Seeking Farm to Institution Fellow

Multicolored carrot sticks and broccoli florets in an institutional food service setting.

Hiring Organization: Center for Regional Food Systems
Employment type: Full-Time
Job Location: East Lansing, MI
Application Deadline: May 5, 2021


The full position description is below and available on the MSU Careers Portal (posting #697310).

Position Summary

The Michigan State University (MSU) Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) within the Department of Community Sustainability is seeking a full-time, fixed-term Farm to Institution Fellow. This position is classified as a Specialist – Outreach that includes some research responsibilities.

This fixed-term position is a unique and exciting opportunity for a self-motivated, resourceful, and committed early-career candidate to bring creative vision to an existing, strong foundation of relationships, programs, and learnings to support and shape farm to institution programs in Michigan into the future. CRFS’s farm to institution work is highly collaborative. This position will require a collaborative, diplomatic candidate to work closely with partners from state agencies, MSU Extension, community-based organizations, institutions, potential funding agencies and national partners. Using a racial equity lens in all outreach, research, and communication efforts and organizational skills are critical for success.

Position overview

The Outreach Specialist will support outreach, research, and project coordination for ongoing and signature farm to institution projects of CRFS including:

  • Evaluation of 10 Cents a Meal, the state-funded match reimbursement program to help schools, early child care centers, and residential child care institutions purchase and serve more Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables, and legumes;
  • Coordination of an Anchor Innovations project to support Michigan hospitals and healthcare systems in implementing local food procurement as an anchor institution strategy, along with workforce development and community investment;
  • Transition planning for the Cultivate Michigan web-based platform that member institutions use to track their progress toward the 20% by 2020 goal of the Michigan Good Food Charter, as we work toward adopting additional goals and/or values for the Michigan Farm to Institution Network beyond 2020;
  • Other research projects as needed for the Michigan Farm to Institution Network, a 650+ member network supported by a management team of CRFS staff and MSU Extension Educators;
  • Updating and sharing select Michigan Farm to School resources and providing outreach and technical assistance for farm to school practitioners and supporters.

Position expectations

  • Regularly convene and/or collaborate with CRFS staff and state and national partners virtually and in person;
  • Maintain and/or provide leadership for data collection and analysis, including through web-based platforms, electronic surveys, etc., and share results;
  • Develop papers, resources, and other creative forms of scholarship in a timely fashion for diverse audiences, including academics, practitioners, stakeholders, and the general public. Publication examples include reports, fact sheets, guides, videos, webinars, and journal articles;
  • Present on outreach, research and/or education projects and findings at conferences, meetings, and other venues, which may include scholarly, government, association, and community audiences;
  • Contribute to relationship-building and collaborate with CRFS partners and colleagues engaged in child nutrition, farm to institution, and good food efforts;
  • Engage with the Michigan Farm to Institution Network, the National Farm to School Network, the National Farm to Institution Metrics Collaborative, and other relevant networks as needed; and,
  • Contribute to reporting on current grant projects.

Expectations for all CRFS academic specialists

  1. Engage with relevant networks led by CRFS and/or partners and appropriate professional organizations;
  2. Document and share project work and accomplishments; maintain regular internal and external communication about project activities; write grant reports; develop and report on an annual plan of work;
  3. Actively participate in CRFS staff and strategic meetings and stay current on CRFS projects, activities, resources and publications as relevant to this work;
  4. Represent projects and CRFS in a professional manner in all forms of engagement and communication; and
  5. Help to foster, facilitate, and maintain the CRFS culture of anti-racism, trust, support and accountability.


  1. Master’s degree required in community food systems, public health, nutrition, community development, food policy, or related field.
  2. At least two years of work experience in a professional or academic setting required (including part-time or full-time and concurrent with education). Demonstrated experience fulfilling responsibilities such as data collection, analysis, or reporting, program coordination or communication, or provision of technical assistance, training, or outreach, preferred.
  3. Demonstrated resourcefulness and ability to problem-solve and think critically.
  4. Proven ability to self-direct and balance multiple projects simultaneously and to easily shift between working independently and collaboratively, including as part of a team. Demonstrated project leadership, management, and collaboration desired.
  5. Demonstrated strong written and verbal communications skills and experience using a broad range of communication tactics.
  6. Demonstrated experience using an equity lens in food systems programming and working with multicultural and diverse populations.
  7. Proven ability to effectively and diplomatically engage and collaborate with diverse stakeholder groups such as nonprofit, academic, and governmental organizations and funders. Experience in network-building, teaching, presenting, and/or group facilitation desired.
  8. Understanding of, and committed to, a culture of anti-racism and inclusivity. 
  9. High degree of knowledge of, and comfort with, using technology in completing job requirements including Microsoft Office suite; online search, file-sharing, and collaboration platforms; electronic survey and data analysis software; and phone/web conferencing systems.
  10. Available to occasionally travel by car throughout the state and, infrequently, by plane within the U.S., including overnight. Possession of a valid, current state driver’s license required.

Required Application Materials

  1. CV or resume
  2. Cover letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the position.Include a statement of your philosophy that specifically addresses the alignment between your goals and CANR’s focus on excellence through diversity and inclusion, including summary of your experience with, or interest in working in diverse communities.
  3. Names and contact information of three references

Status: This is a full-time, annual year (12-month), fixed-term position Initial appointment will be for one year with six-month reappointment contingent upon funding and performance.

Available:  June 1, 2021, or when a suitable candidate is identified.

Application Deadline: May 5, 2021 at 11:55 p.m. Eastern Standard Time or until a suitable candidate is identified.

Salary: $43,420- $50,000. Salary commensurate with education and experience.

Reporting: Individual reports to Colleen Matts, Senior Farm to Institution Specialist, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems.

Special Instructions

If you have questions about the position or search process, you may contact Rich Pirog at

Application materials must be submitted through the MSU Careers Portal (posting #697310).

Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS)

The mission of the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University is to work to engage the people of Michigan, the United States and the world in applied research, education and outreach to develop regionally integrated, sustainable food systems.

CRFS Racial Equity Statement

CRFS recognizes that racism in the food system is historic, ongoing, and systemic. As we collaborate with partners to advance food systems rooted in local regions and centered on food that is healthy, green, fair, and affordable, we emphasize racial equity as a foundation of our work.

Michigan State University

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

MSU Affirmative Action Statement

The MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at Michigan State University is committed to achieving excellence by creating and sustaining an accessible and inclusive culture that values cultural and academic diversity. We are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. The CANR is particularly interested in candidates of all backgrounds who are committed to the principle that academic excellence is achieved through open access and proactive inclusion.

MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer and is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities. Michigan State University employment opportunities are open to eligible/qualified persons without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, or family status. Michigan State University is a pioneer Land Grant institution based in East Lansing, Michigan that provides regional, national, and international leadership in basic and applied research, excellence in teaching, an emphasis on international engagement, and a strong extension program that partners with diverse stakeholders to bring science-based responses to social and environmental challenges.