Huss Project Resident Caretaker position
The Huss Project is part of a multi-faceted non-profit organization working for the flourishing of all in Three Rivers, Michigan. Our mission is to grow our capacity for imagination through food, art, and play. Toward that end, we host programs and special events at a former elementary school property embedded in one of our small city’s distinct neighborhoods. Currently collaborating on this work are an executive director, a team of three year-round and three seasonal AmeriCorps partners, a small intentional community, and a constellation of volunteers. The Huss Project Resident Caretaker will join this team as a resident partner deeply committed to growing neighborly relationships and stewarding the property with diligence, compassion, and affection for the mission, land, and neighbors of the Huss Project.
The Huss Project Resident Caretaker will serve as the daily on-the-ground eyes, ears, hands, and heart of the extended Huss Project community. In exchange for housing (including utilities), the caretaker will be responsible for year-round seasonal maintenance of the building and grounds, including:
- Participating in a weekly community meeting to coordinate tasks
- Managing lawn care and garden maintenance
- Managing leaf and snow removal
- Assisting with seed-starting for the Huss Project Farm
Responsibilities may also include such tasks as:
- Coordinating building access and preparing spaces for outside groups
- Hosting volunteers for overnight camping
- Responding to emergency maintenance or security needs
These basic responsibilities are expected to average out over the course of the year to approximately 15 hours/week. We place a high value on fairness in this arrangement, and as it is a new position, all of those involved commit to open, honest, timely communication of needs and respectful conflict resolution.
Above and beyond the responsibilities outlined above, the Huss Project Resident Caretaker has the option of assuming additional responsibilities for revenue-generating programs with a share in financial proceeds:
Huss Project Farm Manager: The farm manager is responsible for all of the operations of Huss Project Farm, including planning, seed-starting, soil health, planting, pest management, watering, harvesting, and putting the garden to rest in the fall. In addition to growing food at the farm, the farm manager oversees a food distribution network with partner farms and organizations, a weekly community volunteer event, and a booth at the weekly Three Rivers Farmers market. There are also opportunities for offering educational opportunities to the local community. Additional labor inputs coordinated by the farm manager include volunteers and a 10-week summer AmeriCorps program. The time commitment for this position runs from February through October, with most hours required from May through September and averaging 30 hours/week across the active season. The farm manager is encouraged to participate in designing new opportunities for youth employment and ecological infrastructure toward such goals as water capture and extending the growing season.
Imaginarium Events Manager: The events manager is the point person for everything that occurs in the Imaginarium community space at the Huss Project, including designing mission- and vision-driven policies, managing the event calendar, promoting the event space, communicating and signing contracts with outside groups, invoicing, overseeing supplies, and coordinating space set-up and clean-up. The Imaginarium hosts a combination of Huss Project programmatic events (with and without community partners) and outside events, and the manager plays a crucial role in establishing a good balance, relational integrity, and event practices that reflect the Huss Project’s commitment to social and environmental justice. The events manager is encouraged to participate in designing new opportunities for neighborhood economic development, funding sustainability, and programmatic community partnerships.
- Willingness to perform physical, demanding work indoors and outdoors in all four of Michigan’s varied seasons
- Ability to work independently
- Ability to work in collaboration with a team of staff and volunteers
- Flexibility and adaptability to changing circumstances
- Ability or aptitude to operate and maintain motorized lawn and snow removal equipment
- Discernment for creative, well-reasoned problem-solving
- Specific to Farm Manager
- At least one growing season of experience on a small farm
- Experience managing priorities and tasks for helpers
- Ability or aptitude to operate a compact tractor
- Valid driver’s license
- Training in permaculture or another ecological design discipline a plus
- Specific to Events Manager
- At least one year of experience organizing events or transferable knowledge
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Detail-orientation and aesthetic sensibility
- Experience with media equipment a plus
- Passion for cultivating friendly, appreciative relationships with diverse neighbors
- Commitment to pursuing ecologically sustainable practices both personally and professionally
- Commitment to pursuing social equity both personally and professionally
- Interest in collaborating with a community of folks working from an asset-based community development model
- Open and mature communication, with willingness to listen to and share one’s thoughts and feelings with others
- Interest in participating in the rhythms of community life, including weekly potluck dinners and other social events
- Openness to being part of an organization with roots in the Christian tradition’s call to inclusive peace and justice, which forms the foundation for collaborating with partners and individuals who have diverse faith affiliations or no affiliation at all
- Ability to identify personal limits, practices, and needs for well-being and willingness to rely on a community of individuals who mutually supports one another’s well-being
Housing: Located adjacent to the Huss Project, the caretaker house is a modest, clean home with two small bedrooms, a 3/4 bath, a screened-in front porch, and a shaded, fenced-in back yard. Electric, natural gas, water, and internet are included free of charge. Pets are welcome with a one-time nonrefundable fee of $250 to cover any potential damages and a thorough hypo-allergenic cleaning before occupancy by subsequent residents. Some spaces at the house are shared with Huss Project programs, including:
- A full basement with a separate outside entrance is home to the Huss Project Farm seed-starting operation and also contains space for residents’ personal storage.
- A large, wooded back yard has a fenced-in area, as well as space for occasional overnight camping for volunteers and revenue-generating farm projects such as mushroom cultivation.
- A one-car garage that may be shared between personal storage and Huss Project maintenance equipment as needed and decided by the caretaker and executive director.
Food: The caretaker will receive a grocery bag of fresh produce each week during the growing season, as well as access to gleaning as available. A caretaker who remains beyond the first year will be welcome to participate in planning for diversified food production and have the option of a dedicated plot to grow their own food if desired.
Stipend: If the Huss Project Resident Caretaker chooses to accept one or both of the additional categories of responsibility (Events Manager and Farm Manager), a fair monetary stipend will be available based on projected time investment and projected revenue.
Other benefits: The Huss Project is a small, scrappy organization always evolving and always seeking abundance in simplicity. We welcome our caretaker candidates to dream up ways that our abundance might fulfill a need we can’t readily predict in order to add value to our mutual connection, such as art studio space or partnering to find funding for a mutually beneficial project outside the scope of the position. Our caretaker is not just accepting a job—our caretaker is part of our community and shares in a robust vision of future flourishing.
How to Apply
Our online application includes several short answer questions and space to submit two references one personal and one professional reference). If you would like to submit a letter of interest or resume, please contact us to send them via email. If you are part of a household with more than one adult applying to serve together as resident caretakers, please submit separate applications. If you have any questions, please contact our executive director Rob Vander Giessen-Reitsma.
Other Opportunities with the Huss Project
Depending on the skills and preferences of the caretaker, we may have separate openings for the farm manager and events manager. If you’re interested in either of these positions by themselves, please get in touch. In addition, please watch our web site and social media for information about:
- Year-long AmeriCorps VISTA Positions, which includes a stipend, student loan forgiveness, health insurance, and optional reduced-cost housing in our community house near downtown Three Rivers
- 10-week AmeriCorps summer associate positions, which includes a stipend and student loan forgiveness
- Volunteer opportunities with the Huss Project Farm and the annual Huss Future Fest