Food Systems Development Assistant – 1/2 time AmeriCorps Member



Reno, NV
United States

Job Category:

Americorps or Service Opportunity

Job Type:



Food Systems Development Assistant – AmeriCorps Member

The Desert Farming Initiative (DFI) is an applied agriculture program demonstrating year-round organic fruit and vegetable production for arid climates. DFI is a part of the University of Nevada, Reno’s Experiment Station, the research unit of the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources. Located at the College’s Valley Road Field Lab, DFI partners with academic and Extension faculty to provide practical education and research opportunities for students, faculty and community partners. DFI produces up to 20 tons of fruits, vegetables and herbs for the regional food system. Eighty to ninety varieties of produce are grown annually and all crops are certified organic by CCOF. Produce is directed to wholesale and retail markets, as well as to food insecure populations as part of our Farm to Food Pantry Program. Proceeds are used to support ongoing DFI educational and community programming. Read more at 

DFI’s mission is to advance climate-smart farming and food sovereignty in the Great Basin by:

  • Demonstrating sustainable vegetable and fruit farming practices, while bolstering the regional food system.
  • Providing practical on-farm learning experiences for University students and developing resources for other growers.
  • Actively engaging with a diverse array of stakeholders to improve food security and prepare for farming in a changing climate.
  • Conducting research in collaboration with faculty and community and industry partners to improve agricultural practices for desert climates.

Position Description:

The Food Systems Development Assistant will be a member of a statewide team working to get more fresh produce to vulnerable populations via farmer’s markets; will be the lead for DFI volunteer involvement; and will serve as a core member of the 2023 farm team.  The full-time position does not need previous food systems, nutrition or farming experience, although it is preferred. Ongoing training will be provided during this AmeriCorps term, and the successful candidate must have a desire to learn about sustainable food systems and food production.  The position will report to the DFI Director, and collaborate directly with the DFI Farm Production Manager, Assistant Farm Manager and Education Program Coordinator as well. The position involves physically demanding tasks on the farm, interaction with a diversity of groups and populations, and working independently as well as within a dynamic team.  

Primary Responsibilities:

Be a core member of the farm crew, including team work on the following tasks: harvesting, greenhouse propagation, transplanting, seeding, weeding and cultivation, irrigation assistance, crop fertilization and pest control, food safety practices, small equipment operation, and food packaging, marketing and delivery. Understand fresh organic food production from seed to table. (50% of time)

Play a leading role in DFI’s farm to food pantry program and educational outreach to people struggling with food insecurity. Conduct outreach about Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) benefits at farmer’s markets. Participate in outreach events on campus and in the broader community around DFI programs and opportunities, periodically including evenings and weekends. (25% of time)

Develop and coordinate volunteer opportunities and events for university students and the public. This position will help further develop a structured volunteer program, and create outreach and program marketing materials pertaining to volunteer opportunities and DFI programs. (10% of time)

Assist the DFI Director, Education Program Coordinator and Farm Production Manager in timely record keeping pertaining to crop production and grant reporting. (10% of time)

Assist in basic website work and social media to help tell DFI’s story, and correspond professionally with University faculty, extension staff and the public. (5% of time)



  • Passionate commitment to working with others on food security and sustainable agriculture. Preference will be given to individuals who have an interest in a food systems oriented career
  • Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment and take initiative to improve farm systems
  • Ability to work outdoors conducting physical labor in hot and cold temperatures
  • Outstanding work ethic and positive attitude
  • Good interpersonal communication and writing skills
  • Strong computer skills and experience with Microsoft Office applications 
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Experience working with volunteers
  • Preferred: strong understanding of or educational background in food systems and/or nutrition 
  • Preferred: experience working on a commercial farm or garden
  • Preferred: social media and web content experience


This AmeriCorps position receives a modest living allowance of $10,059 for a half term (approximately 6 months) and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $3,247.50. Service members have the option to apply for student loan forbearance, and may be eligible for SNAP and Medicaid benefits.

Service Location: DFI at the Nevada Agriculture Experiment Station, 920 Valley Road, Reno, NV 89512. AmeriCorps contracts, living allowances and education awards are managed through the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation. Periodic daytime travel may be required within the metro area and region. 

Timeline for Service: January – August 2023

Schedule: Approximately 40 hours per week. Time off includes 5 days of vacation, 5 days of sick leave and federal holidays. A total of 920 hours are required to be completed during this half term of AmeriCorps service.



How to Apply:


A complete application consists of a detailed resume, cover letter, and 2 professional references. Please submit your application directly via email to Jill Moe, DFI Director, at Incomplete applications and applications submitted indirectly via online platforms (such as Indeed or other) will not be considered. 

Application Deadline – Open Until Filled