Youth Farm Grower A-C

Requisition Number: 
Windy City Harvest
Job Status: 
The youth farm grower is a mentor to the youth farm students, providing learning opportunities about growing food and sustainable agriculture. This is a hands-on position providing support to the team and providing guidance to students about agriculture. The youth farm grower will foster respect for the earth and the food we grow (and eat) with all of our program participants and the communities Windy City Harvest serves. This is an eight-month, seasonal, full-time position with an anticipated start date of March 16, 2020. For more information about the Youth Farm, visit
Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • With site coordinator, implement crop plan for sustainable vegetable production to meet a designated sales goal using succession plantings, integrated pest management, and season extension in accordance with standard operating procedures.
  • Work both independently and as a team to uphold high standards of sustainable vegetable production.
  • Follow a weekly production schedule and be accountable for completing farm production tasks in a timely fashion.
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm for working alongside teenagers in an agriculture-focused youth-development setting.
  • Assist coordinator in the management and training of all on-site staff, including seasonal interns, volunteers, and teen participants, with production and programming tasks. 
  • Assist coordinator to facilitate programs as requested and serve as a mentor to youth, exercising appropriate judgment and decisionmaking to ensure a safe and supportive environment. 
  • Growers are expected to facilitate programming when coordinator is not present.
  • Harvest and process vegetables in compliance with Good Agricultural Practices and Food Safety Modernization Act standards and the Windy City Harvest post-harvest handling guide.
  • Supervise market crew (five to seven teens) in advertising, setting up, running, and closing a weekly farm stand.
  • Complete all logs and records in an accurate and timely manner associated with production, site safety, food safety, and sales.
  • Work with other Windy City Harvest sites and programs as assigned to support a seven-day production schedule (work occasional Saturdays and Sundays as requested) and meet programming goals.
  • Attend weekly staff meetings as requested.
  • Operate Chicago Botanic Garden vehicles and equipment in a safe and responsible way.
  • Work with production and market staff to assist in the distribution of food to local retailers and markets.
  • Perform and manage site tasks, such as tool/machinery use and maintenance, produce deliveries, and general security during operating hours.
  • Act as a resource for program information for project partners, community members, Chicago Botanic Garden staff, and the media; give scheduled and impromptu tours as needed and train youth in leading tours.
  • Meet, uphold, and be accountable for aesthetics and site maintenance as outlined in site guidelines.

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 seasons of sustainable vegetable production on a 1/4-acre site or larger
  • Possess a driver’s license and access to reliable transportation
  • Ability to strategically plan and work full days independently while performing physically demanding tasks in all types of weather
  • Experience selling produce to a wide variety of markets, including  walk-up customers at farm stands, restaurants, small grocery retailers, and/or wholesale markets
  • Experience with food safety, integrated pest management (IPM), and production protocols
  • Desire to work with teens and community members in an experiential education setting; other youth-focused farm settings a plus
  • Flexibility and comfort with shifting demands and schedules. Working outdoors and in an urban farm setting is dynamic. Evening, early, and weekend shifts are part of this position.
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 pounds.
Why Apply?: 

Seasonal positions generally have an assignment that are less than 9 months. Seasonals are offered a multitude of benefits which may include paid holidays with an additional generous flat amount premium for working on an actual holiday, Life Time Fitness subsidized discount, Garden Membership, Complimentary General Admission to other Cultural  Institutions such as the Art Institute and the Shedd, complimentary tickets to special Garden events (e.g. Orchid Show, Night of 1000 jack-o lanterns) special employee plus guest events, and more.

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, or 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.