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Property Manager and Director of Agricultural and Naturalist Operations Posted Feb 18
The Uplands Center , Walton, NY
 
Property Manager and Director of Agricultural and Naturalist Operations
The Uplands Center, Walton, NY

The Uplands Center is seeking an enterprising individual or couple to develop and manage agricultural and naturalist operations on a unique 290-acre property located in the sweeping hills and farmland of the western Catskills. The Center, a not for profit foundation entering its second year of operation, hosts retreats for groups seeking renewal, learning, and growth. Its mission is (1) to empower social entrepreneurs by providing a dynamic setting for innovative program design, co-creation, and brainstorming and (2) to provide restorative care to those who serve others, including first responders, health care providers, educators, and leaders of social service organizations that provide direct service to individuals in need. Restorative modalities offered on site include yoga, meditation, emotion self-regulation and self-care techniques, expressive arts, massage therapy, equine therapy, nature experiences, sauna, indoor swimming activities, and more.

Central to The Uplands’ culture is the high value placed on the interconnectedness of all life: plant, animal, and human. The Director will play a critical role in designing and overseeing operations that serve this value. While the position is specifically designed for an individual or couple who will bring their own creative spirit to the venture, responsibilities will include (1) serving as overall property manager and caretaker of the three residences and three barns located on the property, (2) working with the co-executive directors to support the overall administration of The Center’s operation, (3) planning and cultivating a 1/3rd acre organic homestead farm, and (4) managing relationships with local agricultural institutions and colleges with which The Center is forging partnerships to provide interns and other programming.

Position Title
Property Manager and Director of Agricultural and Naturalist Operations

The Property
Located in the foothills of the western Catskill Mountains, the property consists of two adjoining former dairy farms that date back to the late 1700s. The rolling landscape offers stunning views in three directions, numerous trails ideal for hiking and, in the winter, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The Center’s diverse ecosystem includes 290 acres of meadows, forests, marshes, streams, and ponds. Currently, approximately 1/3rd of the fields are hayed annually by a local farmer for livestock feed and the balance are brush hogged, typically twice per year. The land offers numerous sites appropriate for camping, platform tents, and outdoor education activities, some of which are in active contemplation. (Interest in such activities would be considered a “plus.”)

At present, the property includes two farmhouses, several classic red barns, and a retreat facility/residence, which features a yoga and art studio and an indoor pool, sauna, and hot tub. One of the farmhouses has been fully restored and sleeps as many as 10 retreat participants. The second, regrettably, cannot be brought back to use due to structural issues and is scheduled to be demolished this spring. Also this spring, a new house will be constructed in its place and will be made available rent-free to the Director(s) and their children (if any).

Individual or Couple
A unique feature of the position is that it is open to either an individual or a couple, with salary and job responsibilities to be determined accordingly. Because the position includes a rent-free home with room for a family, it may be particularly attractive to a couple interested in seeking to build a life together centered around agricultural endeavors. However, all qualified applicants, whether an individual or a couple, are encouraged to apply.

Responsibilities
● Planning, planting, maintenance, and harvest of a new 1/3rd-acre homestead farm, intended to supply organic produce for retreats as well as for local food pantries
● Custodial care of farm machines, tools, irrigation, and garden appurtenances
● Oversight of three on-site residences
● General administrative support to the co-executive directors in organizing and implementing retreat programming
● Coordination with university liaisons regarding college interns for various therapeutic programs (equine, canine, agriculture, and nature awareness)
● Coordination and supervision of living arrangements and work schedules for interns
● Coordination and supervision of meadow maintenance and hay mowing contracts as well as landscape and flower garden maintenance contracts
● Coordination and supervision of repair and maintenance of infrastructure and utilities by contracted professionals (solar, irrigation, utilities, etc.)
● Effectively representing The Center at local town and community meetings

Work Hours
● Daily work hours are project dependent and self-directed. More outdoor work time is expected in the farming season (May to September).
● The Director(s) will be expected to assist with programming during the weekends when retreats are held on site (approximately 15 per year).

Qualifications
Essential Work Experience:
● Organic vegetable farming experience preferably at a management level
● Staff management experience
● Evidence of entrepreneurial initiative especially related to agriculture and other nature-centered activities
● Demonstrated interest in equine, canine, or other animal operations
Skills and Abilities
● Knowledge of organic vegetable gardening and pest management techniques
● Competency with the use of farm implements, shop tools, and machines
● Detail oriented task organization and time management skills
● Comfort with working outdoors in all seasons
● A collaborative spirit with a willingness to accept guidance and learn from others
● Strength in both oral and written communication
● Basic computer competency, comfort with various social media, and interest in learning new agricultural planning software such as TEND
● Love of animals and an interest in developing skills for their care, particularly horses and dogs
● A creative spirit interested in exploring the extraordinary potential of the property

Compensation
● Competitive salary commensurate with experience
● Rent-free living quarters with utility allowance (A new three-bedroom house is expected to be ready for occupancy by summer 2019. Provisional housing is available immediately.)
● An allowance for farm supplies and equipment
● Health insurance under The Uplands Center’s Oxford Insurance Plan
● Produce from on-site organic vegetable garden

Additional Opportunities
The Director is encouraged to propose other agricultural pursuits or value-added product development using The Uplands Center’s land assets. Ventures can involve additional or specialty crops or live animals such as bees, chickens, goats, sheep, or llamas. (The Uplands does not raise animals as food.) A fiscal relationship with The Uplands Center associated with income derived from such activities can be negotiated after a review of the venture’s business plan.

Apply Now!
Email a resume and letter of interest to Chris Cerf and Ann Rasmussen at

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