Nonprofit Management for Community Food and Farm Programs Online


December 7 – January 16, 2021 

Enroll Here

Note:  while much of the focus of this course is on food and farming community-led nonprofits, students interested in organizing around “non-food” topics will also find this course valuable and are welcome!

Course Description: Nonprofit organizations can be a strong voice for the local food movement! Whether you’re looking to build a new community garden, change city policy for backyard chickens, improve working conditions for farmworkers, or establish a neighborhood food bank, chances are, there’s a nonprofit near you with a similar mission. This course will discuss the foundations of nonprofit work including how to start your own nonprofit organization. We’ll research and review how to plan and implement successful programs; how to find the funds to execute your mission; and how to work with members of the community to reach your goals. From grant writing and fundraising to advocacy and marketing, learn the basics of how community-based nonprofits are on the forefront of sustainable and local food initiatives across the country.

Instructor: Jennifer Santry

janchcieknInstructor Bio: Jen Santry has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 15 years as an environmental educator, land and animal conservationist, and local food advocate. She received her Master’s in Nonprofit Management from Regis University and a Bachelor’s in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma. As the Community Programs Director at the High Country Conservation Center in Summit County, Colorado, Jen established sustainable food programs including community gardens, K-12 educational programs, college student-run CSAs, and urban farming policies. She’s been a volunteer, a grant writer, a board member, an office administrator, and an executive director for several nonprofits over the years. Jen currently lives on her farmstead in Sequim, WA, and works at Peninsula College as an instructor and educational planner. She’s excited to share her experiences facilitating groundbreaking, local food and farming programs.

Student Learning Objectives – students will:

  • Explore the various types of nonprofit organizations focusing on community food and farm programs.
  • Identify the legal and organizational requirements for starting a new nonprofit organization.
  • Examine best practices for program development and execution.
  • Gain experience in researching and writing grants for nonprofit funding.
  • Realize your potential to engage the public in your nonprofit’s mission.

Credits: 3 (transferable from UMass to other universities)

Class size:  Limited to 15

Course Outline and Weekly Topics

Module 1:  Overview of Food and Farm-Related Nonprofit Organizations and Programs – social justice, environmental, educational, food banks, land trusts…

Module 2: How to Start a Nonprofit Organization – determining mission, applying for nonprofit status, and organizational structure

Module 3: Program Development – budgeting for programs, measuring your success, and fee-for-service opportunities (CSAs, Garden Plot Fees, Educational Workshops, Farm Stands…)

Module 4:  Grant Writing and Fundraising – searching for grants, grant application process, and strategic fundraising

Module 5: Volunteer and Community Involvement – public policy, grassroots organizing, coordinating volunteers, marketing your message to the public (social media and advocacy), and working with local municipalities (building community gardens, urban farming legislation, food policy councils…)

Grades will be assessed as follows
5 Online Discussions (“Food Blog”)               30 points
4 Quizzes                                                                       20 points
Nonprofit Spotlight Paper                                 15 points
Program Proposal                                                   15 points
Grant Application Narrative                            20 points
TOTAL POINTS                                                       100 points

Grades will be assigned as follows
A  =  95-100 total points
A – =  90-94
B+ =  87-89
B   = 83-86
B-  =  80-82
C+  =  77-79|
C    =  73-76
C-   =  70-72
D+ =  67-69
D    =  60-66
F    =  59 or below


This class is part of the Sustainable Food and Farming Online Certificate Program and will count toward the Associate of Science degree as well as the Online B.S. degree.  Online classes cost $482/credit.

To begin planning for the future, see….

Annual Class Schedule

NOTE: The UMass Sustainable Food and Farming Certificate has been declared eligible for Veterans Educational Benefits. For instructions see: Veterans Benefits.

If you are not interested in earning college credit, there are many non-credited workshops and short courses you can take outside of the university.  For a list see: non-university workshops and courses.

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