How long is a term of service in the Earth Care Cadre?
Earth Care Cadre requires its full-time Members to serve a minimum of 1,700 hours from September through August. You should be available for full-time service, during regular school and business hours, throughout your service year. Evening and weekend events are often required. Minimum-time positions (300 hours) for high school students will also be available through Earth Care’s Youth Allies program. Check our website in May for more information on openings.
What is Earth Care’s role in the Cadre?
The Earth Care Cadre is an AmeriCorps funded program. Earth Care oversees and manages all aspects of the program and facilitates hiring, placement, supervision, and training of Cadre Members. We select Partner Organization for Service Sites based on their alignment with the Cadre program’s goals and their ability to provide meaningful direct service opportunities for Cadre Members. Earth Care also serves as the Service Site for a number of Cadre Members for their day-to-day service.
What is a Service Site?
A Service Site is the location where a Cadre Member will report for day-to-day service, four days a week. This could be a school, a community-based nonprofit, or a local government agency. Service Sites and their staff will be responsible with Earth Care for supervising Members and will report to Earth Care on the progress of the Members and their projects.
Am I too old to be an Earth Care Cadre Member?
There’s no official upper limit to the age of Cadre Members, so you’re welcome to apply. One of the program’s goals, however, is to cultivate a new generation leaders, so early-career applicants will have an advantage. If you’re a mid-career or late-career individual interested in getting involved, you might prefer to volunteer with Earth Care or one of our Service Sites. Join our mailing list to find out about these opportunities throughout the year.
Can I have a job or go to school while serving in the Earth Care Cadre?
Being a Cadre Member is a full-time commitment and needs to be your first priority. Members are expected to be available during all regular school and business hours, and will sometimes/often need to attend evening and weekend events.
Can I apply to Earth Care Cadre with my partner, spouse, or friend?
There’s no way to apply as a “package” to Earth Care Cadre, so both members of a couple would have to apply separately. Such applications will not receive special treatment. You and your partner should mention your relationship in your applications, but we cannot guarantee both of you will be selected.
Can I apply to Earth Care Cadre if I already served in another AmeriCorps program?
Yes; you may serve a lifetime total of four terms of part- or full-time AmeriCorps State or National service, three terms of VISTA service, and two terms of NCCC service. (In theory, you could serve a total of nine terms in public service if you divided your service in this way). The Earth Care Cadre, is an AmeriCorps State program, so your work with us would count for one of your three AmeriCorps State or National terms. You can only receive the value of two full-time Education Awards, however, so if you’ve already earned those, you would not be eligible for an Education Award for your Earth Care Cadre service. Detailed information is here.
What is student loan forbearance?
Cadre Members with certain student loans are eligible to put their loans “on hold” while enrolled in service. You would not have to make payments during your service year, and any interest accrued during your service would be paid by AmeriCorps. Detailed information is here.
What is an Education Award?
Cadre Members who successfully complete their full-time service placements for the year will receive a $5,550 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. Your Education Award can be used to pay qualified student loans or can be invested in future education at a qualifying institution within seven years of service. Detailed information is here.
I’m interested in applying to be a Earth Care Cadre Member, but I don’t have experience with food security or urban agriculture programs. Can I still apply?
Yes! We welcome applicants with all levels of experience, so long as they bring something great to the team. While the program’s main focus is food security, Members engage in a variety of work and issues in the community under a broader umbrella of sustainability. However, for those Members seeking a position in K-12 schools we do ask that you come with a year of formal or informal education experience. Your start-of-service Orientation will help you get comfortable with the part of Cadre service that’s new to you, whether it’s building a garden or helping a community come together to organize a project. Additional training will be conducted at our weekly professional development days throughout the year by Earth Care and Service Site partners.
How is the Earth Care Cadre related to AmeriCorps?
Beginning in 2010, Earth Care received funding from AmeriCorps to run the Cadre, a new public service program. AmeriCorps has not yet announced funding for its 2013-2014 slate of programs. If the Earth Care Cadre is selected for AmeriCorps funding, all Cadre service positions will be AmeriCorps positions and will receive the full benefits described below. We will know our funding status before we enroll Cadre Members.
What can I expect to do as a Earth Care Cadre Member?
Cadre positions vary greatly depending on the Service Site but all function under the collective goal of building food security and sustainability for the Santa Fe, NM area. Cadre Members can expect to spend a portion of their service year building or tending gardens, teaching kids and community members about food systems, nutrition, sustainability, supporting local farmers and advocacy efforts, and helping promote locally grown healthy foods, increasing food access for those most in need, and working on related water, waste and energy projects. Depending on where you serve, the amount of time you spend on each of these types of service will vary. Through the application, interview, and selection process, we’ll do our best to match selected Members to positions that match their experiences and interests.
What kind of benefits will I receive as a Cadre Member?
Full-time Cadre Members who complete their term of service will receive:
- A monthly stipend of $1,100 over an 11-month term of service
- Health insurance, if not covered under another policy
- Child care, if necessary
- Student loan forbearance
- A $5,550 Education Award for past or future education
- Professional development and strong work experience
Will I get housing as a Cadre Member?
No. Earth Care will do our best to assist you in finding an affordable place to live and in some cases we are able to provide a temporary place to stay for those moving to Santa Fe, but housing is the Member’s responsibility.
Are there other programs like this that I can apply to?
Yes! Check out the National program FoodCorps and their list of Model Programs. Many of them are looking for service members.
What are you looking for in an applicant?
There’s no one characteristic we’re looking for in a potential Earth Care Cadre Member; we just want to assemble the most passionate, diverse, hard-working, and fun team we can. We expect we will include some Members from the local community and some from outside. Local community members will have preference as we believe leadership is best when it is homegrown. We think it’s valuable to have Members with different backgrounds, different strengths, and different levels of experience. And we think it’s important to have Members who are good communicators, trustworthy friends, and proven leaders. We want Cadre Members to be early-career leaders who are going places––and we want them to know how to have a good time getting there.
Can I make changes to an application I already submitted?
We will only review the first application you send us, so please be sure to proofread your answers and heed the character limits before submitting. Any additional applications you submit will be disregarded. Changes to the short essay responses are not allowed under any circumstance. In special cases you can petition to revise factual information you submitted; those requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis. If there is an issue with your application, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How competitive is the application process?
Very! Last year, more than 80 candidates applied for just 15 spots. Candidates who have previous experience in outdoor education, school gardens, farming, Farm to School work, community building, community organizing, youth work, non-profits, nutrition, cooking or public education should highlight that experience. But remember that we’re looking to build a diverse and well-rounded class of Service Members, so there’s not any “one” thing we’re looking for––we mostly want candidates who really want to be in the Earth Care Cadre.