| Posted July 2, 2004: The
Michigan Land Use Institute, one of America’s largest and most
effective state-based Smart Growth advocacy organizations, seeks an
accomplished project coordinator and writer to conserve farmland,
grow jobs, and enrich communities by advocating for agricultural entrepreneurs
and community-based food systems in Michigan.
The writer/coordinator’s primary charge is to strengthen
the Entrepreneurial Agriculture Project’s on-the-ground work
in northwest Lower Michigan, including a farm-to-cafeteria initiative
with area schools, a local food marketing campaign, and a broadening
coalition of business, agriculture, and community interests. This
full-time position involves working closely with the project’s
director to communicate — through research, journalism, advocacy,
and marketing — the rural development potential and policy
imperatives of sustainable, entrepreneurial agriculture and community-based
The writer/coordinator will join a team of nationally prominent
journalists, policy experts, and organizers who are devoting their
careers to empowering citizens, elevating the public interest, and
advancing innovative solutions to sprawling patterns of development.
The Institute’s 15-member staff works interdependently at
the local, state, and national levels for policies that build thriving
cities, prosperous farms, transportation choices, and clean, refreshing
Professional Skills, High-Energy, Supremely Competent
The ideal candidate is a very well-organized program specialist
and writer with proven ability to move projects methodically through
the stages of planning, budgeting, fundraising, networking, management
of contacts and correspondence, scheduling, coordination of resources
and people, community outreach, follow-up, and expansion. The Institute
also considers the ability to write well as one of the top priorities
in hiring new staff members. Success in this new position requires
keen journalistic instincts for being able to identify, frame, and
tell stories that paint the big picture and to do so with some frequency.
We also value staff members who are able to work collegially, proactively,
and patiently with people and groups with diverse perspectives,
including colleagues on our staff who are creative, intensely thoughtful,
and not at all reticent.
It is important for the candidate to demonstrate familiarity and
experience with the community food system movement. This national
movement is focused on building and connecting consumer demand for
fresher, safer, healthier foods with smaller family-farm entrepreneurs
who need agriculture policy reforms and business development assistance
to effectively switch to more sustainable practices and tap local
and regional markets.
Under the direction and in cooperation with the Entrepreneurial
Agriculture project director, the writer/coordinator’s job
responsibilities are to:
- Maintain and build the project’s capacity to communicate
effectively and consistently with a growing coalition of regional
business, agriculture, and community interests, including developing
a Web-based hub for promoting and connecting local food and farm
- Manage and expand the project’s online regional food guide
www.mlui.org/foodguide and the production, marketing, and distribution
of each summer season’s print edition.
- Help develop and execute a local food marketing campaign for
the greater Grand Traverse region, including advertising and promotion,
facilitation of local food purchasing by area restaurants and
food service, and outreach with local farms and food businesses.
- Manage the details of a farm-to-cafeteria initiative in the
area, which the project/coordinator will develop with the project
director and partners based on a planned pilot effort in the fall
- Regularly publish articles about the project and entrepreneurial
agriculture and embrace public speaking.
- Assist the project director’s work to build community
relationships and working with coalition partners to develop and
implement a strategy for regional food system entrepreneurship
and related programming.
- Work with the project director to build awareness about and
support for food and farm policy reform at the state level through
research, journalism, outreach, and coalition building.
- Work with the project director to further develop and execute
- Participate in project evaluation, including assistance with
developing measures, collecting and analyzing data, and monitoring
- Build personal and organizational knowledge of entrepreneurial
agriculture and community food systems and continually integrate
this work with that of other Institute staff, as well as the Institute’s
overall Smart Growth mission and strategic plan.
Candidates for this position must demonstrate experience and success
working in business, journalism, community organizing, or other
project-relevant fields. A bachelor’s degree or higher level
of educational attainment is preferred. The candidate must also
- Proven ability to organize projects with keen attention to detail
- Strong interpersonal communication and teamwork skills.
- An ability to interact effectively with people from diverse
backgrounds and perspectives.
- An ability to work on projects with outside partners and to
network and build relationships.
- Professional and pleasant public demeanor.
- Original and innovative thinking.
- Creative problem solving.
- Ability to simultaneously manage multiple projects and objectives.
- Self-directed working approach and initiative.
- Ability to stay calm and productive under deadline.
- Excellent sense of humor.
- Strong sense of self and compassion for others.
- Strong commitment to the Michigan Land Use Institute’s
mission and programs.
- Understanding of and enthusiasm for entrepreneurial agriculture
and community food systems.
About the Institute:
The Michigan Land Use Institute was founded in 1995 to establish
a new approach to economic development that strengthens communities,
enhances opportunity, and protects the state’s unmatched natural
resources. In its nine-year history, the Institute has achieved
striking accomplishments by joining first-rate journalism, innovative
policy development and analysis, and grassroots organizing. The
writer/coordinator will have the opportunity to work closely with
an exceptional group of journalists, editors, policy analysts, and
advocates who are attracting state and national attention for their
work to advance Smart Growth goals in Michigan.
The Institute rewards achievement, prizes collegiality, and respects
individuality. Flexible hours, competitive wages and benefits, a
best-in-the business team of professionals, and a compelling mission
make the Institute a premier place to build your public interest
Salary and Benefits:
This is a full-time position. The successful candidate will work
in our home office in Beulah, along the eastern shore of Crystal
Lake and one of the most picturesque small towns in the Great Lakes
region. We anticipate concluding the national search for the ideal
candidate sometime in late July and making an offer soon afterwards.
The salary for this position is expected to be in the mid-$30,000
Full-time employees and their families qualify for the Institute’s
excellent health insurance. Full-time employees also receive retirement
benefits, ample vacation, and schedules flexible enough to enjoy
the wondrous forests, clean rivers, and magnificent Great Lakes
shoreline that distinguish our region.
To apply, send cover letter, resume, and writing samples
Entrepreneurial Agriculture Project Director
Michigan Land Use Institute
P.O. Box 500
Beulah, MI 49617
Or via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Michigan Land Use Institute is an independent, non-profit
Smart Growth advocacy organization. We conduct research, communicate
broadly, and work with policy makers and citizens to link economic
development and environmental stewardship goals. The Institute is
an equal opportunity employer, considering candidates without regard
to gender, race, sexual preference, religion, or political affiliation.