at Philo Ridge Farm
Philo Ridge Farm is a certified organic 400-acre farm located just south of Burlington, Vermont. We are a diversified farm in our fourth year of production, grazing 200 of our 400 acres, and growing two acres of organic produce and perennial fruits alongside two year round greenhouses. Our livestock program includes 80 head of heritage Belted Galloway cattle, 30 breeding ewes and over 65 lambs, 250 laying hens, and 3,500 pastured chickens per year. Our farming practices build soil health, produce a variety of nutrient-rich foods, reduce the use of fossil fuels, and support the local agricultural community. We produce our own organic compost and hay on the farm, and evaluate changes in soil health, crop and pasture productivity, water quality, carbon sequestration, and wildlife in partnership with the University of Vermont.
In the summer of 2018, we opened the Farm Commons Barn, a 6,000 square foot commercial kitchen and market for selling products grown and processed at Philo Ridge Farm. The market serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual counter-service style, as well as a curated grocery selection showcasing our meats, fresh produce and other products from local farms and producers. The commercial kitchen and processing facility operate a production cycle continuously throughout the year, handling the value-added food processing and butchering of our farm-raised animals. We have a year round staff of 30, growing to 50 in the summer season.
The farm and the Farm Commons Barn allow us to welcome the public, to host events, and create value-added goods throughout the entire year. Through the COVID-19 health crisis, we have shifted our service style quickly to provide curbside pickup for prepared meals and groceries for over 350 families per week. This process has deepened our commitment to creating a robust local food ecosystem, increased our partnership with other small local farms, and allowed us to become a food aggregator for our community. Moving beyond COVID-19, we intend to expand this model while re-launching events, education, and sit-down food service.
Together with the farm owners, Bio-Logical Capital manages the business, aiming to create a new diversified model for small scale farmers, one that will allow both the land and the farmer to prosper. In addition to production, we are carefully measuring and monitoring our practices so that we can share our story and data with others who are interested in understanding and supporting regenerative agriculture. For more information, visit www.philoridgefarm.com and www.biologicalcapital.com.
About the Role
Philo Ridge Farm is looking for an outstanding and inspiring leader to be its Managing Director. This position will be the top senior leadership position on the farm and will oversee all teams and areas of the farm. This person will be an enthusiastic, entrepreneurial, creative, and hands-on leader of all parts of our diverse and innovative farm—from the land-based agriculture teams to our market and events space to our food service and hospitality team to our produce and meat processing facility.
The Managing Director must share Philo Ridge’s passion for land conservation, growing produce, and raising animals. The successful candidate for the Managing Director position will provide operational excellence through inspiring leadership and hospitality, team development, and willingness to roll up their sleeves and participate in the hands-on work of the farm when needed, all while providing experienced financial and operational management of the business. Strong candidates will be equally comfortable managing Excel spreadsheets as they are hosing off their muck boots and creating a welcoming atmosphere of hospitality at the Farm Commons Barn.
This is a multi-faceted role with many diverse responsibilities, requiring a strong business acumen, an entrepreneurial spirit, a good sense of humor, and a long-range focus on continuous improvement and successful delivery of the farm’s goals. As a calm and clear-headed leader, the Managing Director will switch contexts often from long-term strategy to granular operating details.
The Managing Director will oversee all business operations, leadership development, internal communication, outward-facing marketing, human resources, and administration. In addition, this person will be the key ambassador of Philo Ridge Farm’s core values, mission, and story to the local community as well as to the broader food and agriculture community. In this role, the Managing Director will be a facilitator, an active listener, a clear communicator, a mentor, a coach, a mediator, and a source of positive inspiration for the entire team at Philo Ridge Farm—someone who can motivate and hold staff members accountable.
The Managing Director will report to the Chief Operating Officer of Bio-Logical Capital, will work at Philo Ridge Farm, and will need to live locally.
- Lead the development of strategic goals to drive financial performance, enhance ecological impact, and deepen community connections
- Lead the definition, execution and continual refinement of organizational metrics to ensure that Philo Ridge Farm’s annual operational and financial objectives are achieved
- Oversee all aspects of Philo Ridge Farm’s day-to-day business operations and property management, and support daily coordination between all Philo Ridge Farm managers
- Effectively recruit, train, coach, and develop managers and staff in capabilities enhancing operational efficiency, financial literacy, communication skills, and goal attainment
- Create a positive, inspired team-oriented work culture rooted in effective communication, collaboration and accountability by actively demonstrating and teaching exceptional professionalism with a focus on guest experience and organizational excellence
- Develop and implement operational systems that can evolve as the business expands and enhance team communication, improve guest experience, reduce expenses, improve margins, drive higher sales, and develop new business lines
- Ensure integration between farm and food service programs based on established budgets, priorities and timetables
- Engage with partner organizations, businesses and individuals to expand Philo Ridge Farm’s role in relevant circles around Vermont and the nation
- Support individual managers to facilitate staff education, effective feedback, and develop strong professional development plans for all team members
- Develop and deliver the annual operating and capital expense budget with support from Bio-Logical Capital and track budget to actual performance on a monthly basis
- Cultivate Philo Ridge Farm’s regional and national reputation and engagement in land use, agriculture, climate change, food systems, and hospitality issues
- Represent and share Philo Ridge Farm’s mission and story in the Vermont community and broader region, speaking with passion and knowledge about our food and products, and inspiring team members to do the same
- Coordinate annual planning for each business unit, and coach business unit managers to think about and deliver on their goals entrepreneurially and consistently
- Maintain regular communication with the Board regarding operations and performance
- Prepare accurate quarterly written reports on business unit operations, progress toward goals, and budget variances
- Hold individual managers accountable to address staff incidents and interpersonal issues calmly and impartially, be a role model in this respect, and coach the managers through difficult conversations
- Ensure organizational policies are administered consistently and terminate employees when necessary
- Facilitate open and constructive communication between Philo Ridge Farm staff and managers, the Board and the Bio-Logical Capital team
- Maintain all permits, licenses, insurance policies, and other administrative processes associated with business compliance and general risk management
- Passion for farming, local food systems, land management, environmentalism, and hospitality; hands-on agricultural experience a plus, but not required
- A leadership style based in curiosity, active listening, collaboration, patience, persistence, clear communication, creative problem solving, and accountability
- Strong capabilities in culture building, team development, and individual coaching, with fully developed abilities as facilitator, mentor, and mediator
- Unwavering standards in delivering an excellent product accompanied by a positive guest experience
- Outstanding capacities to be a spokesperson and outward leader of Philo Ridge Farm locally, regionally, and nationally
- Outstanding capacities in listening and responding to diverse stakeholder and community representatives
- Demonstrated entrepreneurial abilities in a business or non-profit leadership role, with strong business and financial acumen
- Strong belief in the mission of Philo Ridge Farm as well as a love for agricultural life in Vermont
- Minimally 8-10 years of operational management experience in a business or organization with more than 10 employees, with preference for enterprises related to agriculture, hospitality, conservation, and/or education
- Bachelor’s degree or higher academic attainment
- Excellent verbal and written communications and presentation skills
- Excellent abilities in project management
- Ability to read, interpret, and develop actionable responses to business financial statements
- Strong computer literacy including advanced proficiency in Microsoft Office suite: Excel, PowerPoint and Word