By Joanna Levin, Hannah Sherman, and Lauren Dvonch
January 21, 2021
Prior to the fall quarter, Farmlink Project team member Audrey Slatkin had served as head of the Farms Research Team, but as team members returned to school and leadership shifted, she pivoted towards a new role—Director of People Operations. As Director of People Ops, Audrey became the internal voice of The Farmlink Project team and undertook the responsibility of managing the application and selection process for new members seeking to join the team.
Founded by a scrappy group of college students only eight months ago, The Farmlink Project had not had a formal application process in place for recruiting and interviewing applicants before Audrey took on this new role. She worked to create an accessible, involved, and comprehensive application process, beginning first by organizing information sessions to engage those interested in volunteering. These information sessions and applications began in late-October and early-November, and as Audrey described it, “from then on it was a full-on sprint.” Around that time, The Farmlink Project was featured on both CBS and Good Morning America, and our partnership with Chipotle began, catalyzing a steep increase in applicant interest. By the application deadline on November 30, 170 people had applied to join our team, and the difficult and thorough process of selecting new members from this competitive pool of qualified applicants began.
Audrey first read through the applications blindly, looking only at applicants’ educational background and professional experience and why they were interested in The Farmlink Project. She then read through the short answer part of the applications where applicants were able to showcase their voice and share how they could see themselves growing The Farmlink Project’s mission. “It was very inspiring to see how many people were inspired by this mission. People being so passionate made me feel even more proud of what we are doing here.” Audrey then worked with a group of team leads to conduct interviews and place accepted applicants on teams.
Sierra Fang-Horvath, head of the Social Justice Committee, was one of these team leads who aided Audrey in the interview process. Her vision is for the members of The Farmlink Project to “begin to more closely represent the communities and people we serve.” She is inspired by the diverse backgrounds and passion for change of our newest members. By incorporating voices that are often overlooked in the food system, she hopes that The Farmlink Project will be able to “systemically impact marginalized communities from the inside outward.” As The Farmlink Project continues to grow, it is our hope that we can amplify the voices of those from all backgrounds and that these 75 new members will prove invaluable in ensuring that The Farmlink Project becomes a sustainable and equitable organization for years to come.
The interview, placement, and on-boarding processes were chaotic at times in our virtual working environment, but ultimately led to the addition of 75 amazing new members to the Farmlink family, all coming from a wide range of backgrounds to join teams across our organization. New member Kyla was inspired to join the Farms Team after learning about The Farmlink Project through Instagram. During the application process, she met team lead Claudia, who decided that the Farms Team was the perfect fit for Kyla to pursue her passions! She is most looking forward to “making a continuous, daily impact and getting to meet new people.” Jackson, one of two new members to join the Impact Team, worked on a family farm in Vermont before joining The Farmlink Project and loves bringing stories about small-scale farmers to light. Jackson embodies the passion and ambition that drives The Farmlink Project forward and is looking forward to becoming a part of the tight-knit community of the Farmlink family.
We are incredibly grateful for the incredible work Audrey has done in spearheading our recruitment, application, and on-boarding processes and are thrilled to get to work with our 75 new members. An internal culture of passion, respect, and ambition is crucial to the success of The Farmlink Project, and as our organization nearly doubles in size, we strive to maintain these core values moving forward. Each new member brings a unique skill set and perspective that will reinforce The Farmlink Project values and allow us to tackle even larger goals as we move forward into 2021.