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PVGrows is Hiring!

The PVGrows Network Coordinator is responsible for strengthening the PVGrows network, including managing membership outreach and networking, collaboration with the PVGrows Investment Fund, fundraising, and planning the annual Forum or other networking and educational events. The Network Coordinator works closely with an active Steering Committee. This is a part-time consulting position, approximately 12 hours/week. The Network Coordinator position is a consultant under contract with CISA, PVGrows’ host organization. 

Consultant Opening: Network Coordinator

Time frame: Review begins 8/10/2015, position open until filled

Pioneer Valley Grows is a collaborative network dedicated to enhancing the ecological and economic sustainability and vitality of the Pioneer Valley food system. PVGrows provides opportunities for stakeholders to connect, share, and match goals and expertise to promote the growth of our food system. From agricultural finance to policy formulation, from Farm to School to job creation and improved access to good nutrition, PVGrows helps partners build on each other’s strengths to effectively support a diverse and viable local food system.

PVGrows is driven by the participation and work of its members. It supports working groups and networking events, including a popular annual forum. The PVGrows Network is hosted by CISA and guided by an active independent Steering Committee. The PVGrows Investment Fund provides opportunities for investment by local residents in the regional food system and provides financing to farm and food businesses. It is administered by the Franklin County CDC with input from an Advisory Committee, and the PVGrows Network plays an important outreach and engagement role in supporting the Investment Fund.

Description

The NetworkCoordinator is responsible for strengthening the PVGrows network, including facilitating Steering Committee activities, managing membership outreach and networking, fundraising, collaboration with the PVGrows Investment Fund, and planning the annual Forum or other networking and educational events.  The Network Coordinator position is a consultant under contract with CISA, PVGrows’ host organization. The Network Coordinator works under the supervision of the PVGrows Steering Committee, with guidance from Margaret Christie, Special Projects Director at CISA.

Responsibilities:

  1.  Work with Steering Committee to develop and implement clear strategy and target goals for ongoing outreach and member relations to deepen and grow membership annually. Outreach goals include expanding membership in Hampden County and among local food business entrepreneurs and workers. Ensure that this plan is well coordinated with outreach efforts related to the PVGrows Investment Fund.
  2. Catalyze PVGrows member engagement and action through support for new and existing Working Groups. Current working groups include Race in the Food System, Job Creation, and Land Conservation and Access.
  3. Manage fundraising in cooperation with PVGrows Steering Committee, funders and host organization. Maintain relationships with existing funders, seek additional funding opportunities, and review membership strategy.
  4. Support the PVGrows Steering Committee, including planning and facilitating monthly Steering Committee meetings and an annual retreat, managing recruitment of new members, and communication with committee chairs. Current committees include Operations, Fundraising/Membership, and the Forum Program Committee.
  5. Foster strategic engagement between the PVGrows Network and the PVGrows Investment Fund. Work closely with the Investment Fund Coordinator to coordinate outreach and membership development efforts with the Investment Fund’s parallel efforts to do outreach to potential applicants and investors.

Required Qualifications:

  • Strong leadership and networking skills and experience;
  • Ability to work independently and with a team;
  • Organized and self-motivated;
  • Ability to work with people of various backgrounds including government agency staff, university researchers, farmers, business owners, and community members;
  • Experience managing interns and volunteers;
  • Strong written and oral communication skills in English (Spanish proficiency a plus);
  • Proficiency with office computing and equipment (MS Windows and Office platforms, use of Google drive);
  • Commitment to PVGrows’ mission to enhance the ecological and economic sustainability and vitality of the Pioneer Valley food system.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Prior experience with fundraising, membership management, and network facilitation;
  • Experience working in diverse communities in the Pioneer Valley or equivalent;
  • Experience in sustainable agriculture, food justice, and/or business development in the Pioneer Valley.

 Hours and compensation:  Average 12 hours per week at $25/hour

Access to a computer and a car and some weekend and evening availability are required.

CISA/PVGrows is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Please send cover letter and resume to Jennifer Williams.  Writing samples and references may be requested.  Review begins 8/10/15, position open until filled.

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Slow Money Pioneer Valley Call for Entrepreneurs

Slow Money Pioneer Valley: Farm and Food Businesses invited to Submit Proposals to Participate in Upcoming Entrepreneur Showcases

Slow Money Pioneer Valley is part of the national Slow Money movement, and is coordinated with other initiatives in support of the local food system and investing, like PV Grows and Invest Here Now.  It also works closely with other Slow Money Networks in the region, including Boston, Maine, and Vermont.  The mission of our Slow Money Network is to catalyze community-based investment in the local food system by connecting investors, farmers and entrepreneurs in order to strengthen our local and regional food economy.   SMPV organized its first “Entrepreneurs’ Showcase” in January 2014 where farm and food businesses presented their business plans to potential investors, and has sponsored workshops on different options for food entrepreneurs seeking financing.

On May 21st, there will be a gathering of the Slow Money Networks from the region in Boston.  An important part of the program will be an Entrepreneurs’ Showcase.  Each regional Network will nominate 2-3 entrepreneurs to participate from which one will be chosen to provide a balanced group representing different business stages, products and strategies from the region.  Slow Money Pioneer Valley will follow up with its own Entrepreneurs’ Showcase in the Fall.

These Showcases will give entrepreneurs an opportunity to get feedback from private investors on their business plans, and make contacts and forge relationships that will be useful as their businesses grow and need support, including financing.

If you are a Pioneer Valley food entrepreneur currently seeking private investors or thinking seriously about how to meet your future financing needs, you may be a good candidate to participate in one of these two upcoming Showcases.  SMPV can help you determine if this would be a good fit at this time and, if so, help you prepare the following:

·      A well executed 5 minutes presentation at the event

·      A slidedeck of 5 to 6 slides for your presentation

·      You will need to make time to receive feedback about your slidedeck and presentation from a Slow Money representative prior to     the event

The Opportunity for Entrepreneurs:

·      Connect with community members who are consumers, activists, and potential investors.

·      Potential investors may be interested in your project and want to discuss investment options in greater detail.

Slow Money Pioneer Valley invites you to submit a brief 4-5 sentence description of your business and its current and anticipated needs.  The submission will be reviewed by SMPV and you will be informed whether you are a candidate for either of the upcoming showcases.  If so, SMPV will work with you to finalize your presentation.  In the case of the Regional Showcase in May, the organizers from Slow Money Boston will also work with you to ensure a consistent format among all the regional entrepreneurs.

During each event, each entrepreneur will have 5 minutes to make their presentation about their business, and their financing needs.  Local investors and food system supporters will then have 5 minutes to ask questions about each business. Following the presentations, entrepreneurs, investors, and community members have the opportunity to meet for more in-depth, one-on-one discussions.

Deadlines

If you are interested in presenting at the Boston showcase, please send in your 4-5 sentence description of your business by April 17th to cdileo@charlemont.org.  For questions, please email Paul DiLeo (pdileo@grassrootscap.com) or Dan Rosenberg (dan@realpickles.com).

For the SMPV Showcase in the fall, we will send out a reminder and specify a deadline for submissions once the date has been set.

Thanks for your interest and we look forward to working together with Pioneer Valley food businesses!

Jeff Rosen and Paul DiLeo on behalf of the Slow Money Pioneer Valley Steering Committee

 

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MA Food Plan Listening Session

MA Food Plan Listening Session

Wednesday, April 15th from 2-4pm, Mill 1 in Open Square, 4 Open Square Way, Holyoke, MA 

Massachusetts has a rich and diverse food system – from varied agriculture, to innovative food processing facilities, to initiatives that improve the health and affordability of food in our communities. The Massachusetts Food Policy Council has initiated a process to craft a statewide Food System Plan build a strong, robust food system where there is less hunger, more access to local and healthy foods, where there are improved job and business opportunities, and where food system development is ecologically sustainable.

We want to hear from you! Join us after lunch and weigh in on what’s happening on farms, in food processing, with community food organizations, and in fisheries.

  • What are you doing really well?
  • What are the major challenges in your area?
  • What do you see as the most important ways to improve our food system?

Your input is important for us to better understand the major strengths and obstacles in this region and to develop a well-informed plan for the Massachusetts food system.

Visit our website for more information on the planning process: www.mafoodplan.org.

 

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2015 Spring Forum – LAND: the foundation of a healthy food system

Preserve FarmlandLAND: the foundation of a healthy food system 

Wednesday, April 15th from 9:00-1:30pm, Mill 1 in Open Square, 4 Open Square Way, Holyoke, MA 

Sliding Scale Registration: $0-50. Space is limited to 130. Register NOW!

Catered by Beets & Barley and Holyoke Hummus Company.

There will be a MA Food Plan Listening Session following the Forum.

View Program Details & Full List of Presenters

Just as a house needs a strong foundation to support it over time, farmers need secure access to land to produce food. Land is the foundation of our food system. 

  • How does access to farmland fit into a vision of creating a healthy, resilient, and equitable food system?
  • How can we ensure that farmland is available and protected for future generations?
  • What is the connection between food access and farmland access?
  • What can urban and rural communities learn from one another about accessing land for food production?

We all have a stake in supporting working farms by expanding secure access to land. Farmers with secure access can afford to purchase farmland or can obtain long-term leases that allow them to feel confident investing in the soil or other infrastructure. They live in communities that prioritize food production among other land uses. In our region, as elsewhere, food security – ensuring adequate, healthy food for all – is of great concern. Our region’s food security depends on farmers’ land security.

Join us for PVGrows’ 2015 Spring Forum to learn about the important role that secure access to land plays in our food system – and how we can all work to strengthen this foundation.

At the Forum we will explore topics related to land access including land affordability, land transfer and succession planning, land conservation, farm financing, farm viability, and food access. 

We will:

  • Learn why secure access to farmland is vital to creating a healthy, resilient, and equitable food system in the Pioneer Valley.
  • Understand the barriers facing producers who are trying to gain secure access to rural and urban farmland.
  • Get introduced to the diverse approaches available for overcoming these barriers including conservation easements, shared ownership, and creative leasing.
  • Hear stories of innovative approaches to land access and partnerships in rural and urban settings and meet with local people working on these issues.

Community support is critical to help farmers access, hold, and transfer land – and to keep working farms viable for future generations. Join us to learn more.

Like past Forums, the 2015 Spring Forum will include interactive sessions, structured networking, opportunities for collaboration, and a locally grown lunch. This event is open to anyone interested in and working for a healthy food system in the Pioneer Valley.

For More Background Information & Resource

Register for the PVGrows 2015 Spring Forum.

Read more here about the PVGrows Forum.

Video from previous PVGrows Forums are available on the PVGrows YouTube Channel.

Thanks to our sponsors

Real Pickles CISA
Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment Partners for a Healthier Community

 Daisa enterprises  Westfield State University
 Common Capital
  Franklin County Community Development Corporation
 Farm Credit East  Land For Good
Lydia B. Stokes Foundation Solidago Foundation
Mass Food System Plan Conway School
 Franklin Regional Council of Governments  Grow Food Northampton
Franklin Land Trust
Mount Grace Land Trust
 Hilltown Land Trust  the trustees of reservations
 Simple Diaper & Linen
 New England Farmers Union
Just Roots  the frances fund
 Miller Worley Center for The Environment  Equity Trust
 Greenfield Community College  CD_Hospital_RGB (1)

 Thanks to our caterers:
 Beets and Barley
 Holyoke Hummus Company

Join our sponsors on the 15th and register now!

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