Aquaponic Production Assistant (Chicago, IL)

Requisition Number: 
Windy City Harvest
Job Status: 
Windy City Harvest is looking for a seasonal Aquaponics and Vertical Farming (AVF) Assistant to work with our team of dedicated agricultural job trainers. This is a unique opportunity to build and operate a production-scale aquaponics system that includes a vertical farming component. The position offers an exceptional opportunity for someone interested in increasing their depth of experience in these alternative growing disciplines. They will assist in the fabrication and assembly of a 6,000-square-foot production aquaponics system. The person in this position will support operations procedures and ongoing system operation growing for wholesale markets. This is a seasonal, full-time position anticipated to start in April 2021 and end in September 2021, working Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role you will be responsible for assisting in some or all of the following: 

  • Fabrication of custom system components
  • Assembly and construction of production system
  • Assembly and construction of nursery  system
  • Following ongoing operational procedures and production schedule
  • Production propagation (nursery)
  • Supporting system ipm operations (logging, inputs, etc.)
  • Produce harvest, post-harvest handling and packaging
  • Aquaculture (fish) management
  • Aquaculture (fish) harvest
  • General system maintenance
  • Operational record keeping, water testing, and management
  • Interact with general public (tours, education)  
  • Act as a resource for program information for project partners, community members, participants, staff, and media
  • Report production activities weekly

Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired:

  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
  • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
  • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.

Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Strong interest in aquaponics and vertical farming
  • Experience operating an aquaponic or hydroponic system
  • Produce production and harvest experience
  • Ability to accomplish tasks without direct supervision
  • Analytic approach, detail oriented
  • Collaborative skills
  • Strong basic math skills
  • Ability to keep records and perform simple laboratory testing procedures
  • Light construction experience; some experience using power tools, strong willingness to learn new mechanical and construction skills
  • A valid driver’s license and access to reliable transportation
  • Experience promoting on social media platforms
  • Demonstrated experience engaging communities and individuals focusing on farming
  • Commitment to the mission of Windy City Harvest job training


Physical Demands: 
The initial portion of this position (construction) requires willingness and ability to use light power tools, ladders, and assembly of large aquaponics components. Must be able to lift 40 pounds with control. The operational portion of this position is mostly active, standing, walking, bending, including lifting and placing of items, use of stairs, and low ladders. Some use of office equipment may be included, including computers and printers.
Why Apply?: 

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a M/F, Disabled, and Vet EEO/AA Employer.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, or basis of disability, or any other federal, state, or local protected class.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.