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Peri-Urban Farming Officer

The Green House, 244-254 Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9DA

Posted: 25/11/2020

Deadline: 03/12/2020

Compensation: £18,085 gross for 3 days week (£30,141 FTE)

Paid Part-time Fixed term / contract

Job description

Gross Annual Salary: £18,085 gross for 3 days a week. This equates to £30,141 full-time equivalent. In addition, Sustain matches pension contributions up to 5% of gross salary.

Hours: 0.6 FTE / 3 days with a potential for more days subject to fundraising

Location: Role is office-based in Cambridge Heath, London. Initially remote in line with government Covid-19 guidelines. Travel within London is required, together with occasional travel outside London.

Position type: Fixed-term contract for one year with potential for extension subject to fundraising

Annual Leave: 12 days Basic Annual Leave (based on pro rata 0.6 FTE). This equates to 20 days on a full-time equivalent. Public holidays and office closures (pro rata) are on top of this. The Basic Annual Leave entitlement rises 2 days every year to a maximum limit of 25 days (pro rata).

Closing date: 12pm (midday) Thursday 3rd December 2020

Equal opportunities: Sustain is an equal opportunities employer. See our Equal Opportunities Policy.

Right to Work: Entitlement to work in the UK. You will need to hold the necessary rights/visa to work in the UK, Sustain is not able to assist with applications for work permits.

Other details: Cycle to Work scheme available on salary sacrifice basis

We actively and warmly encourage applications from people from diverse backgrounds, including from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds who are currently under-represented in our staff team. Read more about Sustain’s commitment to tackling racial injustice in the food system here:

About Sustain

We are an alliance representing around 100 national public interest organisations and hundreds more working at international, national, regional and local level. Collectively we strive for better food and farming through advocating food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity.

We operate in collaboration with our membership to:

  • Share information to strengthen the work of the membership and help promote their activities to the media and to policy makers.
  • Develop networks of members and allied organisations to devise and implement policies and practices on issues of common concern.
  • Advise and negotiate with national and local government to ensure that legislation and policies on food and agriculture are publicly accountable and socially and environmentally responsible.
  • Encourage businesses to produce, process and market foods which are good for health and the environment, and to devise, invest in and maintain policies and practices that make sustainable food choices the easy choice.

Sustain fulfils its aims is through running a multitude of different projects and campaigns to improve food and farming, with the help of our members and other supporters. They broadly fit under several themes to be set out in our new strategy due to be published in 2021, which (of course) overlap and include:

  • Sustainable food production
  • Good food economy
  • Access to healthier food for all

We pursue these through a combination of local and national action, with much success. Through our organisational plan we are also committed to improving the way we work and have set some targets for improving our communications and campaigning, increasing the diversity of our staff, trustees and supporter networks, building stronger connections with supporters and other people working for change, and upskilling our staff and the movement.

About this role

This is a new post focused on bringing together partners and wider stakeholders to explore the practical and policy challenges and opportunities for unlocking peri-urban land for agro-ecological food growing. The role will suit a creative, problem solver with an interest in both practical, opportunistic action as well as longer term policy change.  They should be confident in liaising with council officers, farmers and growers, community groups, NGOs and working across project teams and have demonstrable experience in this area.

Specifically, the postholder will deliver our new Fringe Farming project (building on this briefing) to increase access to land for peri-urban farming, especially for horticultural production linked to values-led food trading and distribution. The focus of the workplan is to meet the objectives and targets agreed with the funder, but with scope (and probably need) for adaptations and changes to this plan as the project evolves.

The postholder will work fairly independently on this project but will have the support of our Farming Campaign Coordinator, Programmes Director as well as working with external funded partners.  The role will sit within our Sustainable Farming team who work extensively on fair food supply chains and trading, agriculture policy and engagement with policy makers, and engage with other staff and teams, namely out our Capital Growth and Good to Grow urban agriculture networks and our Climate Change Coordinator. The person appointed should be able to build a genuine partnership with project partners (Shared Assets, Landworkers Alliance and three local partners) as well as engage other Sustain alliance members and allies, to build momentum around common themes and this area of work.

Tasks and responsibilities

  • Working with the project partners (Landworkers Alliance, Shared Assets and Sustainable Food Places partners) to clarify roles, timelines and actions and set up and review agreements, organising steering group and other meetings.
  • Reaching out and engaging with key stakeholders (landowners, growers, council officers, food partnership coordinators, other landowners, local growers and networks
  • etc.) in each of the four named cities (Bristol, Glasgow, London and Sheffield) and beyond.
  • Supporting Shared Assets to research and gather relevant data to inform briefings and events that build engagement.
  • Organising kick-off/ follow up events in each area to bring together key players, identify barriers and opportunities to accessing land and create/ progress action plans to get better access to peri-urban land and to get policy and decision makers on board.
  • Assisting the Land Workers Alliance to set up and run the Peri-Urban Practitioners Forum, feeding back ideas into internal and external discussions.
  • Working with partners to progress actions plans as well as taking forward specific actions to help access land in peri-urban areas, including but not limited to: following up landowning/ related leads; feeding policy issues into other forums and campaigns; developing ideas and planning campaigns, organising meetings, visits.
  • Actively identifying ways to support diverse groups through the project activities, in line with Sustain’s policy on improving diversity in the food movement, including supporting racial and socio-economic justice
  • Collating information and good practice from partners and others, and using this for writing relevant reports, briefings, or toolkits.
  • Writing blogs, news items and press releases and placing these with relevant audiences to address policy levers and barriers, raise the profile of the project and Sustain’s work in this area.
  • Contributing to newsletters, social media and identifying other ways to communicate and publicise the work of the project and partners.
  • Monitoring and evaluation of project objectives and regular reporting to Sustain, the funder, the working group and other stakeholders.

The Officer will also:

  • Contribute to the mutually supportive culture of Sustain, among the staff team, and project participants.
  • Develop spin-off or new projects, including building partnerships and contributing to further fundraising.
  • Support the maintenance of excellent financial, data and other records and reporting, to help with accountability to funders and stakeholders.
  • Manage and support volunteers and interns.

The post holder will also undertake any other responsibilities in connection with the work that may arise from time to time.

Personal Specification


  • Commitment to and experience of developing and implementing impactful work to promote sustainable food and farming
  • Commitment to diversity and building racial and socio-economic justice
  • Excellent partnership management and relationship building skills
  • Working knowledge of local government, land access and related issues
  • Understanding of the policy context, challenges and opportunities in relation to sustainable farming, land, local government and climate change
  • Some practical experience of working with farmers, growers or within the small-scale farming/growing sector
  • Good skills, confidence and diplomacy in facilitating meetings, events and workshops (ideally including virtual)
  • Self-starter, with proven ability to make things happen (ie action-focused), with a can-do/ problem-solving attitude
  • Some experience of ‘light touch’ research, data gathering and reporting to stakeholders
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, with good attention to detail including writing engaging reports, briefings and news items
  • High level of IT competency including use of email, databases and content management systems
  • Ability to work independently and solve problems creatively as well as in teams
  • Good time management and organisational skills


  • Experience of fundraising and/or generating income streams
  • Experience of managing funded projects and meeting funding requirements
  • Experience of working with and recruiting volunteers
  • Experience of producing published reports and briefings
  • Knowledge of national and local policy relating to land, planning or agriculture
  • Experience of getting press coverage or delivering communications plans.

This post is funded by Farming the Future, run by the A Team Foundation.

Application information

To apply for this position, please email the following:

  • Maximum two-page CV and a maximum two-page covering letter (telling us about your experience and how this relates to the personal specification)
  • Complete an Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form (if you wish). Please note all forms will be separated from the applications. 
  • As we are recruiting for several positions over this period, please add Peri-Urban Farming Officer to the subject line of your covering email along with your name.

Application deadline is 12pm (midday) Thursday 3rd December 2020. Interviews for this position will take place virtually (via Zoom) on week commencing 14th December 2020. Ideally we would like the successful candidate to start in January 2021.  

The Sustain alliance is a registered charity (no 1018643) and a company limited by guarantee, which is registered in England and Wales (no 02673194). Registered office: The Green House, 244 – 254 Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9DA

Please mention Roots to Work when applying for these jobs

About Sustain

Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity. We represent around 100 national public interest organisations working at international, national, regional and local level.