Careers at UMass Amherst

Extension Educator III - Urban Agriculture (Mount Ida Campus)

Apply now Job no: 520290
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: Mt. Ida - Newton
Department: UMass Extension
Union: PSU
Categories: Agriculture/Extension, College of Natural Sciences, PSU A

About UMass Amherst - Mount Ida Campus

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The Mount Ida Campus of UMass Amherst is located in Newton, MA adjacent to the Newton-Needham Innovation District, and the tech-focused Route 128 corridor. At Mount Ida, UMass Amherst offers an array of experiential learning opportunities to its undergraduate students, as well as a growing number of graduate and professional degree programs. The campus is growing its undergraduate career development programs with expanded access to internships and co-ops in the thriving Greater Boston area.


Job Summary

The Urban Agriculture Extension Educator supports community-based agricultural enterprises in urban areas of Massachusetts, with a primary focus on the Greater Boston region. The Educator will oversee growth and development of the Urban Agriculture initiative, and will develop and maintain working relationships with organizations and professionals in urban agriculture and linked fields including food systems, food security and community development. As an integral member of the Extension Agriculture Program, the Educator will collaborate with other Program staff to facilitate learning opportunities for urban farmers. The Educator will provide educational support to urban farmers on issues including food production, land access, zoning, permitting, and community relations. The Educator will translate scientific principles into clear and easily understood language, communicating with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures and will be able to navigate the work in languages other than English.


Essential Functions

  • Develop and maintain a network within the urban agriculture community.
  • Conduct assessment and evaluation of the educational needs of urban farmers. Lead strategic planning, and oversee program development and growth as resources permit.
  • Employ a wide variety of written and verbal methods to deliver information to individuals and groups on specific issues that affect farming in urban areas, including land access and land use, zoning, permits, food safety, soil management, crop production, pest management, and neighborhood relations.
  • Visit urban farm sites in Massachusetts to advise growers on science-based agriculture production topics and conduct on-farm educational programs.
  • Work with staff and faculty at UMass Amherst to create educational and training materials and opportunities, and coordinate delivery of specialized Extension expertise to urban farmers and urban agriculture organizations.
  • Provide mentorship for summer student interns including CAFE Summer Scholars where appropriate, and supervise student workers, interns, or other program staff.
  • Act as an integral member of the UMass Extension Agriculture Program. Participate in team meetings and activities, embrace opportunities for collaboration with team members, and represent UMass Extension to the urban agriculture community.
  • Seek out and actively develop professional relationships of mutual respect and trust with other individuals and organizations working with similar communities and needs.
  • Strengthen the interface with those external organizations and internal units dealing with related issues, including hunger, food distribution, nutrition, youth development, and wellness. Seek out and develop opportunities for collaboration and partnerships.
  • Address individuals and groups from a variety of cultural backgrounds in a respectful and thoughtful manner, and work with specific educational needs that may be particular to their backgrounds, including working with culturally diverse crops and foods.
  • Participate in grant-writing to support program growth.
  • Manage program administrative tasks as required for program operations.


Other Functions

  • Perform other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the College of Natural Sciences (CNS).
  • Work collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness. 
  • Work in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the Dean’s strategic priorities.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Bachelor’s degree (preferably in agricultural science, community development, community organizing or other subjects relevant to the duties).
  • Three (3) years working experience in urban agriculture or some form of urban community development.
  • Experience delivering fact-based information that helps others achieve their goals.
  • Demonstrated competency in multicultural environments, working with diverse populations.
  • Ability to work collaboratively at a distance from key colleagues.
  • Capacity to travel statewide if needed.


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Fluency in Spanish or other non-English language relevant to the population of Greater Boston.
  • Experience with urban agriculture in Greater Boston.
  • Horticultural expertise.
  • Successful grant-writing experience.
  • Experience working for agricultural, social, environmental, or community change in urban contexts.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

  • Typical office environment.


Additional Details

  • Position based at the Mount Ida Campus of UMass Amherst in Newton.


Work Schedule

  • Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm or as determined by supervisor.
  • This position has the opportunity for a hybrid work schedule, which is defined by the University as an arrangement where an employee’s work is regularly performed at a location other than the campus workspace for a portion of the week. As this position falls within the Professional Staff Union, it is subject to the terms and conditions of the Professional Staff Union collective bargaining agreement.


Salary Information

Level 27

PSU Salary Ranges


Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with the application, please submit a letter of application, resume, diversity statement (see below), and contact information for three (3) professional references. The search will remain open until filled.

As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations. In addition to application materials above, candidates will need to submit a Statement of Contribution to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The Diversity Statement should identify past experiences and future goals. These contributions may result from lived experiences, scholarships, and/or mentoring, teaching, and outreach activities.  (


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, caste, creed, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, political belief or affiliation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related condition(s), veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, natural and protective hairstyle and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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