Employment at the Garden

Grower, Windy City Harvest (Chicago, IL)

Job Status:
Requisition Number:
Windy City Harvest
Reports to:
Operations Team
Interns, students, corps crew members and volunteers
Windy City Harvest is committed to a continuum of job training. We value an innovative, entrepreneurial, and practical approach to sustainable agriculture and education. We hold high shared standards for all staff and participants to foster personal and professional growth. This is a hands-on farming position, providing farm production to all Windy City Harvest farm sites and providing guidance to program participants about agriculture. This is a 36-week, seasonal, full-time position scheduled 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Duties and Responsibilities:

In this role, you will be responsible for the following:
• Implementing a crop plan for sustainable vegetable production to meet a designated sales goal; utilizing succession plantings, integrated pest management, and season extension in accordance with standard operating procedures
• Adhering to a weekly production schedule and be accountable for completing farm production tasks in a timely fashion
• Demonstrate enthusiasm for working alongside program participants, including youth, adult learners, and formerly justice-involved trainees in an agriculture focused job development setting
• Assist Production Team in the oversight and training of all on-site staff, including seasonal interns, volunteers, and teen participants, with production and programming tasks
• Forecast weekly harvest availability; maintain and provide accountability measures for weekly harvest. Harvest and process vegetables in compliance with Good Agricultural Practices and Food Safety Modernization Act standards and the Windy City Harvest post-harvest handling guide
• Complete all logs and records in an accurate and timely manner associated with production, site safety, food safety, and sales
• Work at all Windy City Harvest sites and programs as assigned to support a seven-day production schedule (work Saturdays and Sundays as requested) and meet programming goals
• Attend weekly staff meetings as requested with information ready to present about farm production and program participant highlights
• Assist with the lab portion of the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship certificate program
• Assist with Youth Farm programming as requested
• Operate Chicago Botanic Garden vehicles and equipment in a safe and responsible way
• Work with the Production and Sales Team to assist in the distribution of food to local retailers and markets; make produce deliveries as needed
• Supervise the Market Crew in advertising, setting up, running, and closing a farm stand as requested
• Be responsible for site maintenance, such as tool/machinery use and maintenance, and general security during operating hours
• Act as a resource for program information for project partners, community members, Chicago Botanic Garden staff, and the media
• Give scheduled and impromptu tours as needed and train youth in leading tours
• Meet, uphold, and be accountable for aesthetics and site maintenance as outlined in site guidelines; follow weekly landscaping production schedule
• Safely operate landscaping equipment, be responsible for proper maintenance, and maintain up-to-date inventory and safety logs
• Lead weekly safety talks with staff and program participants

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, and constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up trash 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:

• Minimum two seasons of sustainable vegetable production on a 1/4-acre site or larger

• Possess a driver’s license AND access to reliable transportation

• Ability to strategically plan work days with an effective labor plan and able to work independently

• Willing and able to perform physically demanding tasks in all types of weather

• Experience selling produce to a wide variety of markets, including walk-up customers at farm
stands, restaurants, small grocery retailers, and/or wholesale markets

• Experience with organic food production, integrated pest management (IPM), and farm protocols

• Experience in projecting availability and following crop plans

• Experience running harvests and able to adhere to food safety standards

• Experience training and overseeing individuals from varied backgrounds and skill levels

• Flexibility and comfort with shifting demands and schedules. Working outdoors and in an urban
farm setting is dynamic. Evening, early, and weekend shifts are part of this position.

• Preference given to Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship graduates

• Produce Safety Alliance Grower Food Safety certification preferred

• Beekeeping, compost and greenhouse management experience preferred

*The Chicago Botanic Garden requires all existing employees to be fully COVID-19 vaccinated by October 15, 2021; hires after this date must be fully vaccinated upon hire or may request a medical/religious exemption after an offer is extended.*



Apply for Seasonal Grower, Windy City Harvest (Chicago, IL) using the link below:

Click here to apply.



Physical Demands:
This is an urban farm setting. Staff must be able to work on 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 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 pounds.
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, and 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.