Site helps farms click with workers
Founder seeks to speed connections between employees, employers
By STEVE BROWN
During the past two years Megan Willis has helped run a small farm in southeastern Massachusetts. Each winter, she must hire employees for the upcoming growing season.
"From this, I have learned the difficulties in finding new employees, but also how difficult it can be for workers to find us," she said.
To make that connection for herself and others, Willis has launched a new website -- FarmandFoodJobs.com -- to help farmers and workers find each other. She also uses a blog, e-mail and Twitter to advertise openings.
The response has been positive, Willis said, with most listings so far from New England, but with postings from every region of the country.
"I just ask farms to let me know if they have applicants," she said. "I watch how many hits the website gets, so I know people are looking."
Most of the farms, both nonprofit and for-profit, are either certified organic or use organic practices. Most jobs are seasonal and some are full time, but management positions also have been posted.
Farmers contact Willis via e-mail, and she puts the postings on the website.
"I read it like I was applying," she said.
The big difference between Farm and Food Jobs and other connection services, such as World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, she said, is that posting and applying on the website is free.
The more people use the website, the better it will work, Willis said. "Farm and Food Jobs must reach a critical mass to function properly, and the faster we can get there the faster we can start matching businesses with workers."
Farm and Food Jobs: FarmandFoodJobs.com
On Twitter: Twitter.com/FarmandFoodJobs