OPPORTUNITY! Employment with the Rodale Institute
WANTED: Experienced editor/manager with a strong ag background

The Rodale Institute has received funding from the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) to develop:

  1. An online course on transitioning to organic production. In a friendly, engaging style, the course will cover all aspects of transitioning, from record keeping to soil fertility, and will include, among other things: detailed case studies of diverse farms that have gone through transition; a structured online diary that helps course participants develop a complete farm plan by course’s end; a directory of resources; and a discussion forum for course members.
  2. A complementary tool called The Simulator that will help farmers analyze the relative economic benefits of organic versus conventional systems over time. The goal is to produce an easy-to-use modeling tool that will provide multi-year analysis of an individual farm’s yields and economics, act as an instructional tool, and allow producers the ability to experiment with changes in key production variables in an effort to discern if organic production techniques and various rotational sequences are right for their operations.

We are now seeking the assistance of an experienced ag journalist, editor and project manager who can shepherd these two projects to completion, walk them through beta testing, then maintain and update them. A knowledge of Microsoft Project would be a plus. This is a three year position, with full and generous benefits. We hope to complete the hiring process by January 15, 2004. Anyone interested in applying must be available to begin work by February 1, 2004. To apply, please email Chris Hill, the executive editor of NewFarm.Org, at info@newfarm.org. Be sure to include some commentary that will convince Chris that you have the passion, skills, connections and temperament to do this job well. Also include a resume or some variation on your work history.

The way we see it, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with the best and brightest organic and sustainable farmers and educators to create learning tools that will assist farmers in making the transition to organic, or at the very least improving the profitability of and practices on their farms. We're looking for someone who can bring the appropriate passion and conviction to the job. Convince us that you're that person.

We prefer someone who can relocate in Pennsylvania, though will consider those who can’t. You will be required to travel from time to time, especially during the first half year of the project. Any questions regarding compensation will be answered when we contact you following receipt of your email. The finalists for this position will be required to visit us in Pennsylvania for face-to-face interviews. The Rodale Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

P.S. If you know someone you think would be great for the job, but would prefer that we contact them directly, just drop a line to Chris Hill at the email address above.

The Transition Course
As project manager for the transition course, the person we hire will be responsible for working with:

  • the editors at newfarm.org to refine and shape the concept of the course
  • brainstorming groups who represent our major constituencies to further refined the course and its contents (these groups will be made up of academics, farmers, inspectors, extension, and representatives of membership groups who work on behalf of farmers
  • a curriculum specialist to ensure that the course is structured in a way that meets standard
    expectations for good course design
  • a graphic designer and programmer to create the right look, feel and functionality for the course
  • freelance writers and specialists who will contribute some of the modules for the course, under your editorial direction.

The project manager will also be responsible for:

  • writing the bridge narratives that create the “voice” of the course and provide a sense of continuity and progress from one module to the next
  • editing all articles and contracted components of the course
  • managing and stimulating discussion on the course’s discussion forum
  • answering participants’ questions
  • developing a monthly email newsletter for course participants
  • updating the course as needed.

The Simulator
As project manager for The Simulator, the person we hire will be responsible for meeting with the editors, brainstorming groups, and ag econ specialists to refine our concept for this tool. Creative thinking and planning will be crucial during the first several months of development, since we need to ensure that the tool we develop will be the one that is most useful for--and most likely to be used by—the farmers it’s designed to benefit.

Developing an analytical tool like this will require that you:

  • work with farmers to understand all the variables and costs involved in organic production
  • work with ag researchers and an ag economist to gather and analyze the data that will be used to predict yields, costs and prices
  • work with a statistician and programmer who can turn the variables and data into executable formulas and calculations
  • work with a database expert and graphic designer to actually create the tool

The project manager will also be responsible for structuring the tool and writing the copy for it in such a way that it is engaging and user-friendly.