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Windy City Harvest Urban Garden Lab Program Assistant

Requisition Number: 
Windy City Harvest
Job Status: 
Spend the season working alongside inspiring teenage urban farmers on a rooftop garden above the hustle of downtown Chicago. The Urban Garden Lab assistant will work as part of a dedicated, energetic team to cultivate delicious, sustainably grown vegetables and vibrant young people. Youth participants are high school students who learn about principles of sustainable agriculture, teamwork, leadership, and entrepreneurship. The program assistant will help guide young people in their exploration of the environmental and community benefits to rooftop gardening and aquaponics. Urban Garden Lab is a partnership program between the Chicago Botanic Garden and After School Matters.
Duties and Responsibilities: 

As a program assistant, you are responsible for the following: 

  • Educate students ages 15-18 on organic growing techniques, including weeding, planting, and harvesting.
  • Facilitate team-building exercises.
  • Supervise students off-site during field trips and work, including traveling with or transporting participants to and from locations.
  • Provide detailed feedback at the end of each day for each teen participant based on emotional development and workplace professionalism.
  • Assist with other program and operational needs as assigned, such as meal/snack preparation, daily setup and break down, care and maintenance of aquaponics tanks, and supervision and problem-solving at each of our growing/learning locations: Thompson Center, rooftop, and classroom kitchen.
  • Maintenance and watering at each of our growing locations between summer and fall youth programming.
  • Develop and lead weekly mini-workshops on a variety of farm and food justice topics.

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.
  • Picks up garbage 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:

  • At least two years of college completed
  • Experience working with youth; prior work in outdoor or experiential education a plus
  • Basic knowledge of horticulture and/or sustainable agriculture
  • Flexibility and comfort working with shifting demands and schedules. Working outdoors and in an urban farm setting is dynamic. Occasional evening, early, and Saturday shifts are part of this position.
  • Access to reliable transportation and an enthusiasm to work in the downtown Chicago loop
  • Able to lift up to 50 pounds
  • Positive, can-do attitude and an interest in the intersection of youth development and urban agriculture


Physical Demands: 
Frequent walking, standing, bending, listening, speaking, and repetitive motion. Use of urban farm equipment such as hand tools, shovels, drills, knives, and processing equipment. Frequent lifting, pushing, and pulling up to 50 pounds. Outdoor work involving water in all weather conditions. Willing and able to perform manual labor in all weather conditions, including rain and heat.
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.

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.