I'm writing to let you know about an exciting project that's just beginning
in Michigan and to ask you for some information that will help us.
First, the project: Michigan Integrated Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS) has
received funding from USDA Rural Development's Rural Enterprise Grant
program for Marketline. The project will provide technical assistance to
expand market capabilities of Michigan entrepreneurial food-based ventures.
Marketline will develop a comprehensive database listing both Michigan
farms with agricultural products to sell and food businesses seeking
specific Michigan-grown products. Interested people will be able to access
this database by both a searchable web page and a toll-free telephone
hotline. Marketline will also provide workshops to help Michigan farmers
and food entrepreneurs build skills and network. Farms and food businesses
from across Michigan may participate in the project, with ten counties
Now my questions:
1) We keep hearing about similar projects in other parts of the country
that are doing something similar. Most recently, I heard that such a
project was discussed at the New Orleans CFS workshop. So far, however,
we've been unable to get past hearsay to actually contact other people who
have done/are doing this. If you know of any similar projects and can
share information, please let me know. If you know the name of the state
or community involved, the funding entity, the organization operating the
service, names of people to contact -- anything -- I'd really appreciate
hearing from you.
2) We're searching now for the right individual to hire for this project.
Here is the position announcement. If you know someone who may be
interested, please pass this on to them. Thanks in advance for your help.
The Michigan Integrated Farming Systems (MIFFS) is seeking a Project
oordinator for Marketline, a pilot project providing technical assistance
to expand market capabilities of entrepreneurial food-based ventures in
Michigan. It will link small and medium size buyers of agricultural
products with farmers; develop and encourage entrepreneurial food
production, processing, and marketing opportunities. Marketline is being
funded by a grant from USDA Rural Development and will target growers and
food businesses in 10 rural Michigan counties (Berrien, Genessee, Gratiot,
Lake, Lenawee, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Tuscola, and Van Buren).
MIFFS is a nonprofit organization working to improve the economic and
social well-being of Michiganders who grow and eat food, and the ecological
well being of Michigan's natural resources.
The Marketline Project Coordinator will be responsible to:
* Cordinate work of a seven member advisory committee to guide and direct
* Recruit and engage project participants and collaborators;
* Create a database listing Michigan farms with agricultural products to
sell and food businesses seeking specific Michigan grown agricultural items;
* Develop a searchable Marketline web site for use by growers and buyers;
* Assist buyers in locating Michigan grown agricultural items;
* Assist growers in identifying, growing, and selling to waiting markets;
* Promote and publicize the services and opportunities of the project;
* Organize leadership development, knowledge, and information transfer for
advisory committee, growers, and buyers;
* Evaluate and document project work and impacts, preparing required reports;
* Manage the project's $61,000 budget over one year;
* Manage any contract work or staff;
* Assist MIFFS Executive Director in securing additional project resources.
Qualifications sought include:
* Excellent organization building skills, i.e. the ability to organize,
motivate and work with advisory committee members, project collaborators,
farmers, food business people, media, Extension and other agency staff, as
well as other interested groups and individuals. This includes being able
to work effectively with people who have differing philosophies,
educational backgrounds, and/or economic status;
* Evidence of successful marketing experience;
* Excellent oral and written, communication skills and interpersonal
skills, i.e. the ability to make public presentations, conduct workshops,
compose press releases, write promotional materials and reports and,
interact in a positive and motivational manner with a variety of consumers,
buyers, farmers, staff, etc.;
* Evidence of experience in database and website design and management;
* Appreciation and understanding of sustainable agriculture;
* Bachelors degree or equivalent competence in marketing, agriculture
communications or related fields.
Application materials should include letter of interest, resume, and a
description of how your knowledge, skills, and abilities address the
responsibilities and qualifications sought by MIFFS for Marketline. Include
the names of three references. Applications should be submitted to Tom
Guthrie, Executive Director, MIFFS, P.O. Box 4903, East Lansing, MI 48826
and received no later than 5PM on August 20, 1999.
The position is open immediately and will remain open until a qualified
candidate is hired. Both full and part-time candidates are invited to
apply. Job sharing is an option. The Marketline office will be in the
Lansing, Michigan area but other in-state locations will be considered. The
project has budgeted up to $30,000 in salary plus up to an additional 20
percent for fringe benefits. This is a one year position. Extensions are
possible pending available funding.
Further questions may be directed to Tom Guthrie (517-432-0712); Christine
Lietzau (517-373-9800); or Susan Smalley (517-432-0049).
MIFFS is an equal opportunity employer and maintains a drug free work place.
Susan B. Smalley
Sustainable Food & Farming Systems firstname.lastname@example.org
Michigan State University 517-432-0049 Voice
Department of Crop & Soil Sciences 517-353-3834 Fax
270 Plant & Soil Science Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1325
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