Full-Time Food Security for Health, Equity and Sustainability
Guilford County, NC, is working to address high food insecurity rates and the contributing historic inequities by working across multiple components of the food system. The FUSE Executive Fellow will help execute the County’s new Food Security Program by developing and implementing a county-wide food security plan, thereby developing more just and sustainable food systems and improving the community’s health and well-being.
Fellowship Dates: October 23, 2023 – October 21, 2024
Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual base salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.
ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP
FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.
When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.
Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.
The food insecurity rate in Guilford County, NC, (17.1%) is almost double the national rate, making the area 14th highest in the nation for food insecurity rates. Food-insecure residents disproportionately live in historically underinvested communities where economic inequity has endured for generations. Exacerbating these struggles, the public health and economic crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected food access for communities of color and those living in these underinvested neighborhoods.
The Guilford County Board of Commissioners established a new Food Security Program in 2022 through the County’s Cooperative Extension office using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The program’s goal is to improve food security across all Guilford County communities by working within multiple components of the food system, highlighting how climate mitigation efforts can improve food security and access. This includes improving access to food, building the capacity of existing organizations that connect people to food, strengthening the County’s farming system and farmers’ markets, avoiding food stresses and scarcities related to climate, minimizing food waste, and improving food reclamation and recycling efforts.
Guilford County will partner with FUSE to help execute their new Food Security Program, implementing a county-wide food security plan to improve the social determinants of health (SDOH) impacting Guilford County residents. The FUSE Executive Fellow will conduct a listening tour and landscape analysis to understand stakeholder needs and concerns; create a data sharing system of partners and stakeholders to build a comprehensive community food data plan; and implement a strategic food security plan. This will help support the County’s goal to develop more just and sustainable food systems, helping improve the community’s overall health and well-being.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.
Beginning in October 2023, the FUSE Executive Fellow will begin by conducting a landscape analysis to gather information on county agency needs, community needs and perceptions of food security and food systems. This work will center on low wealth communities and communities that have historically been excluded from or harmed by policy decisions and as a result seen disproportionate impacts on health and wellbeing.
The Executive Fellow will use the collected information and community insights to design a county-wide food security plan. The Executive Fellow will also use research on successful strategies from across the nation to determine best practice models and include these concepts in the plan. The Executive Fellow will then begin implementing strategies outlined in the plan such as aggregating data sources from various partner agencies identified during the landscape review and listening tour, creating a system for universal metrics across agencies to determine food security conditions, creating a data sharing plan to improve community collaboration and knowledge, and building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders to execute action plans to improve community access to food for those most in need.
By October 2024, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:
- Conduct a landscape analysis and listening tour – Engage with all relevant stakeholders to better understand their collected data, priorities, and concerns with regard to county food security and food systems, ensuring community needs, perspectives, and equity for historically disinvested communities are centered in all work. Research other successful county-wide food security strategies from across the country to inform plan development.
- Develop & implement a food security plan – Begin implementing strategies of a county-wide food security action plan that includes building community partnerships, collecting and sharing data among partners, and improving food access for historically underserved residents.
- Executive Sponsor – Heather Schaffer, County Extension Director, Community Resource Development, N.C. Cooperative Extension, Guilford County Center, Guildford County, NC
- Project Supervisor – Alyssa McKim, Food Security Coordinator, N.C. Cooperative Extension, Guilford County Center, Guildford County, NC
In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in food systems, data analytics, stakeholder engagement and facilitation, and communications strategies is strongly preferred for this project.
- Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
- Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
- Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
- Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
- Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing and excels in both active listening and conversing.
- Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision-making.
- Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including community-based relationships.
- Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
- Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy, while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.
FUSE is an equal opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.