fundraising systems, prospecting potential donors, creating grants calendars, writing grants, and developing fundraising and donor cultivation events; improve systems to manage and acknowledge volunteers, and conduct outreach to new volunteers;
- Develop a marketing/educational outreach strategy to attract neighborhood residents to shop at a Farmers Market and eat more vegetables; strategize and help implement creative ways to turn the Farmers Market into an attractive event, including partnering with youth theater or musical performances, etc.; increase/improve presence on social media; and assist in improving evaluation metrics to increase program efficacy and project reporting.
Our ideal VISTA is a self-motivated, energetic, creative person with excellent communication skills, capable of independent action and problem solving, and experience in grant writing and organizing fundraising events. The ability to navigate/quickly learn online non-profit organizational and website platforms is necessary. Experience working with diverse communities and an interest in urban agriculture are much desired. Drivers license and vehicle are great, but not required.