Local Food Production Manager

OPEN IMMEDIATELY: Local Food Production Manager

We’re looking for the right mix of production and management skills to add to our Farm-to-Institution social enterprise, Just Cut!

A Just Cut team member processing local cabbage at the Vermont Food Venture Center in Hardwick, Vermont
A Just Cut team member processing local cabbage at the Vermont Food Venture Center in Hardwick, Vermont

Just Cut is a social enterprise of the Center for Agricultural Economy and an essential connection between food growers and buyers that operates out of one of the Vermont Food Venture Center’s (VFVC) commercial kitchens. We purchase, inspect, wash, prepare (by hand and machine) and deliver Vermont-grown produce to kitchens both large and small. By partnering with local farmers, food buyers across New England, and a regional delivery network, we help ensure the viability of Vermont’s working landscapes and provide greater accessibility of high-quality produce to all markets. Just Cut’s highest aspiration is to show that a conscious, conscientious supply chain is possible - one that strives to do well by all food system participants, from the land to the farmer to the processor to the consumer.

Just Cut emphasizes authenticity, value, and efficiency in your selling or buying experience. We help foster a deeper understanding of your important place in the success of our regional food system. We make it easy for buyers to support local farmers while offering peak taste, freshness, and nutrition in prepared meals. When you choose Just Cut, you are investing in the health and well-being of the people who grow your food and the people who eat your food.  

If you know food safety, have a background in industrial kitchen-work, have strong leadership qualities, and have an active interest in our local food system, farms, and community, we’d love to hear from you! 

Summary of Position:

Position: Local Food PRODUCTION MANAGER 

Reports to: Just Cut Program Manager and VFVC Facilities Manager 

Full-time: 40 hours/week. Hourly Compensation: Minimum $22.00/hr, dependent on experience, and CAE’s benefits package   

The Local Food Production Manager role is a critical position for the aggregation, processing, and distribution of ready-to-use local and regional produce products for institutional and bulk buyers. Operating within a shared-use kitchen poses logistical and food safety challenges that require consistent attention to detail. The primary goals of the program are to provide farmers with new markets, and consistently provide institutions with high quality local processed products. An emphasis is placed on buyers that feed food insecure individuals (schools, hospitals and colleges). This position will work directly with:

  • CAE’s Just Cut Kitchen Production Team 
  • Just Cut Program Manager
  • Facilities Manager 
  • Executive Director 

The position is full-time (40 hours/week) and is primarily expected to be in the VFVC facility during production days. The Production Manager must be able to work long hours on their feet and consistently move 25-50 lbs at a time and be comfortable maintaining and updating digital production documents. This role holds responsibility for the satisfactory completion of the following production and logistical tasks with the Production Team: 

Employee Responsibilities: 

  • Lead the production planning process on site, working with the Program Manager and Facilities Manager to:  
    • Balance schedule requirements with production capacity - assess and adjust labor as needed
    • Create production sheet with produce usage estimates/yields, lot tracking documentation, packing sheets, and BOLs & purchase orders
  • Manage Production Team schedule and logistics
    • Oversee team hours on an ongoing basis and approve timesheets each pay period
    • Plan and facilitate team meetings and check-ins
    • Ensure team productivity and safety, both environmental and health-wise
  • Oversee the aggregation, preparation, packaging, and shipment of weekly Just Cut product orders 
    • Track and manage processed inventory
    • Create and delegate production efficiencies in order to meet pricing benchmarks
    • Manage quality control – shelf life testing, R&D, samples, storage and waste/donations – in conjunction with Program Manager and Facilities Manager 
    • Address and communicate any irregularities during production directly to  Facilities Manager and Program Manager
    • Identify solutions if issues arise in which product quality was jeopardized or no longer safe for consumption
    • Create and print labels, pack cases clearly and accurately for pick-up by distributor
    • Train, monitor, and educate all crew members on proper food safety practices, working ergonomics, and production timing efficiencies
  • Track and manage raw produce and materials inventory
    • Procure and manage the raw product supplies with Program Manager, ensuring that deliveries and supplies are appropriate for the program needs and sales goals
    • Coordinate with Facilities Manager to schedule and plan for shipping space and pallets
    • Manage quality control – product specs, ensure proper quantities of ordered produce, storage and packaging requirements 
    • Receive raw product and problem solve crop deliveries as needed  
    • Coordinate incoming and outgoing produce with attention to receiving, record-keeping, and food safety protocols
  • Work with Program Manager to adjust sales goals to optimize production capacity
    • Provide regular and timely feedback on production status against orders & schedules
    • Track COGs and production report; update records with input/output
    • Work with Program Manager to develop sales goals and R&D products, which, in turn, increase relationships with institutions that further the program goals
  • Support ongoing maintenance and logistics of the VFVC facility with Facilities Manager 
    • Schedule and delegate facility sanitation and equipment maintenance routines in coordination 
    • Assess weekly and monthly needs to keep facility sanitation checklists current
    • Track and delegate sanitation tasks in coordination with Production Team
    • Monitor health and plan preventative maintenance for Just Cut Processing Equipment
    • Review and implement the Just Cut Food Safety Plan that needs to be in compliance with third-party auditing standards

The Center for an Agricultural Economy (CAE) is a not-for-profit organization, which works to build a local, healthy, regenerative food system in the greater Hardwick area and beyond. Through education, outreach, infrastructure, and technical services, the CAE uses partnership and collaboration to achieve a food system that can support working lands and working people. The CAE owns and operates the Vermont Food Venture Center, a food-processing facility, food business incubator, and regional food hub. The VFVC serves small food businesses, farmers and large scale vegetable and fruit producers, as well as our community members.

Building community leadership, investing in relationships, and listening to the needs of the community are core principles CAE applies to all of our work. We encourage anyone interested in this position to reach out with any questions they may have before applying. CAE strives to foster an inclusive and supportive staff culture where ongoing learning and growth are supported. This includes ongoing team learning around antiracism and equity in our personal and professional lives.   

Please send your resume, and a letter of interest to Lotty Roozekrans, Just Cut Program Manager, with the subject line: Local Food Production Manager. jobs@hardwickagriculture.org Position finalists will be asked to provide three professional references. )

Learn more about Just Cut, in these short films by Elizabeth Rossano.