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Nursery Assistant

Blogpost published on: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022

Nursery Assistant

24 hrs per week, year-round. Non-residential position.

Application Deadline: December 9, 2022 or until position filled

Start date: On or after January 2, 2023
(Check the OAEC website Jobs Page to see if the deadline has been extended)

Note: Nursery Assistant applicants may also apply for our 12 hours/week Landscaping Assistant position if qualified for both. See Job Announcement for the Landscaping Assistant position on OAEC website.

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (OAEC) is an 80-acre demonstration, education and advocacy center and organic farm located in western Sonoma County, California. Now in our 28th year, OAEC’s work focuses on cultivating ecological literacy and building the capacity of civic and social movement leaders and organizations to guide their communities toward an ecologically regenerative, economically viable, and socially just future. We offer a diverse and interrelated set of programs and partnerships to achieve our mission, including modeling land-based resiliency, training change makers, building the capacity of communities and organizations, and policy advocacy.

JOB SUMMARY

OAEC is seeking a Nursery Assistant to support the general operation of OAEC’s Mother Garden Nursery, a California Certified Organic and mission-based nursery dedicated to the preservation of biodiversity.

The Nursery Assistant assists the Nursery Manager in the maintenance and care of OAEC’s greenhouses and nursery, as well as production for our open nursery weekends. They play an important role in all aspects of greenhouse and nursery work, including sowing seeds and vegetative propagation, potting up seedlings, and seed saving of perennial mother plants in the nursery and OAEC’s Mother Gardens.

The Nursery Assistant works one day each weekend, either Saturday or Sunday, for eight months of the year when the nursery is open to the public (April through mid-November). They will be involved in the expansion and development of the nursery business and will be responsible for tracking plant sales and eventually developing a system to keep inventory of stock in the nursery and greenhouses.

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE JOB

General Nursery Operations

  • Assist the Nursery Manager with plant maintenance and care, including watering and fertilizing plants, sowing and potting up perennial seedlings for ongoing nursery sales, and vegetative propagation of plants on-site.
  • Program and monitor automated greenhouse functions to ensure proper climate conditions and ventilation.
  • Track inventory and maintain notes on best practices to produce correct quantities of given crops based on numbers sold in previous years.
  • Nursery Plant Sales
  • Manage plant labeling system, including printing and organizing labels, generating barcode SKU numbers for new items, and tagging all plants for open nursery weekends.
  • Work one day of the weekend (either Saturday or Sunday) for eight months of the year when the nursery is open to the public, from the beginning of April through mid-November.
  • Host and assist customers in choosing the right plants and merchandise for their needs.
  • Track sales and compile data to help inform propagation needs.
  • Maintain OAEC’s point-of-sale database to reflect correct prices and plant inventory.
  • Coordinate with OAEC administrative staff to fulfill the cashiering and administrative needs of the nursery, including leading cashier and point-of-sale trainings for additional staff who may support cashiering on busy weekends.
  • Admin Support and OAEC General Activities
  • Provide admin support and respond to general email inquiries.
  • Maintain and update the nursery’s online public Plant Catalog.
  • Collaborate with Nursery Manager and OAEC Communications Director to generate social media context and share on nursery Instagram account (@oaec_nursery) .
  • Occasionally supervise Garden Interns and volunteers on Garden Volunteer Day.
  • Participate in weekly Thursday OAEC staff meetings, serve on appropriate
  • committees, and participate in the annual staff performance review process.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE JOB

(Please do not apply if you do not meet the following requirements)

  • A love of plants and enthusiasm for the Nursery’s broader mission to protect and cultivate biodiversity.
  • Prior experience with watering, care and maintenance of nursery and greenhouse plants in a professional nursery setting.
  • Excellent organization and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to work well with others, occasionally supervising volunteers, as well as
  • being comfortable working alone.
  • Skill in energetic self-starting, ability to work quickly and efficiently.
  • Comfort and capacity to do sustained and occasionally strenuous physical work.
  • Basic experience with plant pests, diseases and plant nutrition.
  • Proficiency in basic computer skills, including but not limited to working within the Google Drive environment (Docs and Sheets), with Microsoft Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, and adaptability to learn OAEC’s other data management systems. OAEC staff use Apple Mac computers.
  • Experience with point-of-sale systems is preferred, but not required. OAEC uses Vend.

COMPENSATION, LOCATION AND WORK ENVIRONMENT

  • The current annual salary for the Nursery Assistant is set at $32,442 per year at 24 hours/week. Compensation rates and raises for all staff are not negotiable, but are set by the OAEC Staff Executive Council, which is elected by the staff collective.
  • OAEC offers health benefits as well as an employee only contribution 401(k).
  • OAEC offers generous paid time off: a total of 5.5 weeks per year of vacation and floating holidays combined (at 60% full-time equivalent), as well as paid sick time off.
  • The Nursery Assistant will work on-site at OAEC, primarily in the nursery and greenhouses as well as lower gardens.
  • All staff may enjoy the use of OAEC’s beautiful facilities, including our swimming pond, hot tub and sauna, and wildlands. Staff are invited to harvest from the extraordinary array of organic produce, flowers, and fruit grown in our Mother Garden and orchards.
  • When working on-site, staff may participate in the renowned organic meals prepared for retreats and residents by OAEC’s kitchen staff. Staff may take OAEC courses free of charge, and attend the various theater performances, small concerts, talks and celebrations happening on-site throughout the year.

HOW TO APPLY

Before applying, please spend some time looking at the OAEC Nursery’s website (nursery.oaec.org) as well as the OAEC’s website (www.oaec.org) to better learn about the site, the organization, and to understand what we do in the world. You might also look at a recent Annual Update, and some of the various videos on our website, including about our Nursery, Resilient Community Design Program, and a visual tour of our Retreat Center.

OAEC actively seeks a diverse applicant pool and encourages candidates of all backgrounds to apply. OAEC does not discriminate based on an individual’s race, sex, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or on any other basis prohibited by law.

We are accepting applications until 5:00 pm PDT, Friday December 9, 2022 but we’ll accept applications after that until the position is filled. Check the OAEC website Jobs Page to see if the deadline is extended. Early application is encouraged as applicant screening will begin before the deadline. The Nursery Assistant position will start on or after January 2, 2023, or when the position is filled.

Qualified applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and list of three to five references to “Hiring Manager” at with the subject: “Nursery Assistant”. Resumes without cover letters will not be considered.

Please do not contact OAEC directly with questions or inquiries, but refer to this Job Announcement on the OAEC Jobs web page for information. Applicants will be notified by email if OAEC requests more information or an interview. Thank you!