Willamette University Greenhouse, Gardening, and Farming Coordinator

Company: Willamette University
Location: Salem, Oregon
Compensation: $13.27 - $19.09 per hour
Employment Type: Part-Time
Job Categories: Agriculture, Education, Nonprofit
Region: Mid Willamette Valley
Date Posted: June 1, 2018

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The Greenhouse, Gardening & Farming Coordinator will be in charge of managing the Biology Department’s greenhouse and supporting faculty and students with research and projects related to the greenhouse. The Coordinator will also work with students, faculty and staff to support curricular and co-curricular programming on campus and at Willamette University’s nearby 305-acre Zena property involving ecology projects as well as gardening and farming.

This position reports to the Sustainability Director, but will also receive direction from biology faculty regarding the greenhouse and related projects on campus and at Zena. This is a temporary position with funding committed through May 31, 2019, with the possibility of an extension through the 2019-20 academic year contingent on securing additional funding and institutional approval.


Manage Olin greenhouses. Purchase supplies such as soil and pots and grow plant material for biology labs, water and clean greenhouses, and carry out integrated pest management protocols to keep plants healthy, including occasional pesticide use. Maintain the facility, including organizing and cleaning greenhouse prep room, ordering replacement bulbs, and placing work orders for Facilities staff to complete repairs they cannot carry out themselves.

Coordinate with Biology faculty to support faculty research projects. Planting and maintenance of existing plants in the greenhouse and adhering to detailed project specifications.

Supervise student use of the greenhouse. Train and supervise student workers to water and clean greenhouse spaces and help students set up and maintain class-based and independent research projects.

Assist with developing campus and Zena farm and garden spaces. Work with the Farm Club, Food Justice class, Campus Grounds Director, and others to maintain and assist students in creating and maintaining campus and Zena gardens and farm spaces for both agricultural and biology-related programming and activities. Assist with budgeting, selection and installation of garden/farming infrastructure based on best practices and other relevant opportunities and constraints. Ensure students are adequately trained in the safe use of tools and related safety equipment, and that work environments are free from hazards.

Assess and plan food production at Zena. Work with the Sustainability Institute Director, Zena planning committee, Zena Farm Club leadership, and others to inventory, organize and maintain resources and equipment. Contribute to the short- and long-term plans for educational food production at Zena.

Secondary Duties (As Time Allows)

Assist faculty and students using campus gardens and Zena in curricular and co-curricular activities. Work with faculty and staff to plan and facilitate lab activities, field trips and independent projects using the campus gardens and Zena. Supervise student groups in field trips. Assist with safety planning and transportation issues around Zena field trips and independent student research.

Maintain Zena gardening & farming areas. Maintain approximately 2 acres beyond the purview of the grounds crew and farm club.  Activities include weed whacking, clearing blackberries, pruning, tilling, weeding and organizing barn and garage.

Create and maintain pollinator-friendly plantings on campus and at Zena. Propagate, install and maintain a diverse set of plants on campus and in Zena garden and restoration areas for plant identification purposes and as habitat for pollinators.


Abilities and Traits

  • Communication – Ability to work with students, staff, faculty, and partners outside of the university to plan, coordinate and complete work projects.

  • Facilitation – Ability to work with a diverse set of stakeholders to plan and implement work at at Zena and on campus.

  • Accountability – Ability to accept responsibility and account for his/her actions.

  • Detail Oriented – Ability to pay attention to the minute details of a project or task.

  • Organized – Possessing the trait of being organized or following a systematic method of performing a task.

  • Reliability – The trait of being dependable and trustworthy.

  • Time Management – Ability to utilize the available time to organize and complete work within given deadlines.


Any combination of education and experience that provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the essential functions of this position. High school diploma required and college degree preferred.


At least two years of relevant experience, including:

  • Plant propagation or greenhouse management

  • Outdoor, agricultural, and/or ecology education

  • Planning and leading others in hands-on projects

  • Engaging and educating young adults about growing edible gardens and/or farming activities

  • Growing, harvesting, and bringing crops to market for sale and use in commercial food service

Certificates, Licenses and Training

  • Possession of a valid vehicle operator’s license of the class needed to operate private vehicle and rented HOVs

  • Access to a registered and insured private vehicle for travel between campus and Zena property (approximately ten miles)

  • Able to safely operate various hand and power tools and equipment involving dexterous use of both hands and feet simultaneously.


  • Knowledge of hazards and safety precautions related to greenhouse, gardening and farming activities, including use of relevant power tools and equipment

  • At least basic knowledge of gardening and farming practices, procedures, and methods such as planting, transplanting, watering, fertilizing, etc.

  • Experience with and interest in higher education settings


18-22 hours per week, at least three days per week (e.g., M,W,F) and occasional weekend days.