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Urban Farm Landscape Manager

Northern Roots

Posted: 12 May 2022

Deadline: 5 Jun 2022

Compensation: £34,000 (24 month fixed term with potential for extension, subject to funding)

Paid Full-time Fixed term / contract

Job description

This is an exciting opportunity to join the Northern Roots charity. Northern Roots is transforming 160 acres of urban greenspace in the heart of Oldham into a destination for learning, leisure, nature and growing. The charity aims to benefit the environment, and to improve the health, wellbeing and livelihoods of local communities. Following three years of feasibility and development work the charity has now been established, the first phase of capital development is about to begin, and a wide range of communications, engagement and habitat enhancement activities have begun to bear fruit.

The Urban Farm & Landscape Manager will play a key role in coordinating the design and development of the Urban Farm and Market Garden at Northern Roots, while also overseeing the management, conservation, and enhancement of the biodiversity of this underutilised landscape corridor. This is a critical role for the development of Northern Roots over the next two years as we establish the new charity, further develop relationships with the local community, deliver the first phase of construction and begin to operate key facilities including a Visitor Centre, Café, Shop, Learning Studio, Market Garden and Mountain Bike Hub.

The successful candidate will work as part of a small project team, alongside an environmental apprentice, volunteers and Oldham Council countryside officers. The role will be very visible and you will meet members of the public on a daily basis, lead and develop volunteer opportunities and help organise and deliver a programme of works.

Job purpose

· In collaboration with partners, local communities and potential customers, to design the Northern Roots urban farm and market garden, to include cropping plans, growing techniques and technologies, operating model and business model.

· To oversee the development of phase one of the Market Garden, in time to be ready to supply initial produce to the Visitor Centre Café and Shop when they open in 2024.

· To manage the wider Northern Roots site, contributing to the development of action plans for maintenance, habitat conservation, restoration and enhancement and carrying out a programme of essential site and land management work to secure benefits for people, planet and place.

Line Management responsibilities

The post holder will be responsible for the supervision of an apprentice, volunteers and contractors, and potentially further staff as funds permit.


Urban Farm and Market Garden

1. To work with local communities and partners to design the Northern Roots urban farm and market garden, to include cropping plans, growing techniques and technologies, operating model and business model.

2. Within the allowed budget, and in compliance with planning regulations, to oversee the development of phase one of the urban farm and market garden, potentially to include the creation of growing beds, orchards and forest gardens, and the installation of polytunnels, greenhouses and containers.

3. In partnership with local communities and partners, to initiate the production of a range of vegetables, fruit, salads, herbs, saplings and ornamentals. To explore the production of some poultry on the site.

4. To supervise and support licensees growing edibles and ornamentals on site.

5. To oversee all aspects of crop production and future crop planning - ground preparation, sowing, weeding, harvesting, packing and storage of produce.

6. To work with licensees and partners to develop customers and routes to market for produce with a view to creating a financially self-sustaining operating model.

Landscape Management

1. To help further design, develop and deliver the Northern Roots site management plans and work programmes, building on feasibility studies and initial site works conducted over the last three years. These will incorporate essential project work and whole site management.

2. To facilitate specialist survey work and develop action plans for priority species and habitats. To develop and implement management plans for funds secured through Biodiversity Net Gain and ELMs payments.

3. To manage contractors, and site works as appropriate.

4. To act as the principal point of contact for all on–site problems and issues, and to work with the relevant OMBC environmental services officers/agencies to deal with them as they arise.

5. Facilitate the enjoyment of the site by the public by assisting in the planning, development and maintenance of footpaths, car parks, signage and other visitor infrastructure.

6. To assist in raising the strategic profile of Northern Roots, within the planning and policy framework of the local Council and GMCA, to ensure the landscape contributes to the delivery and development of Greater Manchester’s wider social, economic and environmental strategic aims.

Community Engagement

1. To engage, involve and inspire the local community in the site’s ongoing development, delivering a programme of practical and creative volunteer tasks and work placements, to include community groups, schools, social prescribing groups and local businesses. To work with colleagues to ensure that local communities and partners are integral to the design, delivery and management of the urban farm.

2. To work with colleagues to raise the profile of Northern Roots in the media and with the public, raising awareness of conservation objectives and showcasing seasonal wildlife highlights through social media, events and guided walks.

3. To support projects within Northern Roots’ wider portfolio and assist team members to deliver work programmes, events and surveys as the need arises.

Standard Duties

1. Work with the Chief Executive to set and manage the Urban Farm and Landscape Management budget for Northern Roots

2. To keep records of activity and provide regular reports and updates as required.

3. To contribute to future funding bids as required, including supporting Northern Roots to qualify for emerging Environmental Funds including Biodiversity Net Gain, Carbon Banking and ELMS funding.

4. Line manage an apprentice and other staff on fixed term contracts to work on specific funded programmes and activities.

5. To be responsible for the health and safety, and safeguarding of employees, volunteers and others, ensuring that all statutory requirements are met and Charity policies adhered to.

6. To actively promote the equalities and diversity agenda in the workplace and in service delivery.

7. To undertake continuous professional development (CPD) and to be aware of new developments, legislation, initiatives, guidelines, policies and procedures, and to ensure the team are informed appropriately.

8. Undertake any additional duties commensurate with the level of the post.

Holiday entitlement: 25 days' holiday a year (excluding public holidays).

Employer Pension Contribution: 3%

Person Specification

Essential Qualifications:

Qualifications Diploma/NVQ3 or higher in countryside or environmental conservation or equivalent qualifications in practical countryside skills.

Horticultural, Agricultural or Arboricultural qualifications

Desirable Qualifications:

Emergency Outdoor First Aid qualification

Habitat / species survey training

Health and Safety training

Essential Knowledge and Experience:

Experience of growing a variety of food crops on a commercial scale.

Experience of a range of food growing techniques and technologies, potentially to include organic growing, vertical growing, hydroponic and aquaponic growing

Excellent knowledge of and demonstrable experience in practical land management, both in strategic planning and hands-on delivery.

Management of wildlife and habitat conservation projects, with a strong working ecological knowledge across a range of habitat types and taxa.

Experience of managing capital works budgets and contracts.

Experience of recruiting, managing, and supporting small teams of volunteers.

Significant experience of working with a wide range of stakeholders, building strong relationships and inspiring others with your passion for food, nature and the outdoors.

Knowledge and understanding of Health & Safety issues whilst  undertaking practical works, and an experience of managing and leading on health and safety and environmental compliance.

Desirable Knowledge and Experience:

Designing and costing food growing, conservation and habitat management projects.

Habitat and species surveying experience; experience of running citizen science projects.

Understanding of emerging policy around biodiversity net gain, habitat banking, carbon banking and Environmental Land Management funding.

Ability to train volunteers and make effective presentations to a wide variety of audiences. Ability to use Geographical Information Systems.

Essential Skills and Abilities:

Strong people management and leadership skills, with the ability to inspire, inform and show empathy with community members and volunteers as you involve them in practical growing and conservation activities.

Strong project planning and organisational skills, including work programming and budget management.

The ability to analyse data, using internal and external research to recognise trends and understand strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats on the site.

Excellent IT skills and ability to prepare detailed reports, project proposals and project plans.

Desirable Skills and Abilities:

Ability to train volunteers and make effective presentations to a wide variety of audiences.

Ability to use Geographical Information Systems.

Essential Personal Qualities:

Flexible, adaptable and solution focused approach to work.

Good organisational skills, and an ability to take the initiative.

Highly collaborative, team player.

Able to work outside normal working hours, including occasional evenings and weekends.

Ability to complete work within deadlines to a high standard of finish.

Application information

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About Northern Roots

Northern Roots is creating the UK’s largest urban farm and eco-park on 160 acres of stunning green space in the heart of Oldham, Greater Manchester. A unique new community asset and visitor destination.