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2023 Young / Emerging Farmer Opportunity

Are you a young or emerging urban farmer wanting to grow food as a business but lacking the space and resources in which to do so? Our 2023 Emerging Farmer opportunity may be the stepping stone you need.

Sustain: The Australian Food Network presents a unique and empowering opportunity for a young/emerging market gardener to manage a piece of land just 7km from the city of Melbourne. The 900m2 space fills a niche in the thriving urban agriculture network of Melbourne, allowing for an emerging market gardener to cement skills in a real life context, operate their own sole trader business and engage community within the space.

While Sustain will cover the rent and water for a minimum of 1 year, the space will otherwise be managed as a small business entirely by the new farmer. The farmer has the opportunity to manage the space autonomously to grow and sell produce.

There is also scope to run workshops, tours and events, in an arrangement with Sustain. Sustain may also run corporate volunteering sessions and other events, either in collaboration with the urban farmer or independently, at mutually agreed dates and times.

We are seeking someone for a minimum period of one year, up to three years, with a cross over period mentoring the next young farmer. Sustain's commitment is to cover the rent and water entirely for the first year (the first 12 months); after that period we will review the situation and depending on the level of activity and profitability of the operation, we may request a contribution of these outgoings for subsequent years through a process of negotiation with the urban farmer.

This position would suit someone with a keen passion for market gardening and building community, with a proactive attitude and willingness to collaborate for a fairer food system.

Duties include:

  • Overseeing the entire operation of the 900m2 urban farm, using the space primarily for food production.
  • Applying organic and regenerative principles.
  • Ensuring a high standard of safety, productivity and aesthetics on site.
  • Record keeping/data collection about food production and farm operations.
  • Mentoring the incoming farmer after the 1-3 year period.
  • Willingness to undertake paid collaboration with Sustain: The Australian Food Network on various levels, including corporate volunteering, events, education and food justice related projects.
  • Developing a seasonal farm plan that will be shared with Sustain to allows for corporate groups, internships and other potential courses to be integrated on the site.

Key Selection Criteria for Urban Farmer role at Alphington Food Hub:

  • Demonstrated experience in organic food production including planting, maintenance, pest control, soil building and harvesting.
  • Experience creating a viable business plan and running a small business.
  • Has knowledge, ability and motivation to run their own gardening/permaculture related workshops/courses/programs.
  • Compatibility with a variable income role.
  • Demonstrated skills in managing volunteers (supervision, delegation and interpersonal communication).
  • Experience working within multi-stakeholder, community organisations on collaborative projects.
  • Passion for the wider community impacts of urban agriculture and vision for how these may be explored on site.
  • Qualifications or training in horticulture, permaculture and/or agriculture.

Applications close on Monday 15th May 2023, and candidates need to be available for interviews and training on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th May 2023. 

Please send your expression of interest with a cover letter detailing why you are applying for the position to [email protected] .