Organic Gardens Coordinator

(To be read in conjunction with the Background Information and Selection Procedure that gives additional information about working and living at Sunseed)

This role will begin as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

Background

The project is set in a small, past abandoned village in one of the driest parts of Europe, having less than 300mm of rain per year, and temperatures ranging from –7 to 40+. Specific techniques in horticulture are required to work the terrace system, irrigated by an irrigation channel that dates back to Moorish times. The project currently uses twelve gardens to produce a wide range of food crops such as tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, garlic, broad beans etc as well as herbs and fruit trees.

The gardens are maintained for three reasons:

  1. To provide food for the project
  2. Education and research
  3. To improve environmental integration by maximising the recycling of our waste materials.

Our gardens are run strictly according to organic principles. Careful soil management is especially important because of the type of soil (alkaline) and the effects of flood irrigation. Our soil is maintained using compost made on site and manures. No artificial chemicals are used, neither to increase fertility nor combat pests.Working in the gardens is always popular with volunteers and it is therefore important that the co-ordinator can effectively supervise volunteers at all times.

Key Responsibilities

General departmental responsibilities.

  • Running a department, advising and working with other departments in a busy project
  • Planning and monitoring a departmental budget
  • Assisting and supervising volunteers
  • Documenting work done
  • Monitoring crop yield
  • Planning work to fit in the projects general activities
  • Tool safety, instructing on proper tool use, ensuring unsafe tools are not used
  • Liaising with staff and trustees as required, including regular written reports
  • Liaising with other organic growers and organisations
  • Planning and production of vegetables and fruit on irrigated terraces
  • Using a mixture of methods such as crop rotation, companion planting, inter-cropping
  • planning sowing and transplanting times
  • preparing beds and some tree care

Greenhouse Management

  • Propagating plants under cover etc

Soil Management

  • starting and maintaining compost heaps
  • crop selection
  • mulching
  • proper irrigation techniques

Nutrient Cycling

  • managing humanure
  • storing and using urine
  • preparing liquid feeds from local plants

Pest Control

  • using organic methods for prevention and treatment

Innovation and Research

  • Trialling and developing effective gardening techniques to meet local conditions
  • co-operating with other departments to trial research projects
  • supervising innovative volunteer projects

Education and Documentation

  • Running and contributing to Sunseed courses
  • Conducting tours of the department
  • Overseeing volunteers projects
  • Maintaining up to date information
  • Production of written materials in the form of reports, leaflets, web pages, articles etc

Supervision of placement students and working visitors

  • Incorporating volunteers into the work and methodology and development of their own projects to satisfactory completion

Administration

  • Writing and supervising the production of reports, documenting larger projects, preparing projects proposals, producing literature

Inter-departmental co-operation

  • Work as a team to ensure the smooth running of Sunseed

Essential Skills

  • Experience and knowledge of all aspects of organic growing
  • Tolerance of hard physical work in hot conditions
  • Ability to lead and motivate volunteers, who range from those with a wealth of experience to those with little or none
  • Ability to work in co-operation with other departments

Desirable Skills

  • Experience of Organic Growing in a Dryland environment
  • Ability to communicate well in Spanish and English
  • Computer Literacy and clean driving license

To apply for this role: Please send an email with the subject line ‘Organic Gardens Coordinator – Sunseed staff application’ and your CV and letter of motivation stating how you meet the responsibilities of the post, to admin.coordinator@sunseed.org.uk.

Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted and the position will be appointed once a suitable candidate has been found.