The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Community Gardening Department seeks a Coordinator for Green Youth Farms

2 Dec

Location: Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Community Gardening Department seeks an innovative team player to coordinate the operations of its two south side Chicago locations.

Since 2003, the Green Youth Farm has served as a youth development program for urban high school students in four sites in and around the City of Chicago. This summer employment opportunity exposes youth to various issues around food systems and leadership through: using sustainable growing practices to raise a variety of food crops, selling produce to community residents and other local buyers, cooking with the food grown on the farm, and participating in public speaking opportunities. Students participate in daily teambuilding activities led by program staff and the creation of a safe, positive, and supportive environment is of utmost importance.

WASHINGTON PARK GYF: 2010 will be the second season for the Washington Park/Dyett High School Green Youth Farm. The site consists of 35 4’x16’ raised beds and 500 square foot ornamental planting area. 20 youth will be employed at the site, overseen by a staff of 4: Coordinator, Grower (6 month position), and two interns (3 month position). Students work after school 4 hours/week May-June and September-October, and 20 hours/week for 9 weeks during summer vacation.

McCORKLE ACADEMY Jr. GYF: This mini farm is entering its 4th year of production in a much more limited space (30’x30’, 15 raised beds). During the school year, CBG opens and maintains the plantings for garden club and teacher use and closes the garden in the fall. 10 students participate in a six-week summer Jr. Green Youth Farm Mondays-Thursdays and plant, maintain and eat from the garden during this time.


With Washington Park Green Youth Farm:
1. Works in partnership with area high schools and service providers to recruit Green Youth Farm participants
2. Oversees administration of student documentation, including collection of employment information and processing student pay
3. Coordinates educational workshops and fieldtrips
4. Coordinates procurement and delivery of materials necessary for program delivery (i.e. plants, soil, building materials, etc)
5. Tracks program expenditures and advises on annual budgets
6. Oversees garden planting and maintenance in cooperation with full time Grower
7. Collects and organizes written, anecdotal, and photographic documentation for education, publication, and reporting purposes

With McCorkle Academy:
1. Works with teachers on ad hoc basis to assist with the use of growing space for curriculum enhancement
2. Coordinates once weekly after school garden club from March-June with ten students to grow plants in school greenhouse for use in summer program
3. Oversee six-month seasonal instructor in charge of six-week summer Jr. GYF program (includes teambuilding, workshops, growing, and fieldtrips)

1. As necessary, assists with the coordination of on-site and off-site symposia, presentations, classes, workshops, demonstrations, contests, fairs, and other special events that educate, support and/or recognize urban gardeners and gardening efforts.
2. Supports the establishment of horticultural standards for the Community Gardening Department; maintain current knowledge of industry trends, practices and policies relevant to department operations.
3. Represents the Chicago Botanic Garden as requested on external committees and advisory boards that impact urban greening policy and planning issues and/or result in program partnerships.
4. Support department and institutional projects as requested.


1. Excellent organizational, presentation, written and verbal communication skills
2. Ability to thrive in a team oriented environment where flexibility is a must
3. Strong knowledge of urban agriculture with at least one season of vegetable production experience
4. Familiarity with issues surrounding local food systems
5. At least one year experience working with teenagers in a mentorship or supervisory role
6. Willingness to work in all neighborhoods of Chicago and surrounding communities with diverse audiences
7. Availability for evening and weekend work, particularly May-October
8. MUST be licensed driver, with constant and reliable access to personal vehicle and familiarity with Chicago area a plus.

DEPARTMENT: Community Gardening

REPORTS TO: Manager, Community Gardening

SUPERVISES: Volunteers, interns, 2 six-month seasonals, 2 three-month interns

COOPERATIVE RELATIONSHIPS: Center for Teaching and Learning, Development, Horticultural Therapy, Horticulture and Grounds, Production, Construction and Maintenance, Collaborative Agencies, Subcontractors and Vendors.

TO APPLY: Please email cover letter and resume to Eliza Fournier, Manager of Community Gardening efournier (at)

Be sure to mention in your cover letter that you found this listing on the Sustainable Food Jobs website!

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