Employment at the Garden

Youth Farm Coordinator, Windy City Harvest (Chicago, IL)

Job Status:
Requisition Number:
Windy City Harvest
Reports to:
Youth Programs Manager
Youth Farm students, Seasonal interns, volunteers
For almost 20 years, the Windy City Harvest Youth Farm has served as a vital youth development program for high school students in and around the City of Chicago. Youth Farm exposes youth to various issues around local food systems and nurtures leadership and community engagement through paid employment on an urban farm. The Program Coordinator plays a pivotal role in ensuring these general goals are met. This includes working as part of the larger Windy City Harvest team to ensure the program is of the highest quality and reflects the vision of the program through individual and community empowerment.
We are looking for 2 Coordinators - The ideal candidate for this position has deep connections to the communities we work in, experience leading youth and/or nature-based programming and enjoy work outdoors as part of a collaborative urban agriculture team.
This position includes occasional weekend and evening work.
Duties and Responsibilities:

In this role you will be responsible for the following:
Program Administration

Train and lead a team including a seasonal apprentice, 3-month full-time interns, Youth Farmers, 
and volunteers. Provide regular feedback to all direct reports.
•     Collect student documentation, including hiring documents, sign-in sheets, and case 
notes, and coordinate student pay

•     Coordinate procurement and delivery of materials necessary for program delivery and 
farm operations (i.e. plants, soil, building materials, student lunches, etc.)

•     Report and track program expenditures and support annual budget reports

•     Collect and organize written, anecdotal, and photographic documentation for 
education, publication, and reporting purposes

•     Participate in all training workshops and other requirements from partner agencies 
and the Chicago Botanic Garden

Community Engagement
•     Work in partnership with area high schools and non-profit organizations to recruit 
Youth Farm participants

•     Assists in special events with partner organizations and the Chicago Botanic Garden

•     Coordinate and lead educational workshops, tours, and fieldtrips for Youth Farm 
students and outside organizations

•     Serve as a resource for students and community members

•     Act as a supportive program, job and agriculture resource to program participants, 
staff, community residents, media and collaborative partners.

Program Delivery
•     Plan and lead Youth Farmers in farm workdays and educational workshops (online and 
in-person) during Spring, Summer and Fall programming

•     Support Chicago Botanic Garden programming by leading work days and classroom 
activities with WCH adult programs, including Corps and Apprenticeship, as requested

•     Work with Chicago Botanic Garden team to plan and implement curriculum (online and 
in-person) for the season focused on developing key social emotional skills and exposure to green 

•     Maintain current knowledge of industry trends, practices and policies relevant to 
department operations and share best practices with Chicago Botanic Garden team

Farm Production

•     Coordinate farm production with WCH Operations team, including (but not limited to), 
implementing crop plan, following production schedule, procuring supplies, planting and maintenance 
of vegetable production and ornamental areas, and distributing produce through WCH sales channels

•     Participate in seasonal production and food safety farm trainings. Help to train 
Youth Farm team and students in farm production and food safety.

•     Participate in weekly staff meetings and report out on programming and farm related 

•     Work as part of a collaborative team to support with WCH greenhouse and farm 
production needs at any WCH sites, as needed.

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:
Community Engagement
•     Willingness to provide programming and outreach to multiple communities throughout Chicago and surrounding suburbs
•     Must have a valid driver’s license, and able to commute to several locations within the week or day.   Familiarity with Chicago area a plus.
•     A detail-oriented, flexible, dependable, and punctual work ethic
•     Excellent communication skills: email, phone, person, etc. Bilingual (Spanish and English) preferred

Program Delivery
•     Familiarity with issues surrounding local food systems
•     At least one year experience working with young people in a mentorship or supervisory role and facilitating groups
•     Experience working participating in or leading nature-based programming, preferred
•     Strong interest or experience in working with youth development and work force development
•     Familiarity with structural and cultural contexts, and a desire for personal and community growth in these areas
•     Demonstrated experience working with people from a variety of backgrounds and ability to give clear, constructive feedback
•     Availability for evening and weekend work, particularly May-October

Farm Production

•     Strong knowledge of urban agriculture with at least one season of vegetable production experience preferred
•     Willingness to learn WCH farm production and harvest procedures. Ability to effective train and oversee Youth Farmers in farming and harvesting procedures.
•     The ability to work independently to coordinate a developing program and as part of a dedicated urban agriculture training team

*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 Youth Farm Coordinator, Windy City Harvest (Chicago, IL) using the link below:

Click here to apply.


Physical Demands:
This is a diverse role with physical demands dependent on the season. Frequent outdoor work in all weather will be required. Ability to lift 50+ lbs. Ability to stand/walk for 8+ hours/day. Ability to move from physical tasks to office work/driving significant distances in a day is required.
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.