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Welcome to the Village

The Village Agricultural Cooperative creates opportunities for our communities to produce culturally relevant food.  By creating space for public and market gardens in urban areas, we address the health needs of our people and planet while building food systems for future generations, and nourishing our elders too. We believe that sustainable agriculture creates healthy communities. 

Aggregate Hub Developer

Hiring!! Join our team and help build our food systems!

The Village Agricultural Cooperative provides land access and creates opportunities for our communities to grow their own food.  Through partnerships with the USDA, Renewing the Countryside, the Minnesota Farmer’s Market Association, and the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, we are building a food aggregation system that connects emerging farmers to local buyers. Located in Rochester, MN, we are in our fifth year of building stronger local sustainable food systems. 

 

Job Summary:

We are seeking an individual with experience in supply chain development or aggregate hub management to join our team and play a pivotal role in building and managing networks that connect emerging farmers with local buyers. The Food Network Developer will be responsible for working with existing partners to build and optimize the supply chain, facilitating relationships between farmers and businesses, and ensuring the efficient movement of produce from farm to market. This is a full-time position offered at-will, operating mostly during normal business hours, 8 am - 5:30 pm. The position is salaried at $50,000- $55,000 based on experience. 

Responsibilities

  • Collaboration with Local Businesses:

    • Identify and engage with local businesses interested in sourcing produce from emerging farmers.

    • Foster partnerships and negotiate agreements that benefit both farmers and businesses.

  • Farmers Network Building:

    • Identify and recruit emerging farmers.

    • Establish and maintain strong relationships with farmers, providing support and guidance.

  • Supply Chain Optimization:

    • Work with our Operations Manager to design and implement efficient and cost-effective supply chain processes.

    • Streamline logistics to minimize waste and maximize freshness in product delivery.

  • Quality Assurance:

    • Implement and maintain quality control measures throughout the supply chain.

    • Work closely with farmers to ensure compliance with quality standards.

  • Data Management:

    • Utilize data to analyze and improve supply chain efficiency.

    • Maintain accurate records of transactions, contracts, and inventory.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management, Agriculture, Business, or related field, or four years of experience in supply chain management.

  • Proven experience in supply chain management, preferably in the context of agriculture or food systems.

  • Experience with record keeping and outcome reporting as related to standard business and financial principles.

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills across various cultures

  • Fluency in a language other than English (especially Hmong, Spanish, Khmer) is a plus.

  • Mission alignment with the need for equity work in regenerative agricultural practices.

How to Apply:

Please submit your resume and a cover letter detailing your relevant experience and interest in the position to contact@rochvillage.org. Further accommodations and/or questions can be directed to Amanda at 507-271-7069. 

Application deadline is February 16, 2024. The Village Agricultural Cooperative is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply.

Growing more for 2024

As we look back on 2023, we are grateful for all of the dedicated farmers and donors that helped us accomplish many of our goals. Here are some of our highlights:

New office space: We've received a welcoming reception to our presence at the Mission house on the People of Hope ELCA campus. We are grateful for the use of this space, the people who make it happen, and the new capacity that it creates for our organization to gather and grow. 

Small tractor with loader, mower, tiller implements: Through a generous gift $25,000 from the Mardag Foundation, we were able to purchase a 25 HP John Deere tractor with a tiller, mower, and front loader attachments. We paid more than $3000 to contractors to help manage our land in 2023, and we hope to cut these costs and do the work ourselves in the 2024 season. 

 

 

 

16 x 24 Shed for the History Center, and 8 x 12 shed for the Rochester Covenant Church site:  We love it when our community loves what we do, and Minnwest Bank showed their appreciation by purchasing a Sturdi-built shed for our farmers and for market storage needs. Additionally, the Mardag Foundation gift went toward purchase of a second smaller shed for supplies at RCC. 

Refrigerated trailer, washing/packing stations, and shade structures: They're completed!  Big thanks for our State Health Improvement Partnership, Mayo Clinic, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, and the USDA for providing us with the funding to see these projects through. It's important that our farmers follow health and safety guidelines to keep our community safe, and these new additions help us stay up to code. 

Completion of three high tunnels: Spanning the 2022 and 2023 seasons, we've constructed three tunnels with two in production for winter research. We will continue to work on installation of seed-starting infrastructure and a heating system at the History Center site to enable our farmers to cut costs on their seedlings in Spring of 2024. 

Health campaign for cancer prevention: Mayo Clinic continues to recognize our efforts to reduce health disparities in our community by providing support for cancer prevention. Led by Miguel Valdez-Soto, our farmers engaged by creating videos on why their grow their own foods and the importance of protecting our skin from the sun, no matter the amount of melanin one might have. 

Market Fun - over 30 art vendors, 28 food vendors, 22 musicians,  and 13 first-time licensed food vendors: Our markets at the History Center were so much fun and we're so grateful to the dedicated patrons that made the journey to see us week after week. Our plans may change for 2024 so stay tuned! 

Land Access forward momentum: We continue to work closely with partners at Renewing the Countryside, Minnesota Farmer's Market Association, Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Ag and more to actualize land ownership for our organization and for our historically marginalized farming communities. We met with the national and state leaders of the Farm Service Agency - USDA in November and December to make our plans known. We also visited the Hmong American Farmer's Association to gain knowledge from their journey to land ownership

 

Completion of our Sustainable Agriculture - Demonstration Grant, Minnesota Department of Agriculture: We engaged 14 farmers in research on production of culturally specific foods. We successfully identified the best variety of tomatillos to grow in our northern region. We grew and taste-tested varieties of Asian greens that our farmers otherwise would not have taken the risk to reclaim, and we attempted to mitigate pest loss on managu, a nightshade vegetable. More work is needed in these areas and we are grateful for the funding which helped us to involve our farmers on the state level. 

New Program: Minnesota Local Food Purchase Assistance Program

We will receive $100,000 in 2024 (reimbursement funding) to purchase food from historically marginalized farmers and bring that food to our smaller and evolving local food shelves. At least 70% of this funding will go directly into the food costs, creating a significant impact for the food insecure members of our community.

American Rescue Plan Act, USDA: In coordination with Big River Farms, The Food Group and two other incubator farms, we are working on building more formal farm education programs. This partnership provides five years of funding to support the entrepreneurial development of our farmers. 

 

What we still urgently need: Funding for staffing!! We need further funding for our market coordinator position and would like to hire ½ time office support staff. Also, we need a truck and a trailer!! We've relied on borrowed implements to move materials and supplies, but the LFPA grant will require weekly use during the harvest season, and it's time that we have our own means of transportation to move our refrigerated trailer to the food shelves and also a trailer that can move our small tractor from farm to farm. 

 

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and site improvements.

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As a Minnesota nonprofit,

we greatly appreciate

your tax-deductible donation.

Mailing address:
PO Box 7723
Rochester, MN 55903

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Community rocks!

  • Renewing the Countryside & USDA: Local Food Promotion Program, Minnesota Farmers' Market Hubs

  • Big River Farms, American Rescue Plan Act, USDA

  • Mayo Clinic - Center for Health Equity and Community Engagement Research 

  • Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation - Inclusive and Equitable Communities Fund

  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture: AGRI Demonstration SUSTAG

  • Mardag Foundation

  • University of Minnesota - SE Regional Sustainable Development Partnership

  • Compeer Financial

  • Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP)

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