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									JOB DESCRIPTION: Head Grower, Parkhall and Bentilee


Urbivore’s Head Grower will play a key leadership and management role in establishing and managing a 20
acre market garden at the old golf course at Parkhall, Stoke on-Trent. As well as providing effective
horticultural supervision and hands-on growing, the Head Grower will oversee all aspects of sales and local
marketing to wholesale customers, through local markets and a box scheme. They will organise and supervise
a small number of apprentices, larger cohorts of up to a dozen seasonal interns with their growing buddies,
and regular volunteers, building their knowledge, skills and capacity in the process. The Head Grower will join a
small entrepreneurial team committed to building an ambitious new model of urban agriculture and
demonstrating its contribution to economic and social development in one of Britain’s most disadvantaged
communities. As such, they will exercise a mature approach to delivering day-to-day objectives efficiently
while planning annual and longer-term developments. They will take a great deal of ownership of the project
and we hope they will experience it as one of the most rewarding challenges of their working life.


The Head Grower works with a large degree of freedom and day-to-day independence, but is directly
accountable to the CEO and regularly reports to the Parkhall Steering Group and Urbivore’s Trustees.

The Head Grower is assisted by Urbivore’s Administrator, particularly in ordering supplies, booking in staffing
rotas, taking orders and updating distribution schedules, managing customer relations, keeping records and
organising meetings. The Academy Manager has overall responsibility for the learning and support programme
for apprentices, interns and volunteers. Urbivore’s Learning and Improvement Manager designs and facilitates
the performance, improvement and innovation programme. The central team also supports marketing
strategy and collateral, fundraising and development. The person in this role also has access to Urbivore’s
advisors for technical input. They are fully supported by the CEO, particularly in planning, evaluation and sales
and marketing.

In time, it is hoped they enjoy access to peers running market gardens in other cities.


This post is initially offered at a salary of £24,000 pa for the first two years, with a 6% pension contribution.
Once the venture is established, the role is to attract a performance-based bonus related to sales.

Hours of work are typically 40hrs/week, with more in peak seasons as needed. In agreement with Urbivore’s
CEO, hours may be reduced at less demanding times of the year. This is a permanent role.

The post is based at the old golf course at Parkhall, bordering the Bentilee housing estate, to the south of

The postholder is entitled to 4 weeks paid annual leave, which must generally be taken out of season.

The postholder is actively supported in their continued professional development.

This role is subject to enhanced CRB disclosure.

                                                                                              Last updated 0213
JOB DESCRIPTION: Head Grower, Parkhall and Bentilee


Marketing and sales of produce

       Develop a real working knowledge of local wholesale, retail and home delivery markets, and a
        consumer-oriented approach to product and service development tailored to local variations.
        Implement market intelligence-gathering processes so that growing and sales plans can be developed
        based on sound evidence of demand and a robust sales pipeline.
       Create and sustain a sales-oriented culture and practice, facilitating a whole-team approach to
        achieving targets. Balance realism with confidence and boldness in winning and expanding audiences
        for produce. Deliver disciplined weekly and monthly routines around analysis of sales and marketing
        and a very responsive approach to adaptations where needed.
       Supervise and undertake all aspects of retail and distribution, confirming cropping schedules, washing
        if needed, storage and packing for box scheme, wholesale and retail outlets, quality assurance,
        distrubution schedules, stock management, daily records maintenance and cashing up. Prepare
        market rotas, supervise merchandising and ensure Urbivore’s produce is consistently well-presented,
        and manage all pitches and relationships with managers and inspectors.
       Work with Urbivore’s CEO to develop marketing and sales strategies, including incentives and loyalty
        schemes combining behaviour change around health and sustainability as well as purchases, and
        oversee their implementation. Directly manage large lot customer relationships. Review marketing
        and sales weekly.
       To the extent thtat it’s possible, support Urivore’s contribution to strengthened local food systems eg
        through participation in the design and implementation of city-wide food and health strategies, or co-
        operative approaches to improving market access for small producers.

Horticultural planning and management

       Prepare plans for the long-term optimisation of the Parkhall site, to achieve planned developments
        and targets around growing space, livestock and production, but also make the most of other
        oportunities to further Urbivore’s environmental and social aims. Work jointly with Urbivore’s
        development team to test and support the introduction of new farm enterprises, programmes or
       Prepare and monitor multi-year rotations in keeping with organic good practice and accreditation
        requirements. Similarly, set out plans for soil improvement in line with planned cultivation and
        expansion of growing spaces over five years, together with detailed annual opreating plans; apply
        best practice in managing nutirent acessibility and resilience to weather, pests and diseases. Develop
        soil management plans within a broader context of natural resource management plans, with the aim
        of cycling plant materials, water, animal and other farm waste, packaging and power, and working
        towards self-sufficiency. Gain annual approval from Stoke City Council for the introduction of any soil
        inputs or improvers, via the annual plan.
       Based on knowledge of local markets, ground conditions and staff and volunter capacity, prepare
        comprehensive growing plans that optimise the use of space and resources, mapping varieties,
        allocation of space including best use of polytunnels, inputs, key tasks, labour requirements, volumes
        projected and actual, intended market, month by month.
       Compile and manage robust farm-based risk management procedures.
       Prepare and manage farm budgets, complying with all Urbivore finanical policies and working with
        the accountant to produce accurate monthly management accounts in a timely way. Train and
        supervise staff, particularly the Administrator, in completing produce inventories, sales records etc
        daily. Review accounts monthly with Urbivore’s CEO, and quarterly with the Parkhall Steering Group
        and Urbivore’s trustees.

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JOB DESCRIPTION: Head Grower, Parkhall and Bentilee

       Prepare annual maintenance plans covering site, structures and fittings, vehicles, power and
        handtools, and all other equipment. Ensure Urbivore’s obligations as tenant are met, escalating
        problems immediately, also that Health and Safety requirements regarding training, equipment and
        supervision are observed at all times. Review need for PAT testing on eletrical equipment annually,
        and as needed if cause for concern. Present plans to Finance and Audit Committee and supervise their
       Serve as an effective face and advocate of the organisation, presenting a warm and welcoming
        presence, representing Urbivore with felicity to local communities and stakeholders, promoting
        apprentices and interns among local – especially trade - employers, exercising an authoritive voice in
        the fields of sustainable food and farming.

Food production

       Supervise preparation, procurement and use of soil improvers and protection including nutrient catch
        crops, intercropping, alley cropping, wood chip, compost, leaf mould compost, green manures,
        mulches and livestock rotations. After establishment, use soil testing appropriately in-season to
        inform applicaitons. Manage relationship wtih EPIC Housing and their grounds maintenance
        contractor for delivery of grass cuttings; also relationship with the Parkhall parks team and use of
        surplus wood chip from the Country Park.
       Take a proactive approach to integrated pest management and weed control.
       Supervise and undertake all aspects of food growing and production, to include current plans for
        mixed horticulture, herbs, soft and top fruit, nuts, eggs/poultry, and sheep, but also adapations and
        new developments. Manage all stages of production, including bed preparation, sowing, propagating,
        irrigation, maintenance, weeding, pest and disease management, harvesting, clearing and disposing
        of plant material.
       Responsible for day to day management and maintenance of the site. Manage relationship with
        Parkhall Parks Team to co-ordinate activities, events and marketing that have a bearing on one
        another. Look for synergies and opportunities to achieve more by working together where objectives
        are shared. Open up and lock down workshop and grounds daily. Observe badger sensitivity zone,
        manage healthland habitat. Cut back herbaceous growth bordering permissive paths regularly in

Management and supervision of production staff, apprentices and volunteers

       Support planning of human resource provision and management by Academy Manager, contributing
        to work programmes for staff, apprentices, interns and volunteers, as appropriate. Underpin with
        monthly/weekly rotas and effective systems for briefing, monitoring and providing feedback on
        individuals' and teams' work. Contibute to building the leadership capacity of motivated individuals to
        share in functional or team management/co-ordination; expect to refresh to create a sustainable
        workforce strategy.
       With relation to horticulture and trade, guide and supervise apprentices, interns, buddies and
        Volunteer Associates in keeping with Urbivore's programme objectives and principles eg model
        commerical standards and expectations, provide proportionate knowledge, instruction and
        demonstration as part of briefings, provide regular feedback and share professional knowledge as
        part of Q&As in debriefs, increase responsibilities in line with individuals' experience and aspirations.
       Provide supplementary, ad hoc support to the Assistant Chef and their apprentice as needed (they
        receive regular supervision from catering and retail specialists, and the CEO) ie act as a sounding
        board for day to day issues.
       Maintain excellent working relationships with Urbivore's Academy Manager, particularly around
        beneficiary involvement and site use.

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JOB DESCRIPTION: Head Grower, Parkhall and Bentilee

Performance, improvement and innovation

      Support the implement Urbivore's customer feedback and complaints procedure as needed.
      Ensure, to the extent it is possible, that operations apply and extend good practice in terms of
       horticulture and sustainability, and comply with all regulatory requirements, including but not limited
       to DEFRA, Evironmental Health, Food and Trading Standards, Health and Safety, and DVLA
       regulations. Assess the case for organic accreditation, and if appropriate, develop farm management
       practices in line with chosen framework and maintain accreditation.
      Participate in bi/weekly meetings with the CEO to supervise and monitor performance, co-ordinate
       activities, resolve issues and plan together.
      Promote Urbivore's collaborative approach to the way you organise and involve staff, apprentices,
       volunteers and beneficiaries, review and improve the ways we work, and make plans and decisions.
       Play a key facilitating role in our annual strategic review.
      Contibute to Urbivore's impact monitoring and evaluation as required.
      Attend the Parkhall Steering Group and Board meetings.
      Support Urbivore’s development team in identifying opportunities to experiment and evaluate new
       ways of working, alongside commerical activity – resources permitting.
      Develop your own knowledge in relation to the requirements of marketing gardening at Parkhall,
       participating in study groups as appropriate.
      Be willing to adopt different tasks and adjust this job description from time to time as the needs of
       the business evolve.

                                                                                           Last updated 0213
JOB DESCRIPTION: Head Grower, Parkhall and Bentilee


Knowledge and experience

Suitable candidates for this role will be adept productive horticulturalists and managers with a minimum of
10yrs experience in a commercial setting. Accountable for results, with evident leadership capability, they will
be able to demonstrate competence and enthusiasm for the intellectual and planning aspects of market
gardening and the practical and physical, and larger part of the role. If they have not directly applied organic
methods, they will show a knowledge and enthusiasm for them and be willing to learn quickly.

They will be commercially astute, recognising the key role of sales and marketing to a successful venture, and
they will be as confident and capable in front of a vegetable buyer at a well-known multiple or wholesaler, as
in front of customers at a market stall. They will have a track record of achieving and increasing sales.
Candidates will have been venture or departmental budget holders in previous roles, and be well-versed in the
day-to-day financial management of a busy business.

Managing people plays a bigger and critical role in Urbivore’s market gardens, and the successful candidate for
Head Grower will be at ease and command respect from a wide range of people in a wide range of roles. They
will have experience of using a diverse set of approaches to variously motivate, direct, support and manage
people, as well as resolve difficulties. Experience of supervising training for new entrants to horticulture and
providing career guidance is welcome.

They are likely to be trained at a post-graduate level in a related subject, or to have a good quality first degree
and significant post-graduate learning and demonstrable professional development. Qualifications will ideally
incorporate RHS Level 3 Horticulture or equivalent, but proven practical application will be given far greater
weight. Candidates will operate in an excellent professional network. They will be accredited to drive tractors
and operate power tools as necessary.

Previous employers of suitable candidates will be able to rank them in the top quartile of their peer group.

Attributes and capabilities

Fundamentally, you will share Urbivore’s values and sense of social and environmental mission, and these will
guide you when making judgements and decisions.

You will be as obsessed with sustainable nutrition, food and farming as we are! Geekishly well-informed.
Analytic and reflective, you will enjoy drawing on a complex knowledge base, drawing relevant conclusions
and enjoy observing feedback on the ground – all in the pursuit of the right solution to the circumstances.

An optimistic and resilient personality, you will be effective at managing self. You will be able to empathise
with people, particularly residents of Bentilee living with long-term disadvantage, and capable of switching
registers in order to effectively set tone and direction, and ensure individuals and groups work well to achieve
a range of tasks.

You will be able to produce documents to a high standard, using Word, Excel, and occasionally, Power Point,
and have excellent verbal communications skills. You may be familiar with tracking software to help manage
growing and sales plans, and have a rudimentary knowledge of Sage accounting software.

You will be confident and happy to work openly and transparently, inviting the most effective contributions
from people across the organisation and being accountable for your own actions. You will welcome a robust
approach to the use of data to prove and improve performance.

The successful candidate will work quickly, with a pronounced work ethic, and be physically fit for the job.

                                                                                               Last updated 0213

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