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Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities

The Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities is based in northwest lower Michigan. Since 1995, our mission has been to protect the environment, strengthen the economy, and build community, working to protect what makes this region so special: lively towns and cities, clean water, farm and forest landscapes, and the spirit of community that ties us all together. We excel at building partnerships, raising awareness, and advancing an exciting community resilience movement that is gaining traction in Michigan. Our staff works in three program areas: Climate & Environment; Transportation & Community Design; and Food & Farming. Groundwork Center defines our broad service area as the entire 10-county region of northwest lower Michigan, with offices in Traverse City and Petoskey. Beginning in 2000, the focus of our food and farming programs has been to build a stronger local food system. We have built collaborative partnerships with groups like the Northwest Michigan Food & Farming Network, Local Food Alliance, and Taste the Local Difference which started as a program of Groundwork Center and has recently taken off as its own business. Six policy specialists work on the Food and Farming team, one of which is located in the Northern Farms Foodshed (Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet counties). Now we are well-positioned to deliver more food and farming programming in Charlevoix and Emmet counties, with a specific emphasis on farm to school and food access initiatives in the community. In 2018, we were joined by the fourth policy specialist, focusing on Farms, Food and Health, and culinary medicine. And recently we were joined by two policy specialists focusing on 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids and Farms and Early Childhood Education centers. Rural northwest lower Michigan, where our service member will live, is a diverse agricultural area featuring immense natural beauty. Groundwork Center maintains offices in Traverse City and Petoskey. Though the central office is located in Traverse City, the service member may choose to live in a community closer to the schools they serve, which would mean working out of our Petoskey office. With a year-round population of just under 6,000, Petoskey is home to restaurants interested in promoting locally grown foods; several breweries and wineries utilizing locally grown products, and a strong tourism economy. Pellston Public Schools is one of the schools Groundwork Centeer will continue working with for PY23. Nearly 10% of Pellston Public School’s student population are tribal citizens or 1st generation descendants, many of which are on track for chronic diseases that are diet-related. We are generally, in a rural place, where 11% are considered to be in poverty, and many families, approximately 30%, are asset-limited, income-constrained, and employed. Also, there is a large inequality gap, where there is major wealth, but many struggling families. Groundwork Center also works with Alanson and East Jordan Schools, all of which have some version of a Title VI instructor, as exemplified here: https://www.ejps.org/our-district/title-vi-education/. Pellston Public Schools is a small K-12 school located in a rural community approximately 20 minutes south of Mackinaw City.

We added Pellston as a FoodCorps school in FY2018, having previously worked with them indirectly through our community partners in the region. Our service member serves closely with the food service staff to help show the value of introducing students to new, nutritious recipes in the classroom as well as through monthly cafeteria taste tests. The school has many supportive teachers and administrators. The school, in 2019-2020, qualified for Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which is a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. CEP allows the nation’s highest poverty schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without collecting household applications. Community advocates and school staff have started a school garden, and recently raised a hoophouse on school grounds. East Jordan and Alanson Public Schools were both added for the 2021-2022 school year. Alanson’s food service is now run by the Pellston Food Service Director. East Jordan’s food service program has been a beneficiary of some of Groundwork Center’s other work, bolstering kitchens and cafeterias. Both schools are small and have high free/reduced lunch rates, as well as school gardens. At all three sites, the service members sit on school wellness committees, manage monthly cafeteria taste tests featuring seasonal produce, support local purchases as possible, provide support to teachers on food and garden-based lessons, and help build a schoolwide culture of health. Since PY22, FoodCorps’s the placement of a School Nutrition Service Member has afforded our organization the opportunity to work in a more systematic way to collaborate with rural district and ISD personnel to develop a regional approach to initiating/enhancing food nutrition education as well as supporting nutritious school meals and local procurement. Northwest lower Michigan’s topography is noted for its forests, clean rivers, and magnificent Lake Michigan shoreline. Opportunities for biking, hiking, boating, and beaches are abundant. This rural region shares a diverse agricultural heritage, a legacy of seasonal, low-paying jobs, and a large population of “working poor” families. These districts – along with the students and their parents – have embraced farm-to-school as a way to provide healthy food to kids while investing in the local economy. The Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities will do what it can to support our Service Members in their search for housing.

FoodCorps service members at the Groundwork Center are part of a Michigan cohort that includes 19 service members in 9 communities across the state. FoodCorps service members have the opportunity to take advantage of a state rich in cultural and geographic diversity. We boast urban, suburban, and rural sites with their own unique set of engaging characteristics, as well as thought-provoking challenges. We welcome all to apply for an experience to learn, give back, and grow!

Preferred Qualifications

  • Northwest Lower Michigan is full of immense natural beauty, so a love of the outdoors will definitely make you feel at home here!
  • Our region is also characteristically rural, with many charming small towns brimming with great restaurants, breweries and wineries due to the large volume of tourists that flock to the region each summer.
  • An appreciation for winter is also a must.
  • Our spring frost date often falls after June 1st, so experience growing in hoophouses and utilizing season extension techniques will help you embrace growing up north.
  • Must have the ability to jump into a fast-paced school environment
  • Must be able to relate well to youth, teachers, administrators, parents, other youth facilitators, and community partners
  • Must be willing to attend wellness committee meetings, family nights, and other activities within the community
  • Possess some knowledge of and experience with the food system and/or agriculture
  • Must have excellent organizational and communication skills
  • Must be reliable, accountable, and a team player
  • Must have access to reliable transportation
  • Passionate about strategic systems change, and interested in all of Groundwork’s programs
  • Must have gardening experience
  • Knowledge of indigenous history and culture is a bonus

The Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities is based in northwest lower Michigan. Since 1995, our mission has been to protect the environment, strengthen the economy, and build community, working to protect what makes this region so special: lively towns and cities, clean water, farm and forest landscapes, and the spirit of community that ties us all together. We excel at building partnerships, raising awareness, and advancing an exciting community resilience movement that is gaining traction in Michigan. Our staff works in three program areas: Climate & Environment; Transportation & Community Design; and Food & Farming. Groundwork Center defines our broad service area as the entire 10-county region of northwest lower Michigan, with offices in Traverse City and Petoskey. Beginning in 2000, the focus of our food and farming programs has been to build a stronger local food system. We have built collaborative partnerships with groups like the Northwest Michigan Food & Farming Network, Local Food Alliance, and Taste the Local Difference which started as a program of Groundwork Center and has recently taken off as its own business. Six policy specialists work on the Food and Farming team, one of which is located in the Northern Farms Foodshed (Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet counties). Now we are well-positioned to deliver more food and farming programming in Charlevoix and Emmet counties, with a specific emphasis on farm to school and food access initiatives in the community. In 2018, we were joined by the fourth policy specialist, focusing on Farms, Food and Health, and culinary medicine. And recently we were joined by two policy specialists focusing on 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids and Farms and Early Childhood Education centers. Rural northwest lower Michigan, where our service member will live, is a diverse agricultural area featuring immense natural beauty. Groundwork Center maintains offices in Traverse City and Petoskey. Though the central office is located in Traverse City, the service member may choose to live in a community closer to the schools they serve, which would mean working out of our Petoskey office. With a year-round population of just under 6,000, Petoskey is home to restaurants interested in promoting locally grown foods; several breweries and wineries utilizing locally grown products, and a strong tourism economy. Pellston Public Schools is one of the schools Groundwork Centeer will continue working with for PY23. Nearly 10% of Pellston Public School’s student population are tribal citizens or 1st generation descendants, many of which are on track for chronic diseases that are diet-related. We are generally, in a rural place, where 11% are considered to be in poverty, and many families, approximately 30%, are asset-limited, income-constrained, and employed. Also, there is a large inequality gap, where there is major wealth, but many struggling families. Groundwork Center also works with Alanson and East Jordan Schools, all of which have some version of a Title VI instructor, as exemplified here: https://www.ejps.org/our-district/title-vi-education/. Pellston Public Schools is a small K-12 school located in a rural community approximately 20 minutes south of Mackinaw City.

We added Pellston as a FoodCorps school in FY2018, having previously worked with them indirectly through our community partners in the region. Our service member serves closely with the food service staff to help show the value of introducing students to new, nutritious recipes in the classroom as well as through monthly cafeteria taste tests. The school has many supportive teachers and administrators. The school, in 2019-2020, qualified for Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which is a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. CEP allows the nation’s highest poverty schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without collecting household applications. Community advocates and school staff have started a school garden, and recently raised a hoophouse on school grounds. East Jordan and Alanson Public Schools were both added for the 2021-2022 school year. Alanson’s food service is now run by the Pellston Food Service Director. East Jordan’s food service program has been a beneficiary of some of Groundwork Center’s other work, bolstering kitchens and cafeterias. Both schools are small and have high free/reduced lunch rates, as well as school gardens. At all three sites, the service members sit on school wellness committees, manage monthly cafeteria taste tests featuring seasonal produce, support local purchases as possible, provide support to teachers on food and garden-based lessons, and help build a schoolwide culture of health. Since PY22, FoodCorps’s the placement of a School Nutrition Service Member has afforded our organization the opportunity to work in a more systematic way to collaborate with rural district and ISD personnel to develop a regional approach to initiating/enhancing food nutrition education as well as supporting nutritious school meals and local procurement. Northwest lower Michigan’s topography is noted for its forests, clean rivers, and magnificent Lake Michigan shoreline. Opportunities for biking, hiking, boating, and beaches are abundant. This rural region shares a diverse agricultural heritage, a legacy of seasonal, low-paying jobs, and a large population of “working poor” families. These districts – along with the students and their parents – have embraced farm-to-school as a way to provide healthy food to kids while investing in the local economy. The Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities will do what it can to support our Service Members in their search for housing.

FoodCorps service members at the Groundwork Center are part of a Michigan cohort that includes 19 service members in 9 communities across the state. FoodCorps service members have the opportunity to take advantage of a state rich in cultural and geographic diversity. We boast urban, suburban, and rural sites with their own unique set of engaging characteristics, as well as thought-provoking challenges. We welcome all to apply for an experience to learn, give back, and grow!

Preferred Qualifications

  • Northwest Lower Michigan is full of immense natural beauty, so a love of the outdoors will definitely make you feel at home here!
  • Our region is also characteristically rural, with many charming small towns brimming with great restaurants, breweries and wineries due to the large volume of tourists that flock to the region each summer.
  • An appreciation for winter is also a must.
  • Our spring frost date often falls after June 1st, so experience growing in hoophouses and utilizing season extension techniques will help you embrace growing up north.
  • Must have the ability to jump into a fast-paced school environment
  • Must be able to relate well to youth, teachers, administrators, parents, other youth facilitators, and community partners
  • Must be willing to attend wellness committee meetings, family nights, and other activities within the community
  • Possess some knowledge of and experience with the food system and/or agriculture
  • Must have excellent organizational and communication skills
  • Must be reliable, accountable, and a team player
  • Must have access to reliable transportation
  • Passionate about strategic systems change, and interested in all of Groundwork’s programs
  • Must have gardening experience
  • Knowledge of indigenous history and culture is a bonus