22-23 Network Gardener (part-time)

About FirstLine Schools

In 1998, FirstLine Schools started the first charter school in New Orleans. FirstLine now operates several PreK-8th grade schools. Our mission is to create and inspire great, open admissions public schools in New Orleans.

Our faculty is a diverse and talented group dedicated to our students’ success and to their own growth as teachers. Our schools are led by leaders who hold themselves accountable for student achievement and teacher development.


Founded in 2006, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESYNOLA) envisions generations of New Orleans children who have healthy relationships with food, the natural world, themselves, and their community. ESYNOLA's mission is to teach children to make healthy connections through food. Our goal is to improve the long-term well being of our students, families, and school community, by integrating hands-on organic gardening and seasonal cooking into the school curriculum, culture, and cafeteria programs.

We believe that:

  • Food education should be taught in conjunction with core academics
  • Children learn by doing
  • Health and wellness contribute to the success of the whole child
  • Beauty is the language of caring
  • Local farms and sustainable farming practices are vital
  • School food reform is an integral part of the education we offer our students
  • Families and communities are integral to our success

Position Summary

The role of the Network Gardener is to support the Garden Teaching Teams at Arthur Ashe Charter School, Samuel J. Green Charter School, Langston Hughes Academy, and Phillis Wheatley Community School with physical gardening tasks and managing improvements to the school gardens. The Network Gardener works to ensure all ESYNOLA gardens are maintained and receive basic garden supplies, horticultural advice, support with volunteer management. The Network Gardener is a part-time role. On occasion, Saturday mornings are occasionally required a few times annually to support community volunteer days and family events. This position requires a valid driver’s licence and potentially a vehicle.

Position Responsibilities:

Network Garden Operations

  • With the Ashe site gardener & greenhouse manager, advise ESYNOLA garden team in recommended plantings and seasonal routines of garden care, keep seed inventory and crop plan updated
  • With garden teachers, manage each site’s inventory of garden supplies
  • Maintain four school gardens with support from Ashe Site Gardener & Greenhouse Manager, Americorps network gardener, volunteers, and interns
  • Ensure that large equipment for gardens are in working order, including tiller, extension pruners, hedge trimmer, weed eater, etc.
  • With program manager and school operations managers, assists lead garden teachers with planning for summer garden care, animal care, and preparation of gardens in advance of major weather events, as required
  • Build collaborative relationships with ESY garden team, garden teachers, school and network facilities staff to ensure all garden operations are supported
  • With program manager, facilitates the purchasing and delivery of general garden supplies
  • Manages ESYNOLA vehicle and trailer usage, fuel, and maintenance

Garden & Horticultural

  • In collaboration with school operations managers, ensures the safety and aesthetics of school gardens
  • Works alongside lead garden teachers to develop and maintain all functions of the garden spaces with the purpose of garden classes in mind
  • Directly assists in the planning, planting, harvest, and maintenance of the gardens
  • Carries out daily gardening tasks independently
  • Prepares the garden for visitors as well as special events, ensuring that the garden and surroundings are well maintained, that the plants and collections are healthy, and that the garden is safe and attractive for the public
  • Performs and supports horticultural practices that encourage overall plant health and soil nutrition, to include sustainable gardening and integrated pest management practices
  • Maintains horticultural tools and supplies
  • Maintains records of work, garden maintenance, and plant health as required
  • Alerts lead garden teacher(s) to garden problems, and handles pest outbreaks, wasps, etc.
  • Removes dead plant material and weeds from the garden to compost/dump
  • Weeds all garden areas and removes debris from garden
  • Manages weekly garden volunteers and volunteer groups
  • Attends seasonal team trainings and professional development workshops
  • Updates volunteer calendars and directly manages individual garden volunteers, garden interns, and volunteer groups
  • With garden teachers, plans tasks, prepares for, and facilitates group service volunteer days, keeping records of communication and activities performed
  • Works occasional Open Garden Days and family events on Saturdays, and supports the annual Edible Evening Fundraising Event
  • Performs vendor research for garden maintenance and maintains relationships with community partners

Education & Experience:

  • High school diploma
  • Prior farming and/or gardening experience required
  • Experience with drip irrigation required
  • Some experience with farm animals (goats, chickens) is preferred
  • Valid drivers licence, and ability to drive a truck with trailer, &/or willingness to learn
  • Good sense of humor and positive rapport with kids
  • Belief in FirstLine’s mission and vision
  • Passionate interest in urban gardening and agriculture
  • Dedicated to working hard and receiving feedback
  • Excitement to learn through direct experience
  • Great attitude in the heat and cold weather

Desired Qualities & Characteristics:

  • Believe in every student’s ability to achieve in a rigorous college or career prep curriculum
  • Achieve results based on agreed-upon expectations
  • Take personal responsibility
  • Personal transportation, and the ability to move between multiple locations
  • Highly detail-oriented
  • Collaborate effectively with a range of stakeholders
  • Share a commitment to creating great schools in New Orleans
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Model the FirstLine Commitments
    • We Keep Learning
    • We Work Together
    • We are Helpful
    • We are the Safekeepers of our Community
    • We Share Joy
    • We Show Results

Physical Requirements:

  • Ability to lift, push and/or pull objects, which may be approximately 50 pounds.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee may be required to sit, walk, stand, talk, and hear.

Hourly Requirements:

  • This position is part-time: 25 hours per week
  • Pay is $17/hr
  • Work takes place in the mornings no fewer than 4 weekdays per week (ex. 7am-12pm Mon - Friday OR 8-2:30 Monday - Thursday)