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Farm Production Crew Leader

Requisition Number: 
Windy City Harvest
Job Status: 
Join a team of dedicated, mission-driven urban farmers to oversee a crew in the Windy City Harvest Corps job-training program. Windy City Harvest is looking for a farm production crew leader who is prepared for hard work and is self-motivated with high energy for day-to-day manual labor. Experience working with men and women with low levels of work experience is necessary. The crew leader ensures that all participants receive clear, high-quality training in job readiness skills. Crew leaders will work on multiple Windy City Harvest sites with farm coordinators to train Harvest Corps participants in large-scale farming, post-harvest handling, compost maintenance, general landscaping, and soft skills, such as communication and attendance, and site maintenance to follow the Chicago Botanic Garden's Kris Jarantoski standard. The crew leader also assists with job development classes on Fridays. The ideal candidate for this position will be well-versed in leading others, verbal communication, and hands-on work, and excited about organic farming techniques, comfortable with the use of small farm machinery, and able to problem solve. The mission of the Chicago Botanic Garden is to cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. The crew leader must understand and commit to upholding this mission. Please refer to our website for details about the Corps program:
Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role, you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Work closely with the Harvest Corps coordinator and Windy City Harvest site coordinators to carry out daily work assignments for crews of up to six participants
  • Drive participants to and from assigned farm site
  • Lead participants on developing entry-level employability skills, such as appropriate workplace behavior, attendance, communication, pace of work, teamwork, and workplace safety
  • Guide and work with crew on related site tasks such as planting, weeding, harvesting, post-harvest handling, composting, and site maintenance
  • Maintain the production, monitoring, logging and sifting of compost windrows
  • Oversee site-related tasks, including tool and machinery use and maintenance, deliveries, and general security during operating hours
  • Enforce Windy City Harvest standards through weekly feedback sessions. This will require short daily notes of performance for weekly feedback sessions. Crew members receive formal written and verbal feedback from the crew leader each Friday.
  • Support participants with an Individual Employment Plan—the IEP goal is to connect farm-transferrable skills to employment goals 
  • Maintain clear, accurate records for payroll and grant compliance procedures
  • Assist with job development classes with the Harvest Corps coordinator and program assistant. Provide general support for job development and job search activities, including assisting participants with writing resumes and cover letters, completing job applications, and preparing for interviews.
  • Maintain a safe and secure work environment, and log safety talks
  • Act as a resource for program information for project partners, community members, Garden staff, and media as required
  • Participate in Windy City Harvest Food Safety Training, ServSafe Food Handler's training, and University of Illinois Good Agricultural Practices training and assist in food safety training for all Corps crew members

Our ideal candidate will have the following: 

  • A valid driver's license with a good driving record
  • Candidate must have leadership experience and be comfortable giving constructive verbal and written feedback to participants in order to prepare them for full-time, entry-level job positions or continue on to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship program
  • Candidate must be dependable, responsible, and able to work independently, experienced with problem solving and adaptable to a flexible schedule 
  • Adaptable communication skills: Microsoft Office, email, phone, in person, etc. 
  • Understanding and commitment to the model of transitional jobs is essential
  • Be available to work full-time Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., March through October 2018
  • Experience working with organic vegetable production is essential
  • Commitment to the mission of Windy City Harvest
  • Commitment to being a supportive resource for program participants, community residents, and project partners
  • A detail-oriented, flexible, dependable and punctual work ethic
  • Experience following strict best practices for post-harvest handling and food safety standards
Physical Demands: 
This is an urban farm setting. Staff members must be able to work on their feet all day. in all weather conditions, performing manual labor. There will be frequent lifting, standing, walking, bending, farm tool usage, and machinery operation, as well as speaking to the public, staff, and program participants. There will also be daily use of small farm machinery and post-harvest handling equipment. Staff is required to lift, push, and pull items up to 50 lbs.
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.