Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming
Sustain is a powerful alliance bringing together around 100 organisations
nationally – and hundreds more at local and regional level. We believe everyone should have
access to healthy and sustainably produced food that protects people, animals and planet.
Working together, we run highly effective and creative campaigns, advocacy, networks and
demonstration projects, aiming to catalyse permanent changes in policy and practice, and to
help equip more people and communities with skills as change-makers.
The Sustain alliance has a long history of working on farming and supply chains from its
original inception (as SAFE Alliance in 1992) through to recent work on key post-Brexit farm
policy such as the new Agriculture Act 2020. Sustain and our alliance members have been
champions of agroecological farming and sustainable fishing throughout, and have evolved this
work into also looking at supply chains and the economics of making sustainable farming
attractive to farmers and viable in the longer term. The work we have done has brought about
positive change at the system-level and within policy. Despite this, government action
continues to encourage food production that damages biodiversity and the climate, often to
produce monocultural commodities as inputs to processed food that damages our health.
All scales of food production systems, from landscape to smaller-scale, can contribute to more
sustainable practices when based on agroecology that works with nature to produce diverse,
About this role
The Sustainable Farming Campaign Coordinator position is a policy advocacy and
campaign leadership role for Sustain. The challenges to achieving an agroecological system of
farming and food production are numerous and interconnected. The work of the Coordinator will
cover a range of established policy and campaign areas, and will be a trusted voice for better
farming policy in the UK. In addition, in this leadership role, the Coordinator will also be
able and expected to work with alliance members, other Sustain project coordinators and allies
at local and national level to shape and evolve the priority areas over time. The work is both
strategic and opportunistic. Currently, the priority aims we have agreed with our sustainable farming
working party are to:
- Make agroecological farming the norm in the UK – more farmers engaging, taking up
Environmental Land Management (ELM) and going up ambition levels, with an increase in organic
and agroecological systems. This means changing the policy, standards, incentives and finances
of farming; attraction of for public and private investment (and research and development
funding) directed to better models; as well as ensuring that trade deals and other
farming-relevant policies actively support and do not undermine sustainable farming,
biodiversity, climate and land-use goals.
- Increase shorter, better routes to market – more and diverse supply chains and traders that
are farmer-focused, support agroecology and decent payments, contracts and conditions for
farmers and farm workers, and are economically and politically attractive, promoted, with a
concerted effort to grow the sector (Sustain has a shared aim of 10% of market share by 2025
and 25% by 2030); whilst also ensuring that the problems with the highly concentrated supply
chain model are exposed and addressed.
- Make more land available for diverse agroecological food growing and new entrants,
including for peri-urban farms and horticulture enterprises, as well as engagement on land-use
strategy, horticulture strategy and local authority land use – locally and nationally; and
opposing biofuels and other damaging land use.
Tasks and responsibilities
The Coordinator will have a varied and stimulating workload, and will work in
collaboration with Sustain’s senior management, parliament and public affairs team, and with
project partners. The Coordinator’s principal responsibilities will include:
- Working closely with Sustain’s parliament and public affairs team to undertake advocacy
with relevant government departments, especially Defra, DLUHC and BEIS on farming and land-use
policy, and the Government’s National Food Strategy related areas. This will often be
unpredictable, opportunistic and subject to political forces, particularly in the run-up to the
next General Election.
- Being one of Sustain’s leading spokespeople on Sustainable Farming related matters, for
example in the media, in response to enquiries, and at parliamentary Select Committees,
well-grounded in the principles and details of alliance priorities developing strong links with
the farming community and the organisations that work with them, as well as creating
opportunities for alliance specialists to gain traction.
- Undertaking media and communications work by creating story opportunities and moments;
updating project partners and supporters on the work, news updates, thought-piece blogs and
related activities through communication, a regular newsletter and social media, as well as
engaging with print, broadcast and online media to promote our Sustainable Farming Campaign
activities and agenda.
- Developing compelling advocacy tools, data and materials, including – for example –
economic models of change, analysis of sustainable farming and the impacts of supply chains,
advocacy reports, specialist briefings for policy-makers, and constituency-level data showing
the tangible benefits for local economies and the environment for jobs, nature, carbon, health
and nutrition security.
- Tracking key policy developments, identifying opportunities and ways to influence these,
and – where an alliance approach would be helpful – leading the concerted effort to inform and
- Coordinating Sustain’s long-standing Sustainable Farming Working Party of alliance members
and partners who guide the work and participate in campaigns and advocacy activities
coordinated by Sustain. Cultivate productive conversation and excellent working relationships.
Lead on development of shared policy positions and advocacy initiatives. Formally, the working
party convenes four times a year, and also ad hoc for other partnership work, reports,
responses to consultations, and opportunities for advocacy and media work at key influence
- Liaising with and contributing to a number of important groupings, sister alliances and
advocacy networks whose work may be complementary or may otherwise lack input of food and
- Facilitating Sustainable Farming Campaign connections, member voices and specialist
expertise in support of closely related initiatives within Sustain, including our parallel work
on a Local Food Retail Strategy; Bridging the Gap (a programme of pilots for how public
subsidies could be used to make agroecological food affordable to lower-income people); Food
for the Planet; and the Good Food Trade for food and farming standards in international trade
- Cultivate new ideas, campaign opportunities and partnerships to pursue existing priorities
and respond strategically or opportunistically to new ones.
- Lead on fundraising activities to secure capacity and resources to extend and enhance this
programme. Also to support fundraising efforts at Sustain to enhance, extend campaigns or
develop new ones, contributing ideas and expertise to fundraising initiatives that may be of
benefit to programme partners.
- Oversee, develop and deliver on key elements of the Sustainable Farming Campaign work plan.
- Line-manage one or more staff member, paid intern or volunteer working on the project, or
on closely related themes, and managing consultants and external partnerships as needed.
The Sustainable Farming Campaign Coordinator will also:
- Actively identify ways to support diverse groups through their work, in line with Sustain’s
policy on improving diversity in the food movement, including supporting racial and
- Maintain excellent financial and other records, to help with accountability and open to
public and funder scrutiny. The Coordinator will work with Sustain’s finance and management
team to report to the funder, relevant project working parties and sub-groups, and the Sustain
Council of Trustees (who ultimately also report to Sustain alliance members).
- Contribute to the mutually supportive culture of Sustain, among the staff team, and project
- Undertake any other responsibilities in connection with the work that may arise from time
For this leadership role, Sustain is seeking an experienced, self-motivated and
committed individual, who is great at working in a team and developing positive relationships
with people and organisations, and who has the following skills and experience.
- Background and experience in the farming sector preferably with demonstrable experience and
interest in sustainable farming and growing
- Experience of running successful national or local campaigns to achieve change, and
understanding of a range of campaigns and advocacy methods and how to apply them
- Strong experience of engaging with a wide range of stakeholders in the formation and
delivery of a shared vision, plan or programme
- Knowledge and confidence to undertake policy advocacy work with civil servants, ministers,
industry bodies and public communications
- Experience of project development, developing funding bids and successful fundraising, as
well as good funder relationships and stewardship
- Experience of establishing and running a governance structure for a multi-stakeholder
- Exceptional oral and written communication skills in fluent spoken and written English
- Ability to work independently, with high levels of self-motivation and an ability to think
on the spot and respond to a rapidly changing political environment
- Good project management, time management and organisational skills and the ability to work
under pressure and to meet deadlines
- Experience of administering a budget, invoices and good financial records.
- Willingness and aptitude to line-manage another person (or other people) working on similar
areas of work, either as a member of staff, paid intern or volunteer.
- Demonstrable commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and racial justice.
- Energy, enthusiasm, creativity and tenacity
- Experience of working effectively to influence policy and/or campaigning for change
- Experience of working in, or with, the farming and food retail sector
- Experience of establishing metrics to track change and impact over time
- Experience of writing a detailed vision or plan which would impact multiple stakeholders
- Experience of organising online or in person events and an appreciation of what works well
The person appointed will contribute to the mutually supportive culture of Sustain (including
staff and project participants) in which equality and diversity are not just respected but
promoted. Visit our
website here for some useful advice if you are applying for a job at Sustain.
Sustain is recruiting for this role as part of our Ethnicity Confident and Disability Confident
schemes. Applicants who meet all the essential criteria, and who let us know voluntarily (via
our Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form) that you would like to be considered in this way, will
be guaranteed a first-stage interview.
Sustain welcomes applications from individuals, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, class,
socio-economic background, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and/or
belief. We are happy to discuss and consider flexible working at the point of hire. We
particularly encourage applications from those from ethnic minority backgrounds, people with
diverse sexual and gender identities and people with disabilities. This is because these groups
are currently underrepresented at Sustain. Where two or more candidates are judged to be of
equal merit, priority may be given to a candidate who belongs to a group less represented at
How to apply
Download full job description here.
To apply for this position, please email [email protected] the following:
- a CV (maximum two pages)
- a Covering Letter telling us about your experience and how this relates to the personal
specification (maximum two pages)
- a completed Equal Opportunities Monitoring form
As we are recruiting for several positions over this period, please put Sustainable
Farming Coordinator in the subject line of your covering email along with your name.
Deadline: 10am, Thursday 15 June 2023
First-stage interviews for this position will take place online (via Zoom) on Monday 26 June
2023, with second-stage interviews to take place in-person on Monday 3 July 2023. Please
indicate in your application if you are not available on these dates, although we cannot
guarantee we will be able to accommodate requests for alternative timings.
Find out more & apply
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