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Indigenous Food Systems and Foods Sovereignty Advisor (Applied Research and Extension) (22-09)

County Locations: Riverside County, San Diego County

Date Posted: June 10, 2024
Closing Date: August 15, 2024

Job Description: Download

Position Overview

The University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) offers a unique recruitment opportunity for a UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Indigenous Food Systems and Foods Sovereignty Advisor. UC ANR coordinates a statewide network of researchers and educators in partnership with Counties that are dedicated to the development and application of knowledge to address local agricultural, environmental, youth, and health issues. Over 200 UC ANR UCCE academics conduct research, outreach and education from locally based Cooperative Extension offices in over 70 locations. Our mission is to bring the University of California directly to Californians through research, extension, and education programs that support:

  • Sustainable, safe, and nutritious food production and delivery
  • Economic success in a global economy
  • A sustainable, healthy, and productive environment
  • Science literacy and youth development

By working and living among those we serve, UC ANR expands the University of California’s reach to engage all people and communities in California, ensuring equal access to the UC system.

Location Headquarters: San Diego County UCCE Office, San Diego, CA.

Purpose: The Indigenous Food Systems and Food Sovereignty Advisor is responsible for developing and delivering a robust applied research and extension program in partnership with Native American Tribes, Tribal communities, and Tribal-serving organizations to strengthen Indigenous food systems as well as Indigenous food sovereignty in San Diego and Riverside counties. This new position will include cultural heritage preservation, organic farming or gardening, climate resilience, food policy, and/or Indigenous land stewardship. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated commitment to building partnerships and uphold a commitment to meaningful engagement and advancing efforts that reflect the needs of our community partners.

Applied Research, Extension and Education

Developing effective outreach programs with Tribal communities requires deep listening and a commitment toward building and sustaining relationships over time. The advisor will partner with Tribal communities and coalitions, as well as public and private land managers, and government agencies including for example with the Intertribal Agriculture Council, NRCS, and RCDs to develop their research and outreach program. Opportunities for extension activities may include:

  • Co-creating, implementing, and evaluating Indigenous food system and food sovereignty initiatives identified by Tribal communities.
  • Coordinating directly with the various regional Tribes and Tribal serving organizations to insure good communication, coordination and program alignment.
  • Strengthening Tribal capacity to enhance production of culturally relevant foods, fibers and medicines through farms, gardens, and/or landscape level stewardship at the household, Tribe and county levels.
  • Supporting the development of climate-resilience plans including, for example, drought planning and mitigation, fire risk assessment and cultural burns, and co-management for Indigenous land stewardship.
  • Contributing to regional and statewide policy dialogue on building a more resilient California landscape while protecting Tribal cultural heritage and cultural resources.
  • Developing culturally relevant outreach programming that can be replicated and shared statewide.
  • Facilitating the return of ancestors and cultural items to California Indians and other Native American Tribes following the UC Native American Cultural Affiliation and Repatriation Policy.
  • Developing agreements, such as Memorandums of Understanding, with tribes and tribal-led organizations outlining commitments and responsibilities including: communication, data collection, usage, interpretation, and publications; educational and vocational training programs.
  • Facilitating vocational training opportunities for Indigenous youth in partnership with local Tribes and tribal networks integrating western and Indigenous perspectives around Indigenous food and farming systems and how these trainings can support tribal food sovereignty.
  • Identifying, and assisting whenever appropriate in procurement of resources to support Tribes and tribal-led organizations in achieving related goals.


The Indigenous Food Systems and Food Sovereignty Advisor will foster an Indigenous perspective and approach to codeveloping their research in partnership with Tribes and Tribal communities to uplift their desires, goals, and priorities. Before communicating any work, the Advisor will consult directly with each Tribe to understand their particular situation and desires, and also interacting with Tribal-led organizations to ensure programs do not compete with or duplicate the work of each other.  Possible research areas or topics of inquiry could include:

  • Conducting a comprehensive Indigenous food sovereignty assessment in the two counties and identifying key barriers and opportunities to enhance Indigenous food security, food sovereignty and land management.
  • Research to promote climate resilience and climate smart agriculture and food systems with respect to Indigenous community priorities, that can inform regional climate change preparedness and planning initiatives and be replicated by other Tribes.
  • Research policies and best practices to enhance Indigenous land stewardship, including innovative comanagement models, that can enhance food security, improve the production and supply of culturally appropriate foods (as defined by the Tribes) as well as improve mental, physical and cultural health.

This is an exciting opportunity to develop and deliver relevant program content to have meaningful impacts in local communities.

This position will significantly augment ANR’s capacity to network with and serve California’s Indigenous communities to enhance food security, food sovereignty and climate resilience. The advisor will serve as a liaison among other ANR programs in the counties to strengthen outreach with tribal communities and ensure that UC ANR academics and staff understand and implement best practices for protecting tribal cultural resources and honoring tribal sovereignty. Supporting and collaborating units may include CE advisors, CE and AES faculty at UCB, UCD and UCR, relevant Statewide Programs, Small Farms, Diversified Farming Systems, DEIJ Program Team (PT), and California Communities PTs, the Native American Community Partnerships and Urban Agriculture workgroups, CFHL, UCCE EFNEP and 4-H.


The advisor would be expected to collaborate first and foremost with Tribes (both federally and non-federally recognized), Tribal communities and Tribal-serving organizations such as United Indian Health Services, Tribal TANF, Intertribal Agriculture Council, Climate Science Alliance, First Nations Development Institute, among others. They would also work with the NRCS statewide Tribal liaison, Tribal Liaison to the California Governor, the Tribal EPA working group, the statewide association of Tribal heritage preservation officers, as well as local and regional land management agencies. They may collaborate with marketing advisory boards, and county and Farm Bureau offices.

Counties of ResponsibilityThis position will be headquartered in San Diego County and will serve the Counties of San Diego and Riverside, CA.

Reporting Relationship: The CE Advisor serves under the administrative guidance of the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) San Diego County Director with input from the UCCE Riverside County Director.

Qualifications and Skills Required

Required Qualifications

Education: A minimum of a Master’s degree in food systems, nutrition, horticulture, agronomy, urban agriculture, natural resource management, environmental science, Native American Studies, geography, community development, and/or related fields is required at the time of appointment. 

Additional Requirements

  • Lived or professional experience working with, or preferably in, Tribal or Indigenous communities or Tribal governments.
  • Experience working with clientele across a wide range of socio-economic classes and ethnicities.
  • Ability and means to travel on a flexible schedule as needed, proof of liability and property damage insurance on vehicle used is required. Must possess valid California Driver's License to drive a County or University vehicle.
  • Experience with community-led or community based participatory research and education methods.
  • This is not a remote position. The candidate must be available to work onsite. In accordance with UC ANR Flexible Work Guidelines flexible work agreements are available upon approval by supervisors and periodic re-evaluation.

Skills Required

To be successful, the CE Advisor requires skills in the following area:

Technical Competence and Impact

The candidate should have a deep understanding of Tribal and Indigenous Communities and be able to design and implement a program that leads to positive changes and impact within the community and beyond. There is an expectation that advisors evolve and grow across their career and respond to changes in communities and clientele needs. 


Demonstrated excellence in written, oral, and interpersonal and information technology skills.  Public speaking to stakeholders is a routine part of this position. 

Demonstrated ability to share complex information in a manner tailored to the audience.

Collaboration, Teamwork and Flexibility

Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively as a team member with stakeholders.  Able to adapt as circumstances warranted.  

Aware and willing to actively promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Lifelong Learning

Demonstrated commitment to ongoing professional improvement. Ability to shift program focus as times and organizational needs change.

Learn more about Skills and Areas of Programmatic Review (including Professional Competence, University and Public Service and Affirmative Action and DEI) at: https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/files/319460.pdf

Desired Experience

  • At least 5 years of experience working with Tribal communities around food systems and food sovereignty, food policy, cultural heritage preservation, organic farming or gardening, climate resilience, and/or Indigenous land stewardship, are highly desired.
  • Passion and desire to pursue a career in Cooperative Extension.
  • Experience in building partnerships and with multidisciplinary teams.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively plan projects, manage teams and design and implement an applied research and outreach program, including setting measurable goals and objectives.

About UC ANR

The University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) consists of a network of scientists and educators working in partnership across the state of California.  We are committed to developing and supporting healthy food systems, healthy environments, healthy communities, and healthy Californians.  UC ANR administers Statewide Programs and Initiatives (SWP/I’s) that focus research and extension on solving priority problems that engage ANR academics and UC faculty in integrated teams to work on complex issues requiring trans-disciplinary approaches; as well as UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE), which is responsible for program development and delivery in counties throughout the state.

Learn more about

 UC ANR at https://UCANR.edu

Salary & Benefits

Salary: The salary range for this Cooperative Extension Advisor position is currently Assistant Rank, Step I ($79,500) to Step VI ($100,900). Salary adjustments effective July 1, 2024, may apply. Step placement in the advisor series is based on applicable experience and professional qualifications.  For information regarding Cooperative Extension Advisor salary scales, please refer to the University of California website: https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/files/358478.pdf

If the successful candidate is currently a UCCE Advisor, the candidate will be offered the position without change to the candidate’s current rank, step, salary and/or appointment terms; and if applicable, is eligible to retain indefinite status.  

 This position is eligible for indefinite status following three successful reviews and subject to terms noted in UC ANR Policy and Procedure Manual, Section 315 https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/files/118501.pdf 

Benefits: The University of California offers comprehensive benefits including health insurance, retirement plans, two days per month paid vacation, one day per month paid sick leave, and paid holidays. This position is eligible for sabbatical leave privileges as per the terms of the University policy. For more information, refer to the UC Benefits website at: https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/compensation-and-benefits/index.html 

How to Apply

If interested in this position, please visit: https://recruit.ucanr.edu/ and choose “applicants” (refer to position #22-09)

Closing Date:  To assure full consideration, application packets must be received by August 15, 2024 (open until filled)


Contact: Tatiana Avoce; email:  tavoce@ucanr.edu

Applicants may wish to explore the UC Davis Services for International Students and Scholars web page at https://siss.ucdavis.edu and the UC ANR Green Card Sponsorship Guidelines & FAQ's for reference.

University of California Cooperative Extension

As a University employee, you will be required to comply with all applicable University policies and/or collective bargaining agreements, as may be amended from time to time.  Federal, state, or local government directives may impose additional requirements.  

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy.

As of January 1, 2014, ANR is a smoke- and tobacco-free environment in which smoking, the use of smokeless tobacco products, and the use of unregulated nicotine products (e-cigarettes), is strictly prohibited.