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PCC Austin Farm Grower

Requisition Number: 
Windy City Harvest
Job Status: 
Windy City Harvest is looking for a dedicated grower to oversee and maintain the PCC Austin Farm with high production and display garden aesthetics. The grower will assist residents with maintaining and cultivating the allotment garden and educate the community about growing a variety of seasonal produce. The grower should have high energy for and interest in sustainable urban agriculture, and a commitment to teamwork and engaging community. The ideal candidate for this position will be well-versed in organic growing techniques and landscape aesthetics, and be able to demonstrate the ability for community engagement and education. The grower will be working as part of the Windy City Harvest team as the liaison between residential members, community organizations, and Windy City Harvest. Generally, the work of the grower position is focused on production 85 percent of their time and programming for 15 percent. This is a dual hire position between the Chicago Botanic Garden and PCC Community Wellness. Applicants will be vetted by the Human Resources protocol of both organizations. This position is Seasonal Part-time from March through April and Seasonal Full-time May through October.
Duties and Responsibilities: 

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

  • Execute the PCC Austin Farm crop plan for an 8,000-square-foot farm using organic farming techniques. Use appropriate growing techniques for a raised bed, intensively planted site. Meet or exceed yearly sales goal for the farm. 
  • Utilize season extension methods with the hoophouse and low tunnels. 
  • Maintain display garden aesthetic at PCC Austin Farm. Manage whole farm irrigation, integrated pest management, composting, equipment inventory, and trash removal. 
  • Harvest and process vegetables in compliance with GAPs standards and the Windy City Harvest post-harvest handling guide. 
  • Maintain accurate records for harvest, sales, and food safety requirements. 
  • Conduct regular inventory of farm supplies. 
  • Work in partnership with staff at PCC Community Wellness Center to deliver programming and engage staff, patients, and community residents. Meet weekly with PCC Austin Farm Manager to review and coordinate farm activities and schedule. 
  • Oversee the management of the seasonal interns and volunteers at the site in farm activities (i.e. planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting of produce)
  • Maintain a good working relationship with PCC Community Wellness Center staff and clients, allotment gardeners, Austin community resident, and Windy City Harvest staff
  • Work with PCC Austin Farm Manager to setup, operate, and accurately transact sales for the weekly PCC Austin Farm Stand (June - October)
  • Oversee and provide mentorship to a seasonal intern placed at PCC Austin Farm from Windy City Harvest's Apprenticeship program. 
  • Manage an eight-person allotment garden from May to October. Work with the PCC Austin Farm garden. This includes engaging new gardeners, teaching gardening skills, and encouraging ongoing participation in the garden throughout the season. In addition, planning and facilitating seven meetings with gardeners. 
  • Serve as a primary contact for allotment gardeners, providing access and troubleshooting garden maintenance issues. 
  • Act as a resource for program information for project partners, community members, Garden staff, PCC Community Wellness staff, and media as required. 
  • Uphold PCC Community Wellness's standards of performance in addition to those of the Chicago Botanic Garden. 

Our ideal candidate will have the following: 

  • Well-versed experience in organic vegetable production, farmer's market operations, and general landscaping
  • Experience following a crop plan
  • Familiarity with creative methods of engaging allotment gardener and community residents 
  • A detail-oriented personality with the capacity to multi-task and problem solve
  • Experience teaching or working with individuals from diverse educational and socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Practice with community coordination and engagement
  • Well-demonstrated ability to work dependably and independently at a fast pace
  • Capability to self-organize and communicate well with a team 
  • Degree in horticulture or related subject is desired
  • Experience managing cash and transacting sales in a fast-pace environment
  • Ability to work weekends and evenings, if necessary
  • Experience working with Microsoft Office (i.e. Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • A valid driver's license and access to reliable transportation 
Physical Demands: 
Outdoor setting. Frequent sitting, standing, walking, bending, listening, speaking, lifting, and carrying. Use of office equipment including computers, telephones, copiers, scanners, audio visual equipment, and fax machines. Some requirements for lifting, pushing, or pulling items less than 30 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.