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Community alliance with family farmers: Wildfire resilience program

Davis, CA

https://caff.org/wildfire-resilience-program/ 

Wildfire and Agriculture Programs Support Fellow

Desired Skills/Traits:

Desired education/experience:

  • Background experience and/or formal education in sustainable agriculture and/or forestry and fires which may include coursework/ knowledge in ecology, soil and plant sciences, agronomy, agroecology, organic agriculture, integrated pest management, emergency response and incident command systems, etc. 

  • Education in collecting and/or analyzing agricultural or environmental data would also be helpful. 

  • Clear communication and writing skills are a plus. 

  • This position will interact with a variety of stakeholders, partners, and staff from varied cultures, economic standing, and languages, etc., so the Fellow should be comfortable connecting with different target audiences.

Primary skills: 

  • Fellow needs to be able to conduct research independently (e.g. locating articles relevant to projects, organizing and analyzing data, summarizing key takeaways, and identifying trends, etc.), be organized and able to prioritize shifting tasks. Having the ability to communicate effectively in one-on-one settings and in groups is important, as is feeling comfortable to ask questions and make suggestions.

Additional skills or experience: 

  • Additional language skills such as the ability to read and/or write in Spanish, Vietnamese, etc, which can help improve the scope and quality of resource creation and delivery to underserved farmers and ag communities. 

  • If the Fellow has direct wildfire and/or disaster experience, that helps with understanding the realities and trauma of survivors. 

  • Technical and design skills (for creating resources, mapping projects, etc.)

Openings: 0 of 1

spot fire training.jpg
Focus Area: Agriculture/Fire

Climate Mitigation & Adaptation; Ecological Forestry; Education & Outreach; Fire Preparedness & Management; Food Systems; Regenerative Agriculture; Watershed Management

project breakdown

Research

35%

Planning

25%

Implementation

15%

Education & Outreach

25%

Goals & Needs

CAFF has been working for 45 years to build sustainable food and farming systems that benefit family farmers, communities and ecosystems. We have programs in four main areas: Farmer Services, Farm to Market, Policy Advocacy and Ecological Farming. Our Wildfire Resilience Program is a new part of our Farmer Services Department. CAFF’s wildfire work started informally in 2017 in response to the need to support farmers in the North Bay region as they were responding to catastrophic wildfires and suffering significant losses and negative impacts. Since then, we have expanded our Emergency Fund efforts and online preparedness and recovery resources. The Wildfire Resilience Specialist position, with support from a Grizzly Corps Fellow from the 22/23 cohort, has expanded upon the resources available to agricultural operators through various mediums (podcasts, videos, factsheets), conducted in-person events such as town halls and field days where growers learn from each other about best practices to prepare their farm, and continue to run the Emergency Fund. A typical week for the Fellow would involve meeting with CAFF staff, partners, vendors, and contractors to help coordinate resource development, organizing field day and town hall events, attending relevant trainings (remote and/or in person), and assisting with communications to stakeholder groups, advisory council and subcommittee members and collaborations with partner orgs like CalCAN, Farmer Campus, RCD’s, etc. There will be a significant amount of time spent helping develop new educational and programmatic related resources, supporting literature collection and review of wildfire and agriculture related research and traditional ecological knowledge, and identifying possible Wildfire program funding opportunities/grants and/or helping with emergency fund application review and processing. There will also be several opportunities to interact with growers directly through community engagement events like the Small Farms Conference Regional Gathering, etc. There will also be opportunities to participate in CAFF Wildfire Advisory Committee meetings as well as meetings with collaborating organizations. This Grizzly Corps position will contribute towards helping farmers in California, particularly small-scale and underserved farmers, adapt, respond to, and prepare for wildfires so that their farms can be as resilient as possible. Farmers are part of the foundational fabric of a community, especially during disasters. Supply chains are disrupted and local farmers are able to feed people when traditional systems fail. This Grizzly Corps position will significantly improve local community resilience by helping identify gaps, expand program access and support, and guide farmers in becoming more resilient during wildfire events.

Capacity Building Projects

The Fellow will work primarily on wildfire preparedness for the new program, which CAFF is continuing to refine after recently completing its first year. This consists of several components:

 

Firstly, the Fellow will work with the Wildfire Specialist to identify relevant, high quality data and information/traditional ecological knowledge as it pertains to the intersection of wildfire impacts on agriculture and small farming operations and needs. A specific example of this would be working with tribal groups to gather and organize information on cultural burning practices for the purpose of increased ecosystem resilience, soil health, nutrient release/management. They would use this information to identify and share out via town halls, online webinars and field days, the implications of certain practices or methods for agricultural operations and land stewardship/natural resource goals.

 

Secondly, the Fellow will assist with gathering information and research as it relates to the recovery needs expressed by farmers that have experienced direct wildfire impacts, such as toxic ash remediation with fungi. Some examples of this are helping CAFF and project partners find more effective and appropriate ways to support farmers in navigating the gaps in fire insurance coverage for high risk regions, improving advocacy efforts on behalf of small farmer needs, providing technical assistance for emergency funding access and application processes, and developing materials which guide farmers with cost-share recovery funding programs, etc. 

 

The Fellow would also support cross-programmatic work to serve farmers as they work to build resilience to wildfire as well as recover and regenerate after experiencing wildfire. Each of these roles will help with growing the stakeholder network CAFF is building across the state, and it will improve farmer access to support and learning opportunities around wildfire resilience.

Organizational & Community Highlights

CAFF is a values driven organization; CAFF values are ecological stewardship, justice and equity, practical solutions, economic fairness, centering farmers and strong local communities. The staff are strongly committed to the mission we are serving -- to build sustainable food and farming systems through policy advocacy and on-the-ground programs that create more resilient family farms, communities, and ecosystems. While CAFF staff work primarily within teams to carry out  programs and projects, there are frequent opportunities to connect across the organization through weekly meetings, organizational initiatives and collaborations across multiple programs. The culture at CAFF is one of friendliness and good humor and encourages a healthy work-life balance. People at CAFF are working on things they care about while finding time to connect with others. CAFF encourages creativity in problem solving, collaboration and regular reflection on whether the work is in alignment with our values and meeting the needs of the community. As such, it's a great place to work on professional development. CAFF is based in Davis and is located at the beautiful TS Glide Ranch, about 5 miles out of town. Davis is surrounded by agriculture and is also a university town (UC Davis), which makes for an engaging community, especially for folks interested in ag. Davis is a very safe, friendly, and very bike-friendly town. Davis is also very close (about 14 miles) to Sacramento, which is America's Farm to Fork capital and a multicultural hub. 

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