OPPORTUNITY! Project Coordinator, the Michigan Land Use Institute
Entrepreneurial Ag Project Seeks Writer/Coordinator
Join influential land use policy group's professional team

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 food systems

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 spaces.

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 activities.
  • 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 of 2004.
  • 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 fundraising plans.
  • Participate in project evaluation, including assistance with developing measures, collecting and analyzing data, and monitoring progress.
  • 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 demonstrate:

  • Proven ability to organize projects with keen attention to detail and deadlines.
  • 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 career.

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 range.

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.

Application Deadline and Procedure:

To apply, send cover letter, resume, and writing samples to:
Patty Cantrell
Entrepreneurial Agriculture Project Director
Michigan Land Use Institute
P.O. Box 500
Beulah, MI 49617

Or via email to: jobs@mlui.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.