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Windy City Harvest Corps, Construction 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. WCH is looking for a Rodeo Farm/Composting Crew Leader who is prepared for hard work and is self-motivated with high energy for day-to-day manual labor. Experience working in a job-training setting with men and women with low levels of work experience is a must. The crew leader ensures all participants receive clear, high-quality training in job readiness skills. The crew leader must be a team player, be organized and flexible, and have the ability to problem solve. The Crew Leader will work on site with WCH Rodeo Farm Coordinator to train Harvest Corps participants in large-scale farming, post-harvest handling, compost maintenance, general landscaping, soft-skills such as communication and attendance, and site maintenance to follow the Chicago Botanic Garden's 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, hands-on, excited about organic farming techniques, comfortable with use of small farm machinery, and able to problem solve. The crew leader must understand and commit to upholding the mission of the Chicago Botanic Garden: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. 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 Harvest Corps Coordinator and Rodeo Farm Coordinator to carry out a provided weekly schedule of work assignments for crew of up to 6 participants.
  • Lead participants on developing entry-level employability skills such as communication, pace of work, teamwork, workplace safety, appropriate workplace behavior, and attendance.
  • 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.
  • Work closely with Harvest Corps Coordinator, Rodeo Farm Coordinator, Sales Coordinator, and Production Supervisor towards a sales goal.
  • Maintain a clear, accurate records for payroll and grant compliance procedures.
  • Assist with job development classes with Harvest Corps Coordinator and Program Assistant. Provide general support for job development and job search activities, including assisting participants with writing resumes and conver letters, completing job applications, and preparing for interviews.
  • Maintain a safe and secure work environment.
  • Act as a resource for program information for project partners, community members, Garden staff, and the media is required.
  • Participate in WCH 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:

  • Candidates 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.
  • Candidates must be dependable, responsible, able to work independently, experienced with problem solving and adaptable to a flexible schedule.
  • Understanding and commitment to the model of transitional jobs is essential.
  • Be available to work full time Monday through Friday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. beginning February 27 and continuing through October 20, 2017.
  • Experience working with organic vegetable production is essential.
  • Be able to lift 50 pounds and work in all weather conditions.
  • Commitment to the mission of Windy City Harvest.
  • Commitment to being a supportive resource for program participants, community residents, and project partners.
  • A valid driver's license with a good driving record.
  • A detail-oriented, flexible, dependable and punctual work ethic.
  • Experience following strict best practices for post-harvest handling and food safety standards.
  • Adaptable communication skills: Microsoft Office, email, phone, person, etc.
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, 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 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.