Program Director, Food Business & Economic Development

Company: Rhode Island Food Policy Council

Location: South Kingstown, RI

Job Function: Community Outreach


Background

The Rhode Island Food Policy Council (RIFPC) is an independent nonprofit building a more equitable, accessible, economically vibrant, and environmentally sustainable food system. Established in 2011, our diverse network uplifts the voices and power of over 1,500 individuals, businesses, and organizations. Together, we build coalitions that align resources, promote good food and agriculture policy, and execute high-impact projects and programs. RIFPC is committed to equity, and we strive to be an anti-oppression organization. For more information about our work, mission, and values, please visit www.rifoodcouncil.org.

Summary

The RI Food Policy Council is seeking a Program Director, Food Business & Economic Development to lead daily operations for a growing program supporting the success of Rhode Island farmers, seafood businesses, and processed food entrepreneurs, with a focus on those from historically underserved communities.

The ideal candidate for this new position will possess the vision, capacity, and project management skills to initiate and scale multiple projects and drive results. The ability to work collaboratively with people from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds is critical. We seek an independent, self-directed leader who is also a good team player. Experience managing contractors and subcontractors, monitoring finances, and contributing to fundraising initiatives is expected. A constant focus on impact and outcomes is essential, as is a high level of organization. Dedication to building a thriving, just food economy and passion for advancing equitable, community-based solutions to entrenched food business problems are required.

The Program Director will work regularly in communities, and with businesses, leaders in state agencies, and nonprofits. The overarching objective for this role is to ensure the success of our Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development project and Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure project.

This full-time position (37.5 hours/week) is primarily remote, with regular attendance at in-person meetings and events across the State of Rhode Island expected. The Program Director reports to the Associate Director, and is jointly managed by the RIFPC and RI Department of Environmental Management. This position will work closely with RIFPC staff, RIDEM staff, RI Commerce staff and other state agencies, as well as RIFPC Council members, and diverse food systems stakeholders on food business-related issues. This position is funded through June 30, 2026, to be extended subject to availability of funds.

Responsibilities

  • Ensure the success of RIFPC’s Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development program, Advancing Equity in Capital Access for Beginning Farmers, by leading a core group of business service providers and partners from historically underserved communities to:
    • Review, adapt, and develop capital access curriculum;
  • Deliver workshops and 1:1 business coaching;
  • Coordinate farm business networking and peer-to-peer events;
  • Coordinate funder matchmaking events; and
  • Recruit farms from target audiences to participate in technical assistance offerings,
  • Ensure the success of the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) program in accordance with the RI Department of Environmental Management by:
    • Developing a robust suite of technical assistance offerings for food businesses, and directly providing business technical assistance;
    • Assessing supply chain needs and opportunities to benefit agricultural producers;
    • Providing innovative yet practical planning for the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling, or distribution of food;
    • Coordinating and/or facilitating general informational websites, webinars, conferences, trainings, plant tours, and field days;
    • Coordinating and communicating with partner organizations and networks in the state and region to ensure all of the above activities are integrated with partner offerings; and
    • Supporting RI Department of Environmental Management as requested toward ongoing success of RFSI program.
  • Support Associate Director on regular grant tracking, evaluation, communication, and reporting
  • Identify emerging issues/opportunities related to food business and work across sectors to convene key stakeholders and collaboratively develop action plans to address them
  • Participate in RI Food Policy Council staff and Council meetings and activities as requested by the Associate Director and the Executive Director

Requirements

Qualifications and Skills

  • 8+ years of relevant, progressively responsible project management experience
  • 5+ years of professional facilitation experience, especially working with culturally and economically diverse populations
  • Proven ability to identify emerging challenges in complex environments and find stakeholder-driven solutions to address them
  • Experience leading new and/or scaling programs and overseeing multiple contracted scopes of work
  • Background in food business technical assistance
  • Bachelor’s degree required or equivalent work experience; master’s degree preferred

Key Competencies

  • Collaborative and visionary thinker
  • Strong organizational and time management skills
  • Proven ability to initiate and/or scale complex projects forward to timely completion
  • Ease in working with a broad range of demographically, experientially, and cognitively diverse people

Compensation and Benefits

The RI Food Policy Council is offering a competitive salary ($70-80K), full benefits, and a flexible workplace with a collegial environment.

How to Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume to info@rifoodcouncil.org with the subject line “Program Director, Food Business & Economic Development”

Qualified candidates will be contacted by email. Employment history and/or background check including 3 references are required of final candidates. The RI Food Policy Council is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values the benefits of a diverse organization. We encourage qualified applicants with lived experience of inequities in the food system to apply.