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Executive Director, Massachusetts Food System Collaborative

Massachusetts Food System Collaborative
Job Title: Executive Director, Massachusetts Food System Collaborative
Job Type:
Executive Director
Job Search Ends:
October 31st, 2023
Organization's Website:

Massachusetts Food System Collaborative Seeks Executive Director 


The Massachusetts Food System Collaborative seeks an Executive Director who is a visionary leader and systems thinker with deep knowledge of and passion for food system issues and of racial inequities to lead this impactful and highly regarded organization toward its vision of a local food system where everyone has access to healthy food, to land to grow food, to good jobs, and to the systems where policy decisions are made.  


About Massachusetts Food System Collaborative 


The Massachusetts Food System Collaborative (MAFSC or the Collaborative) was created in 2016 to promote, monitor, and facilitate implementation of the Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan. Hundreds of people and organizations throughout the state contributed their voices to the Plan, and the Collaborative continues to facilitate cross-sectoral collaboration by bringing together players throughout the food system – organizations, public sector agencies, policymakers, and diverse food system stakeholders – to implement the goals laid out in the Plan. Since the Plan’s development, the Collaborative has worked to understand the deep racial inequities baked into the food system and has worked across sectors to promote reparative policy change while supporting initiatives that advance racially-just systems and environmental changes. It has functioned as a backbone organization, working to build coalitions, networks, and other organizations' capacity to engage in policy changes at the local and state level that lead to a sustainable, equitable, resilient food system. Its work focuses on  

  • Understanding and dismantling the systemically racist framework that has constructed the food system; 

  • Educating the public and policy makers about food system issues; 

  • Providing resources, training, and technical assistance that empowers stakeholders at the grassroots level to engage in policy advocacy; 

  • Building the capacity of stakeholders to tell the stories of their work and their communities to inform the policy-setting process; and  

  • Facilitating connections among stakeholders and between stakeholders and policy makers.  


The Collaborative’s work over the last seven years has led to tangible and transformational results: it has played a key role in shifting attitudes toward seeing food system issues as central to health, equity, economics, and environment; it has established strong relationships with legislators and was instrumental in the establishment of the legislative Food System Caucus, a bicameral, bipartisan body that has become the second-largest caucus in the Massachusetts state house; and its policy campaigns have contributed to the passage of significant legislation and state investments of tens of millions of dollars in the local food system.  

The Campaign for Food Literacy has raised awareness among legislators, state agencies, and the public of the importance of students learning about the food system in schools across the state; the Campaign for Healthy Initiatives Program (HIP) Funding leads a coalition of 300 members to advocate for continued and expanded funding for HIP, with $64 million in funding secured since 2017; the Food Waste Reduction Campaign has increased coordination between food rescue, gleaning, compost and anaerobic digestion facilities and has advocated for regulations to reduce food waste statewide. The Collaborative also leads or facilitates the Agricultural Equity Network, the Food Policy Council Network, and the Urban Agriculture Coalition. Other core activities include:  

  • Advocacy Trainings – cover the basics of how policy is made in Massachusetts, how to build relationships with decision makers, updates on food system bills, power-mapping, and more. 

  • Farming support – connecting agricultural organizations with food system policy and advocacy efforts designed to create a more secure and sustainable local food system. 

  • Communications – a monthly e-newsletter, an active social media presence, publications on various topics, guides to policy advocacy, and reports on progress toward the goals of the Food Plan. 


MAFSC has an annual operating budget of $455,000 and operates through a fiscal sponsor, TSNE, that provides accounting, contracts, human resources, and other administrative support. It has a staff of four and is led by a six-member Steering Committee comprised of leaders who bring skills and perspectives in farming/agriculture, food policy, environment, academia, and research. Its founding Executive Director, Winton Pitcoff, is moving on to an appointment as Deputy Commissioner/Legislative and Policy Director at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and a well-respected and proven leader in Massachusetts’ food system has stepped in as acting interim Executive Director.  


Opportunity Going Forward  

The Collaborative is well positioned to move into the next phase of the organization’s development and mission-driven work. The Food System Plan has provided direction for the Collaborative, and it has relied on the voices of stakeholders to guide its priorities and projects within the broad scope of the Plan. Nearly ten years out from the Plan’s creation, the Collaborative is poised to chart a strategic path going forward. The new Executive Director will leverage the Collaborative’s skilled and knowledgeable staff, its positive reputation and track record of results, its strength as a convener and connector, and its foundation of grassroots work in communities to bring more diversity into the Collaborative, deepen its efforts to create an equitable food system, build more connections across the food system, and broaden its education efforts.  


The Executive Director’s key priorities for the first 12-18 months will be to 

  • Maintain a focus on deepening equity and inclusion across the food system and facilitating policy changes that affect a more racially equitable and inclusive food system. 

  • Manage operations and staff: 

  • Build relationships with staff; 

  • Assess the operations and structure and enhance staff connection and collaboration; and 

  • Work with TSNE as needed on administrative functions 

  • Maintain a focus on community outreach and fundraising. 

  • Ensure a focus on the Collaborative’s policy work: assess the legislative session timeline, build relationships with legislators, and ensure the organization can continue to advance its policy work. 

  • Gain a solid understanding of the food system landscape in Massachusetts and build relationships with community groups and key players. 

  • Build a strong working relationship with the Steering Committee and support the Committee in updating and strengthening its governance structure and in developing a strategic path forward.   


Position Duties and Responsibilities 

The Executive Director provides organizational direction and project management for the Massachusetts Food System Collaborative and serves as the primary liaison between the Coalition and their fiscal sponsor, TSNE. 



  • Supervise staff, consultants, and/or volunteers. 

  • Oversee all contracts and grants related to administration of the Collaborative’s work.  

  • Coordinate meetings of the Steering Committee. 

Planning and Facilitation 

  • With input from the Steering Committee, develop an annual work plan for the Collaborative. 

  • Lead implementation of the work plan, including: 

  • Hiring, supervising, and supporting staff, and annually reviewing their performance; 

  • Convening work groups as needed to implement work plan elements; and 

  • Working with specific stakeholders or groups of stakeholders to implement strategies; 

  • With input from the Steering Committee, lead long-term strategic and financial planning.  

  • Develop and maintain measures to demonstrate the effect of food plan implementation as a way to maintain accountability towards the plan’s goals.  

Development and fundraising 

  • Cultivate and steward donors (foundations; corporations; individuals). 

  • Prepare grant proposals and reports. 

Financial Management 

  • Act as primary liaison with the Collaborative’s fiscal sponsor. 

  • Oversee resource and financial management, including budget development and reporting. 


  • Oversee communications work by the Collaborative, including media strategies and outreach, social media activities, and development and maintenance of the website. 

Network Cultivation and Coordination 

  • Cultivate relationships with key stakeholders and organizations important to the Collaborative’s implementation of the Food System Plan. 

  • Represent the Collaborative at public events, conferences, and organizational meetings as needed. 

  • Respond to general inquiries regarding Massachusetts Food System Plan implementation. 

Complete other tasks and projects related to the job, as needed. 



Profile of the Ideal Candidate 


The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following capacities: 



  • Knowledge of and passion for food system dynamics and issues and solid understanding of the systems of racial inequity that undergird our food systems.  

  • A minimum of 5 years’ leadership, or equivalent experience, preferably at a food system-focused organization. 

Deeply Understands What Racial Equity Is and Can Operationalize It 

  • Has a deep understanding of equity, inclusion, and diversity principles and dynamics; strong experience using an equity lens through all aspects of their work. 

  • Has lived experience in a marginalized community and/or experience addressing needs of marginalized communities. 

  • Has experience facilitating frank conversations about race and privilege – can consider diverse opinions and perspectives, manage tensions, and move others toward compromise. 


A Visionary Leader and Systems Thinker Who Can Manage Complex Systems 

  • A confident, thoughtful leader with a positive attitude and patience who can lead others through the long arc of social change. 

  • Background in organizational management; experience managing complex systems and in growing an organization. 

  • Experience managing staff and fostering a healthy team environment, especially in a remote context, with a transparent and collaborative approach to management. 

  • Experience managing budgets and with financial reporting. 

  • Experience increasing revenues through donor and grant development. 

  • A manager who is detail-oriented with good organizational skills who demonstrates flexibility and can effectively prioritize. 

  • Understanding of policy development and of community and legislative advocacy. 


Relationship Builder, Networker, and Collaborator with Excellent Communication Skills 

  • An eager networker with a track record in building strong and lasting relationships with community members, community and political leaders, and agency heads. Relationships in the Massachusetts food system is a plus. 

  • An outgoing, engaging, and caring individual with strong social skills who has demonstrated ability to interact effectively and work successfully with persons of diverse backgrounds, including people with different racial, ethnic and class backgrounds, people of different genders, and people with disabilities. 

  • A compelling spokesperson and storyteller who can engage diverse audiences.  

  • Strong writing skills. 


Compensation and Benefits: 

This is a full-time, salaried, exempt position with a starting salary range of $90,000-$110,000, commensurate with experience and qualifications. MAFSC also offers a comprehensive and generous benefits package which includes health insurance, vision, dental, life, and short- and long-term disability, TIAA pension plan with 3.5% of salary employer contribution starting after 1 year of full-time employment, and significant paid time off.  


The physical demands described for this position are that of a typical office environment. Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the functions.  


  • Ability to sit and/or for extended periods of time in front of a computer screen is an essential aspect of the position.  

  • There may be a need to lift and/or move materials or equipment up to 25 pounds. 

  • Talk, hear and see in the normal range with or without correction. 

  • Use hands or fingers, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls. 

  • Move, Traverse; sit (usually for longer periods of time); reach with hands and arms; occasionally Ascend/Descend; and position self (to), move. 

  • The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate. 

  • Job is not subject to significant occupational or environmental hazards. 

  • Likelihood of personal injury would be relatively slight. 


Location: Primarily remote from personal home office, in Massachusetts. Occasional in-state travel to meetings and events. 


Schedule: 37.5 standard weekly, typically Monday - Friday. Occasional evenings or weekend hours may be required. 


Application Process and Additional Information 

TSNE/MAFSC strives to achieve excellence through a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment that embraces all of our individual and collective differences. Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Middle Eastern and North African, Bilingual and/or Bicultural candidates, and LGBTQ2SIA+ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. We value and honor the unique talents, learning styles, and lived experiences of each individual that enrich and strengthen our workplace culture, and we are proud to be an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. 


All employment conditions are based on an individual’s performance and job qualifications. TSNE/MAFSC prohibits discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, creed, color, religion, native language, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, parental status, pregnancy, race-based hairstyles, or any other protected characteristic stated by federal and state law. Regardless of any class’ protection under the law or lack thereof, TSNE/MAFSC celebrates diversity and values the strengths that come with having a diverse team of employees. It is represented in our workplace culture, and it is who we are. 


TSNE/MAFSC’s EEO statement extends to volunteers, interns, contractors, vendors, and clients. 


Candidates must include a resume and a cover letter that describes how qualifications and experience match the needs and mission of MAFSC. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Upload required documents to: https://eostransitions.applicantpool.com/jobs/


This executive search is being conducted by Eos Transition Partners consultant, Catherine Bradshaw. All submissions will be acknowledged and are confidential, and any questions can be submitted to Catherine at: cbradshaw@eostransitions.com.  


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