Seed Sovereignty UK & Ireland Programme Manager

The Gaia Foundation

Hampstead, London (or home based with regular office team days)
£35,000 (pro rata)

Paid • Part Time • Fixed Term Contract

www.gaiafoundation.org info@gaianet.org 02074280055 Julia Marques

Sectors: food, farming & horticulture, sustainability

Closing date: Wednesday, 1st May 2019  


Job description: Seed Sovereignty UK & Ireland Programme Manager

Reporting to: Deputy Director
Location: Belsize Park, London or home working dependent on location
Hours: 3 days per week, 9:30am – 5:30pm, Monday – Thursday as preferred
Duration: Approx 1 year role. Post secured until 30th June 2020
Salary: £35,000 (pro rata)

About the Seed Sovereignty UK & Ireland Programme

The Seed Sovereignty UK & Ireland Programme started in 2017 with the aim to support the development of a biodiverse and ecologically sustainable seed system here on home soil. By January 2018, five Regional Coordinators were in post across Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England (x2), working closely with growers, small-scale seed producers and partners across the organic seed sector. Together we are working to increase the amount of agro-ecological (organic or open-pollinated) seed produced by trained growers and helping to create the conditions for a diverse and resilient seed system in the UK & Ireland.

The programme has three key aims:

  1. To grow, support and cultivate regional and national connections and collaboration across the organic and open-pollinated seed sector
  2. To support small-scale producers with skills, resources and information relating to seed production, saving and legislation
  3. To foster a more supportive environment for a biodiverse and ecologically sustainable seed system to thrive, leading to an increase in genetic diversity.

The programme is being led by The Gaia Foundation who have been working on seed and related knowledge for over three decades both in the UK and overseas, particularly across Africa.

The Role

The position of Seed Sovereignty Programme Manager requires working closely with the five Regional Coordinators to support local efforts in order to meet the aims of the programme. The programme is regionally led and nationally driven. The success of the programme requires strategic national perspective and direction, liaising with partners, allies, funders and influencers to make a meaningful contribution to the seed sovereignty movement in the UK & Ireland, and critically, to amplify the exciting work taking place across the regions and nations.

The Seed Sovereignty Manager will be responsible for:

Programme Management & Strategy

  1. Collaborating closely with Regional Coordinators in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England (East and West) to foster a supportive environmental for regional efforts, which will be diverse by nature. This will include coordinating regular team meetings over Zoom and regular 1-2-1’s. Some travel will also be expected.
  2. Coordinate twice yearly meetings with the Programme’s Advisory Committee, reporting back on the programme and seeking strategic advice and direction. Look to develop mentor relationships between Advisors and Regional Coordinators, where specialist support is deemed useful to advance work at the regional level.
  3. Ongoing liaison with all project partners to ensure active participation and strategic alliance
  4. Look to engage additional strategic partners and allies to further the reach and influence of the programme, or support specific work at the regional level.
  5. Support the identification of skilled trainers to deliver trainings across the UK & Ireland, and support the development of an annual calendar of training events across all regions/nations.
  6. Oversee the delivery and implementation of an online resource/syllabus making seed production and saving techniques available to the widest possible audience.
  7. In conjunction with Gaia’s Finance Manager, oversee the Programme budget.
  8. Continue to support the Legal Working Group established to review UK legislation.

Communications & Visibility

  1. Work closely with the Gaia communications team to deliver an Autumn communications campaign amplifying the work of the programme and drawing the public’s attention to where they can purchase local, organic and open-pollinated seed. This will take lessons from two ‘Seed Week’ campaigns delivered by the programme in December 2018 and March 2019.
  2. Nurture and develop the programme’s online presence by supporting the Regional Coordinators to make regular contributions to the programme website, write blogs capturing the national picture and perspective and work closely with the Gaia communications team to coordinate social media.
  3. Work with the Coordinators to ensure the programme is visible at key strategic events across the agroecology and seed sector in the UK and possibly Europe.

Fundraising & Legacy

  1. Nurture new funders in order to draw in the final funds required for the successful delivery of the current programme.
  2. Report back regularly to the existing funders in accordance with grantee reporting deadlines.
  3. Develop plans for the Programme beyond the initial three-year phase, coordinating a Legacy planning meeting in July 2019 and engaging with strategic partners, allies and funders to establish the future of the work beyond July 2020.
  4. Develop a Programme evaluation plan in coordination with an external monitoring and evaluation consultant, and with data and information gathered from the regions/nations.
  5. Continue to explore options for the development of a seed database of varieties.

Terms and conditions

This post is subject to a 6-month probationary period. Annual leave is 25 days per year pro-rata plus public holidays and any organisation-provided extra days (this usually includes office closure between Christmas and New Year).

Person Specification

This role will suit an outgoing and confident communicator who has the capacity to raise awareness of the programme amongst partners and funders alike, whilst maintaining close relationships with the Regional Coordinators, and responding to their diverse needs in imaginative ways. The Programme Coordinator should take direction from the regions/nations and strategically identify opportunities to amplify this work, developing a thriving network for seed sovereignty in the UK & Ireland.

Qualifications and Experience

  1. Proven experience, understanding of and passion for Seed Sovereignty and Agroecology – preferably having completed degree level studies in these or related subjects, and/or with applied experience within the food justice/ seed sector, for a minimum of five years.
  2. Excellent networking, programme development and co-ordination skills.
  3. Confident writing and overall communication skills.
  4. An ability to self-motivate and manage time under limited supervision.
  5. Excellent organisational skills and computer proficiency.
  6. Strong oral and written skills in English.
  7. A deep love and respect for Nature and the larger community of life.

Desirable qualities and skills:

  1. Management experience.
  2. Experience writing fundraising proposals and liaising with funders.
  3. Experience liaising with the media and/or developing imaginative communications content.

Please follow the link to our website to access the application pack. Please send a completed application form plus your CV to info@gaianet.org by 5pm on Wednesday 1st May.


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