Instructor, Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship (Chicago, IL)

Job Status:
Requisition Number:
Windy City Harvest
Reports to:
Windy City Harvest Program Director
WCH Production Assistants, WCH Apprenticeship Students, Interns, Volunteers
Join a team of enthusiastic, dedicated, and mission-oriented agriculture professionals and job trainers! Windy City Harvest, a sustainable urban agriculture jobs-training program, is seeking an experienced instructor to facilitate our nine-month sustainable urban agriculture certificate program. They will work collaboratively with the Windy City Harvest team and City Colleges of Chicago to provide a supportive and innovative learning experience for Apprenticeship students.

The Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Instructor will oversee all aspects of the sustainable urban agriculture training program. This program is a hands-on, technical training in sustainable urban agriculture offered in partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago. Students receive a combination of classroom, lab, and field experience at the Arturo Velasquez Institute (AVI) and at Windy City Harvest farm sites, complemented by a 12-week paid work experience at a Windy City Harvest (WCH) farm or partnering urban-farming operation. The Apprenticeship Instructor will support students in developing job-readiness skills and mentor students in finding meaningful employment within the field of urban agriculture after graduation.

Classroom goals are based on the implementation of a successful, sustainable production operation and associated green industry training and employment activities. The Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship instructor should have proven experience working with adult learners from a variety of backgrounds and a commitment to teamwork.

The ideal candidate has a depth of knowledge and experience in education, workforce development, and production farming. The Apprenticeship Instructor will bring an innovative, entrepreneurial, collaborative, and community-focused perspective to sustainable urban agriculture.

For more information on the WCH Apprenticeship program, please visit our website:
Duties and Responsibilities:

In this role you will be responsible for the following:  

Apprenticeship Course Instruction & Supervision (approximately 50% of role)

  • Teach nine-month course in urban agriculture. Deliver classroom (four hours once a week) and lab (seven hours twice a week) curriculum for a class of 20–25 students with diverse educational backgrounds and needs. 
  • Demonstrate excellence in teaching, commitment to integrating multiple teaching methods, including hands-on and interactive lectures and new technologies in the learning process, and the ability to inspire, motivate, and empower students to succeed.
  • Host consistent office hours for students. Provide meaningful feedback and support to students. Connect to resources as needed. 
  • Grade tests and assignments. Follow City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) protocol and timeline for students’ grades. 
  • Organize guest lectures given by industry leaders and Windy City Harvest colleagues.
  • Instruct the Apprenticeship curriculum. Update and refine hands-on lab activities, quizzes, and written assignments to fully engage in Windy City Harvest farms. Update Brightspace (CCC Learning Platform) with videos, resources, assignments, quizzes, and grade book for students. 
  • Demonstrate best-practices in market gardening and diversified vegetable production. Guide students in technical farm skills including planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting of produce. 
  • Coordinate placement for Apprentices in their 12-week paid work experience and onboarding as Chicago Botanic Garden employees. Serve as a mentor to help students develop transferrable job skills. Ensure all Apprentices are held to the Windy City Harvest standards agreement, are given consistent weekly feedback, and follow clear production schedule. Oversee payroll and HR paperwork for Apprentices. 
  • Help students reach their academic, personal, and career goals and cultivate a safe environment that respects the diversity of individuals and ideas by modeling respect for all students and conveying confidence in every student’s ability to learn. 
  • Adhere to City Colleges of Chicago board rules, policies, procedures, and code of ethics.


Oversee AVI Student Production Farm (approximately 20% of role)

  • Lead a student-run farm at Arturo Velasquez Institute. Engage students in all aspects of farm work at other Windy City Harvest production sites. Supervise WCH Production Assistants and mentor them to lead the maintenance of the AVI farm site.
  • Oversee AVI Greenhouse production. 
  • Oversee irrigation schedule for the greenhouse, production farm, and hoophouse. 
  • Create AVI yearly crop plan and ensure site meets sales goal. 
  • Supervise care of a small aquaponics system at Arturo Velasquez Institute and instruct students on system maintenance.
  • Purchase and inventory of all supplies and materials. Track and code purchases in WCH budget. 
  • Facilitate tours and site visits. 


Workforce Development & Mentorship (approximately 20% of role)

  • Support WCH Apprenticeship students and alumni in job placement within urban agriculture.
  • Work collaboratively with WCH Senior Manager of Workforce Development to track job placement and employment metrics. 
  • Support in the mentorship of WCH Production Assistants. 
  • Connect with recruiters, administrators, and community partners to establish a pipeline of students for program participation. Function as liaison with college staff to recruit and register students. 
  • Act as a resource of program information for project partners, community members, Garden staff, and the media as required.
  • Mentor WCH staff acting as Apprenticeship lab leaders and paid-work-experience supervisors to create an inclusive, educational, and productive environment at WCH farm sites. 
  • Work with WCH Small Farm Business Manager to connect Apprenticeship students to the Incubator Farm. 


Windy City Harvest Management Team (approximately 10% of role)

  • Work as part of the WCH leadership team to ensure all aspects of WCH programming and production are running as efficiently as possible.
  • Teach monthly community workshops and other events as requested.
  • Work with the Operations team to ensure that all production goals and deadlines are being met for AVI farm site.
  • Assist with yearly staff onboarding and training. 
  • Assist with other Windy City Harvest activities as needed.
  • Participate in active professional development, serving as a resource to Windy City Harvest for the most up-to-date industry-accepted techniques and research.
  • Act as part of a team of managers to support Windy City Harvest initiatives.
  • Support and represent WCH and the Chicago Botanic Garden within coalitions at the local, state, and national level.


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.
  • 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: 

  • Master’s or bachelor’s degree in horticulture, agricultural science, ecological sciences, education, or a related field from an accredited institution.
  • Minimum two years of experience teaching adults in a classroom setting.
  • Experience teaching or working with students from diverse educational and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Two to five years of experience in sustainable agricultural production. Preference given to applicants with experience in apiary, composting, season extension, aquaponic/hydroponic production and/or high tunnel growing.  
  • Demonstrated experience creating an experiential learning environment that fosters students’ intellectual curiosity and helps students to problem solve using discipline-specific thinking strategies.
  • Experience tracking data accurately with Excel and/or other technology.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of greenhouse production and management.
  • Demonstrated carpentry, construction, and project-management skills. 
  • Experience creating and working from a crop plan.
  • Familiarity with creative methods for engaging students in learning and participation.
  • A detail-oriented personality with the capacity to multi-task and problem solve.
  • An excitement to contribute to a dynamic and evolving program.
  • A valid driver’s license and reliable transportation. 

*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 Instructor, Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship (Chicago, IL) using the link below:

Click here to apply.


Physical Demands:
Office, teaching, and farm setting. Frequent sitting, standing (four to six hours at a time), walking, bending, listening, speaking, and keyboarding. Use of office equipment including computers, telephones, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. Use of farm equipment such as wheelbarrows, seed blockers, shovels, hoes, etc.  Frequent requirements for lifting, pushing, or pulling items more than 40 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.