AmeriCorps VISTA Position – University of Maryland Campus Food Systems Project

Full Time, July 2024-July 2025
College Park, MD
Applications being accepted through June 15, 2024! Please share widely!
About the Project:
At UMD, 20% of students are food insecure and lack reliable access to nutritious food (with another 21% at-risk). An estimated 8,000 UMD students not only experience hunger but also related and significant vulnerabilities and barriers to their health and wellbeing. The Campus Food Systems Education Project at the University of Maryland, College Park is a partnership between the Department of Dining Services, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, and the Coalition for Terps Essential Needs. Through existing close collaboration, these entities enhance campus and community food literacy by supporting and managing three programs, Campus Food Gardens, Terp Farm, and the Campus Pantry. The Campus Pantry serves UMD students, faculty and staff experiencing food insecurity by making free shelf-stable and refrigerated/frozen groceries available and accessible on campus. It also operates a Teaching Kitchen that offers cooking and nutrition classes for the community. The three Campus Food Gardens grow vegetables, fruits, and herbs for donation to the Pantry. They also offer lessons to campus and community members about sustainable agriculture, urban gardening, and healthy lifestyles. Terp Farm is a 5-acre sustainable vegetable operation that grows exclusively for UMD Dining Services, including donating to the Pantry. All of these spaces support learning and employment opportunities for UMD students. 
About the Position:
The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA member will support three main goals to foster a Hunger-Free UMD: 1) build capacity for the Campus Food Gardens and Terp Farm to support campus and community food security, 2) build capacity for the Campus Pantry Teaching Kitchen to offer comprehensive learning opportunities, and 3) expand food literacy both on and off-campus through student and youth empowerment. 
The VISTA member will spend their time between the UMD Campus Pantry, Terp Farm, and the three Campus Food Gardens in order to facilitate fresh produce harvest deliveries to the Pantry, as well as gardening, cooking, and nutrition education at the Pantry’s Teaching Kitchen. This is a very active position with an exciting diversity of tasks that are visible on the University of Maryland, College Park campus and in collaboration with off-campus partners working to alleviate poverty and increase community food security. On a day-to-day basis, the VISTA member will serve under the co-supervision of the Green Dining Manager and the Campus Food Gardens Manager, who work in close partnership. At the end of the project, the VISTA member will have established a Campus Food System Education program, training modules, and organizational structure to coordinate between the UMD Campus Food Gardens, Terp Farm, and UMD Campus Pantry.
Specific Responsibilities Include:
  • Identify and work with the student groups and supporting departments to develop infrastructure for volunteer and intern programs, a student training initiative, and coordinated produce donation programs

  • Launch an integrated teaching calendar leveraging the expertise of the Coalition for Terps Essential Needs and other partner organizations to offer extracurricular and hands-on learning opportunities regarding food, gardening, and cooking utilizing the Campus Food Gardens and the Campus Pantry Teaching Kitchen

  • Develop an assessment tool to be used to track and evaluate the educational programs offered

  • Review existing Campus Food System Education Project partnerships within and beyond UMD and streamline a system for onboarding and evaluating new partnerships

  • Lead normal operations of a produce hub for the Capital Area Food Bank at the Campus Pantry

  • Work to secure long-term resources for the Campus Pantry, Campus Food Gardens, and Terp Farm

  • Empower students, specifically low-income adult students, to take a lead role in project efforts

  • Meet with and gather feedback from stakeholders on campus and in the community

  • Assess the project as it happens and be able to make adaptations and corrections as needed

  • Participate as an active member of the UMD Campus Pantry team

Required Qualifications:
  • Associate’s Degree, Certificate of Applied Agriculture, or equivalent education
  • Valid driver’s license (with a maximum of five points)
  • Good people skills and be able to communicate well both verbally and in writing
  • Self-starter with strong analytical skills and attention to detail
  • Ability and willingness to work outside in all weather conditions from rainy days to high summer heat
  • Familiarity with vegetable gardening, food service, food safety, nutrition, emergency food, and social justice issues is important
  • A commitment to inclusion and experience working with diverse populations, including people of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ individuals is essential
  • Experience working with sustainable agriculture, culinary workshops, project management, marketing, nonprofit agencies, and/or technology preferred

This is a 12-month Transform Mid Atlantic (TMA) AmeriCorps VISTA position that begins in July 2024. The monthly stipend for this VISTA position is approximately $2,075. Upon completing the 12-months of service, the person in this position can choose to receive either an education award worth $7,395 to pay for further education, or $1,800 cash. Additional benefits include:


Applications being accepted through June 15, 2024. Submit the online application at https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do?fromSearch=true&id=122600.
Contact Larry Tumlin, Green Dining Manager, at lwtumlin@umd.edu or (240) 305-6485
Or Meredith Epstein, Garden Manager, at mbepste@umd.edu or (301) 405-4690


The University of Maryland, an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action; all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment. The University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, protected veteran status, age, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, creed, marital status, political affiliation, personal appearance, or on the basis of rights secured by the First Amendment, in all aspects of employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.