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4 Oct 2017

Full-Time Organizational Director

Agrarian Trust – Posted by awfroom Anywhere

Job Description

About Agrarian Trust

Agrarian Trust is a newly formed farmland access advocacy organization and community land trust. Founded in 2014 as a partnership between Schumacher Center for New Economics and Greenhorns, Agrarian Trust is now an independent 501c3 organization, with legal support from Sustainable Economies Law Center.  Agrarian Trust is registered in California and operates with a national scope. Agrarian Trust has the mission to support farmland access and succession– and to ensure fair, affordable tenure for those entering and equitable legacy for those exiting the sustainable regional farm economy. The organizational mission is served through engagement with stakeholders, national advocacy and educational programming, and by holding farmland in common trust to be leased to sustainable farmers.


Rationale for Our Work

Agrarian Trust was founded through a unique multi-stakeholder approach guided by principles of holocracy and horizontality, beginning from shared principles that reflect a “new economics.” Land and property are at the center of capitalism; historically and to this day land ownership and land tenure can be highly charged subjects. Structural power and shared trauma related to the coercion, expropriation, forced labor and ‘cheap food’ policies in the United States have undervalued natural resources and human labor, to the detriment of agroecosystems and food sovereignty.   Conventional land conservation and conservation finance have arisen through and been structured as a top-down, hierarchical enterprise to benefit the landholding elites.  It is explicit in the vision of Agrarian Trust to contradict these patterns in favor of a more commons-based, community-benefit approach. This is reflected in the job structures, the decision-making practices, our role as a public educator and advocate for best practices, our collaboration with other organizations and individuals in the space, and in our legal code, referral practices and trust model.


The basis for this work in commons-based land management practices comes from the many case studies and their functional principles documented by Nobel prize Winner Elinor Ostrom in her pivotal work Governing the Commons. This work catalogs the many land-based economies which successfully tempered ‘individualistic exploitation’ via cultural patterns of commoning. Agrarian Trust seeks to foster accountable and ultimately more ecologically based and socially embedded land relations.  This land ethic has been elaborated on by land-reform advocates such as Leo Tolstoy, Gandhi, Upton Sinclair, and Henry George and has been practiced by thousands of people across all kinds of geographies and many very fragile and fluctuating ecosystems.  Particularly in a changing climate–adaptive, resilient and responsive social structures may prove key in ensuring truly sustainable agriculture, culture and economy on the land.


We are looking for employees/leaders/staff-trustees who can embody this ‘community benefit’ framework, who are self-motivated, dedicated and able to operate in the spheres or “circles” of Agrarian Trust. Work is organized into ‘circles’ where staff/volunteers/interns/fellows/board members work to serve the function and workplan of the organization (development, communications, administration, HR,  etc.). Each circle draws on the expertise of its members to accomplish its work. We look forward to speaking with candidates who are literate in the cultural practices of restorative justice, and highly passionate about cooperative working relationships.


For further information about our organizational model please refer to:

  • “Reinventing Organizations”
  • “Holocracy”

Other recommended titles include:

  • Patterns of Commoning by Silke Helfrich
  • Thinking like a Commoner by David Bollier
  • Stop Thief by Peter Linebaugh.

And many titles can be found on the Agrarian Trust reading list:


Agrarian Trust bylaws can be reviewed here:

Staff Trustee:

The Organizational Director operates as a ‘Staff Trustee’ under the bylaws of Agrarian Trust.


All Staff Trustees have the duty to steward the organization (and its landholdings) in trust for the benefit of society and the planet, and for the watershed and the foodshed where the farm is located. Staff Trustees are directly accountable to all other Stakeholders (which include farmer-members, investor-members, and committee-members).


Staff Trustees work closely with the Agrarian Trust Board, Advisors, and Regional Trustees to accomplish the work of the Trust.  Furthermore;


  • All Director level staff members of the organization act as Staff Trustees of its purpose.


  • Each Staff Trustee becomes a point of direct accountability for the organization. Accountability to Stakeholders is paramount.


  • Staff Trustees have heightened responsibility, and as such, heightened influence.


  • In order to carry out their heightened responsibilities, each staff member will have relatively equal powers to other Staff Trustees.


  • The Staff Trustees shall use an internal governance/operational model that distributes power among them, ensuring a great deal of agency.


  • One value central to this organization is relatively equal compensation and benefits for staff trustees. Staff Trustees all receive relatively equal pay. Equal pay recognizes that all Staff Trustees have diverse, but equally important duties to the Trust, and it promotes a different relationship with the Trust. It prevents a view of the Trust jobs as a system of commodities within which staff can compete to move up a status hierarchy in relation to other coworkers.


  • Holocratic principles are central to the culture and operations of Agrarian Trust, building competency in this arena is a requirement for this position.


Organizational Director Qualifications:

  • Minimum 3 Years in nonprofit management
  • Minimum 3 Years in marketing, development, and outreach.
  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Demonstrated experience in land conservation, transfer, and stewardship
  • Demonstrated experience in organizational startup
  • Demonstrated experience working with stakeholder board members, funders, and colleagues.



Competencies and Functions Circles
Organizational Development:

Reports Directly to the Board, translates the strategic plan laid out by the board and founding meetings into a work plan, timeline and organizational agenda, setup corporate infrastructure.

Business Administration:

Oversee the administration, development, and organizational management of Agrarian Trust Non Profit.


Oversee accounting and legal/Board documentation

Fund Development:

Identify and liaise with donors, in partnership with development committee members


Recruit staff and oversee their training. Oversee hiring and firing in consultation and collaboration with the board


Oversee staff and programs such as Agrarian Lawyer network, Case study group, blog group

Marketing & Communications:

Oversee Branding, outreach and marketing in partnership with outreach communications committee members


Oversee website management, technical assistance group, publications group


Work with and improve our database system to manage leads, relationships, contacts and allies.

Training & Education:

Actively learn from our subject audience,  our core impacted audiences should be at the table as co-designers during this process.


Attend seminars and trainings which benefit professional development, skill-building and new context for the work

Staff Development & Management:

Identify and liaise with Foundation and Land Trust program managers


Support grant reporting


Oversee structure/management of online office files and administration of grant deadlines, reporting and accounting


Support the Finance Director


How to Apply

Application To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, two writing samples (article/presentation/press piece/links to video presentations) and three professional references to The cover letter should not exceed one page, and it should include an introduction of the candidate, a brief description of the candidate’s background in the field, topical literacy, qualifications, aptitudes and personal motivations.   We are looking for a leader with strong team-building skills and a sharp focus on organizational capacity building; the Organizational Director will immediately join the search committee for the Financial Director position, who will be building the farmland investment fund. The Agrarian Trust board is committed to a brisk and assertive startup and early growth stage for the organization, so we are looking for proven startup and leadership capacity.   We recommend that candidates who come from outside the fields of land conservation and farm service provision demonstrate their rationale and qualifications for entering this new field of work.

Job Categories: Conservation. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: 40,000 - 60,000.

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