Aquaponics Farm Manager – Dahlia Campus in Denver, CO at Mental Health Center of Denver

Date Posted: 11/15/2017

Job Snapshot

Job Description

POSITION SUMMARY: The Aquaponic Farm Manager is responsible for all major aspects and function of the greenhouse growing systems, regulations, employees, and general business functions of the Dahlia Campus Greenhouse. The Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) seeks to achieve efficient and effective operations of the Dahlia Campus Greenhouse to produce healthy food for the community. This position is a multi-faceted role involving the opportunity to work in a state of the art aquaponic greenhouse, in collaboration with an integrative campus: Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being.

SALARY RANGE: $19.00/hr. – $23.00/hr.

GENERAL HOURS: M-F varies by season and days based on harvesting, distribution, and event schedule; occasional weekend and evening hours

Duties include overseeing food production and distribution, conducting and supporting outreach to restaurants and community members, maintaining a comprehensive operating manual that includes both standard and emergency operating procedures, developing and enforcing data collection procedures for tracking purposes, bookkeeping and customer account management, identifying opportunities for performance improvements, and meeting production and financial goals.


  • General Greenhouse Duties: perform general maintenance and cleaning; test, record, and monitor key system parameters of water quality (pH, temperature, nutrients, etc); manage and optimize environmental control system, including seasonal adjustment of computer settings; stock, move, and harvest fish; monitor fish health and adjust daily feed schedule as needed; order and maintain appropriate amounts of all necessary inventory including fish food, nutrient additions, and packaging materials; track farm expenses; create and maintain standard operating procedures and appropriate logs; ensure that all farm practices are conducted following GAP, HACCP, and food safety
  • Oversee: proper data collection tracking harvest log and performing data entry; monitor plant health for nutrient deficiencies; identify and manage pests/diseases using integrated pest management (IPM); follow all necessary protocol for licensing and application of organic-approved pesticides; identify and lead system improvement projects; identify vulnerability in farm operations and develop, implement, and monitor risk management plans; troubleshoot mechanical, environmental, and biological
  • Coordinate: with MHCD personnel to address building-related issues; give public and private greenhouse tours as needed; provide assistance for training volunteers and other individuals; facilitate biweekly meetings with all greenhouse staff to ensure smooth communication.
  • Food Production and Distribution: create and maintain schedule for seeding and transplanting crops according to seasonal variations and market demands; perform and enforce proper cleaning/sanitizing tasks to meet food safety guidelines when entering the greenhouse and while handling food; harvest/pack greens, lettuces, and fish; make local deliveries; oversee set up and staffing of seasonal Farmers Market each week (evening hours); determine product pricing, discounts, and related revenue in line with farm financials.

Oversee and Track the Following:

  • Direct Sales to Community: plan contents and create harvest schedule for weekly food box program and seasonal Farmers Market booth; oversee organization and storage of produce for sale to the community; utilize Farmigo platform to fill orders and conduct customer relations and account management; respond to food box related inquiries; identify and establish relationships with potential drop-off sites for the food box program; make deliveries of food boxes as needed; help set up and manage greenhouse booth at seasonal farmers market.
  • Sales to Restaurants: adhere to food safety regulations; make deliveries of food as needed in collaboration with other employees; assist with maintaining relationships with chefs and seek out new restaurant and retail customers; market and promote produce and fish collaboratively with other farms and gardens partners.
  • Donations: weigh and track produce designated for donation; make deliveries of donations to distribution points, as
  • Farms and Gardens Partner Engagement: attend special events at or on behalf of the Dahlia Campus for Health and Well-Being; attend weekly meetings with Farm and Gardens partners and outreach team; collaborate with MHCD for PR and marketing to community/customer

EDUCATION: Master’s degree in Agriculture, Aquaculture, Horticulture, Biology, or Environmental Science; alternatively, combination of related work experience and coursework. in biology, ecology, sociology, urban agriculture, and public health. Must have valid Colorado driver’s license and pass background check.


  • 3 to 5 years experience in farming and farm management
  • Previous controlled environment (greenhouse) agricultural production experience required, experience with Deep Water Culture (DWC) aquaponics preferred
  • 3 to 5 years experience managing a diverse team
  • Thorough understanding of biology, chemistry, aquaculture, (agro)ecology, crop planning
  • Extremely strong attention to detail and thorough follow-through
  • Strong technological and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to give, receive, and analyze information, formulate work plans
  • Ability to think quickly and respond to situations under pressure
  • Experience with Microsoft Office, Google Drive, Quickbooks, Square, database management
  • Ability to perform basic arithmetic quickly (conversions, )
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills; comfortable with public speaking
  • Excellent interpersonal skills; ability to communicate respectfully with diverse persons and community
  • Ability to be sensitive to community members and respond to community needs
  • Enjoy working in a greenhouse environment
  • Passion for urban agriculture and food systems, production, and justice
  • Supervise Assistant Farm Manager and coordinate workflow and space needs with Dahlia Campus Site Coordinator and Outreach Specialist.
  • Work with greenhouse staff, volunteers, interns, and trainees to lead project activities, greenhouse tasks, and food distribution duties
  • Facilitate essential workflow by assigning duties and responsibilities to greenhouse staff in order to ensure that all tasks are completed in the necessary timeframe
  • 20,000 gallon deep water culture (DWC) aquaponic system consisting of two 2,800 gallon filtration-in-tank (FIT) raceway fish tanks, 400 gallon media bed system
  • Wadsworth Versistep environmental control system
  • Refrigerated box truck
  • Lift 50 above the head and carry awkward, heavy items
  • Repeated bending over and extended reaching
  • Stand for 5+ hours at a time
  • Work long hours (occasionally 10+ if necessary)
  • Work efficiently in bright, humid, and wet greenhouse environment
  • Withstand extreme temperature variation (58-80 degrees F)
  • Manage a fast-paced working environment
  • Frequent multi-tasking under high-risk conditions when biological systems are at stake
  • Handle a wide variety of farm elements including: algae, biofilm, fish waste, uneaten fish food, decomposing plant material, bacteria, fungus, dead fish, and plant pests
  • Requires on-call and occasional weekend hours


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