Site Development Manager

The Ecological Land Cooperative (ELC) is a social enterprise based in Brighton, East Sussex. We exist to create affordable access to land for new entrants to ecological agriculture and mixed farming. Following the successful delivery of our first two sites, clusters of three ecological small farms in Mid Devon and East Sussex, we have also purchased and are in the process of developing three further sites across the South of England and Wales. We have an ambitious plan to add five more smallholding sites to our portfolio over the next four years.

We currently employ one full-time and five part-time staff, and strategic direction is led by ELC’s Board of Directors, which currently has five members who are elected at the Cooperative’s AGM. There are currently 485 members of the Cooperative.

We believe that ecological land-based livelihoods can help solve some of the most pressing environmental and social problems of our time, and we seek to marry ecological principles with sound business practice to help more people live and work on the land. This type of small-scale ecological production delivers a number of benefits including protecting the environment, building vibrant rural communities, providing employment and training, and supporting healthy diets through affordable, local produce.

Beyond this, our vision is one where land is valued and used as a means to enhance our collective good. At present, land in the UK is the target of financial speculation; in contrast, our model champions a collective, ecological and cooperative vision of land ownership and land use.

Site Development Manager - 3 days per week

This is an exciting opportunity to lead on the development of new smallholding sites for the Ecological Land Cooperative.

Recruitment Timeline

The closing date for applications is midnight on Monday 4th January 2021.

We are expecting to hold interviews on Wednesday 27th January 2021.

To apply for this role please send a copy of your most up to date CV, details for two referees and a covering letter detailing why you are a good candidate, including information on how you meet each point of the person specification to sonia@ecologicalland.coop with the email subject 'Site Development Manager' by midnight on Monday 4th January 2021. Please also complete and return the Applicant Monitoring Form (below) with your CV and cover letter.

We want to hear about your suitability for the role but if you could keep your letter down to two pages of A4 that would help us when shortlisting.

Job Description and Person Specification

The Site Development Manager is responsible for finding land for new small farms and coordinating site development in conjunction with other members of the ELC team, supported by and reporting to the Coordinator.

Hours and Remuneration

3 days (22.5 hours) per week. The post is expected to be home based with the opportunity to work flexible hours and occasional visits to Brighton to meet with colleagues.

£28,821 per annum* pro rata, actual salary for 3 days (22.5 hours) per week £17,293 per annum (£14.78 per hour) plus up to 4% matched pension contribution.
* the ELC has a flat payment structure, with all workers paid at the same rate. As soon as our organisational productivity exceeds our business plan targets, we’d like to increase the level of pay across the organisation.

Job Description

The Site Development Manager’s responsibilities include:

●    Researching, assessing and identifying potential land to be developed into ecologically managed small farm clusters, including land for sale, donations of land and any other arrangement for land acquisition that is deemed reasonable.

●    Working with the ELC board and staff team to identify site development needs and creating the ELC Site Development Strategy and workplan to ensure these needs are met.

●    Coordinating the Land Search subcommittee to bring together all those involved in considering potential land for ELC sites.

●    Presenting information on prospective sites to the ELC board for agreement on acquisition.

●    Working with the Coordinator to ensure funds are available for site purchase and infrastructure development, including detailed budget preparation, when needed.

●    Stewarding the purchasing process for new sites in conjunction with the Coordinator and other team members.

●    Providing a detailed handover of the new site for the Site Manager and working with them to begin developing the site.

●    Working with the Planning Manager, the Site Monitoring Manager and other team members to prepare and submit the planning applications for new sites.

●    Being part of the team who undertake community consultations to engage local people in the development of new sites including representing the ELC at public meetings.

●    Contributing to maintaining the ELC’s position as a leading organisation in the ecological land movement, and keeping up to date with developments in the sector by attending conferences, meetings and other events considered important.

●    Contributing to the development of the ELC’s resources for those interested in agroecology.

●    Looking for and engaging in opportunities to promote small-scale ecological farming and influence policy in this area.

●    Support the Site Monitoring Manager to carry out annual ecological and low impact farm business monitoring when required.

●    Participating in the selection process for new ecological smallholder tenants in conjunction with other members of the ELC team.

●    Preparing regular progress updates for the Coordinator and the ELC Board.

●    Supporting the work of volunteers as necessary.

●    Any other aspect of site development work considered reasonable.

●    Contributing to the work of the ELC as part of the staff team, including team meetings, strategic planning and away-days, and team-building or social events.

●    Maintaining good record keeping and filing using Google Drive and the CiviCRM database.

Person Specification

Essential Skills and Experience
●    Experience of practical land use, or agro-ecological farming.
●    Experience of working within the environmental movement or third sector.
●    Experience of the low-impact movement.
●    Familiarity with land development projects and/or experience of managing construction projects.
●    Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain professional networks.
●    A commitment to working cooperatively.
●    Commitment to the aims and objectives of the ELC.
●    Ability to travel to ELC sites across England and Wales.    

Desirable Skills and Experience
●    Practical building skills.
●    Familiarity with online tools such as Google Drive, Slack and CiviCRM.
●    Experience of cooperative management and inclusive decision making.
●    Experience or an understanding of the challenges of working remotely.
●    Experience of working as part of a small and diverse team.

Nov 2020