Illinois – Chicago Horticultural Society hiring Windy City Harvest Apprentice

Chicago, Illinois


Title: Instructor, Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship
Exemption Status: Exempt
Department:  Windy City Harvest
Reports to: Eliza Fournier
Regular or Seasonal: Regular
Full-time or Part-time: Full Time
Supervises: Apprentices
Position Overview:

Join a team of enthusiastic, dedicated and mission-oriented agriculturalists and job trainers! Windy City Harvest, a sustainable urban agricultural jobs training program, is seeking an experienced instructor. Our program uses a custom curriculum in four-season sustainable vegetable production. Hands-on activities in hoophouse, greenhouse, aquaponics and raised bed farming and a 14-week internship period are integral parts of the 9-month certificate program. Participants in the certificate program enroll as continuing education students of the City Colleges of Chicago at Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western, where the program is based.

Classroom goals are based on the implementation of a successful, sustainable production operation and associated green industry training and employment activities.  The Windy City Harvest instructor should have enthusiasm for and interest in working with program participants and a commitment to teamwork.


In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Deliver classroom ( hours twice a week) and lab (six hours twice a week) curriculum for a class of 20-25 students with diverse educational backgrounds and needs.
  • Organize guest lectures of industry leaders and Windy City Harvest colleagues.
  • Adapt and continuously update written curriculum as needed for delivery in classroom and hands-on production setting. Update and refine hands-on lab activities, quizzes and written assignments to fully engage in Windy City Harvest farms.
  • Work with students to farm the Arturo Velasquez Institute site. Engage students in all aspects of farm work at other Windy City Harvest production sites.
  • Guide students and manage work-study interns with farm/growing assignments, including planting, weeding, watering and harvesting of produce. This includes the creation and implementation of weekly production schedules.
  • Supervise care of a small aquaponics at Arturo Velasquez Institute and instruct students on system maintenance

  • Serve as a mentor during students’ 14-week internship period. Coordinate with internship supervisors to evaluate student work performances.
  • Aid in job placement and development for Windy City Harvest students and graduates.
  • Act as liaison with college staff to recruit and register students
  • Act as a resource of program information for project partners, community members, garden staff and the media as required
  • Teach monthly community workshops and other events as requested
  • Coordinate purchase and inventory of supplies and materials
  • Oversee receiving and shipment procedures
  • Assist with other Windy City Harvest activities as needed
  • Participate in active professional development, serving as a resource to all Windy City Harvest for most up to date industry accepted techniques and research
  • Facilitate tours and site visits


Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in a related field from accredited institution.
  • Minimum two years of experience teaching adults in a classroom setting.
  • Experience teaching or working with students from diverse educational and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Two to five years of experience in sustainable agricultural production. Preference given to applicants with experience in apiary, composting, season extension, aquaponic/hydroponic production and/or high tunnel growing.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of greenhouse production and management.
  • Demonstrated carpentry, construction and project management skills
  • Experience creating and working from a crop plan.
  • Knowledge of standard database systems (e.g., Excel).
  • Familiarity with creative methods for engaging students in learning and participation.
  • A detail-oriented personality with the capacity to multi-task and problem solve.
  • An excitement to contribute to a dynamic and evolving program.
  • A valid driver’s license and reliable transportation
  • A familiarity with Chicago-area sustainable agriculture and marketing culture, jobs training and human service issues is a big plus.
  • An entrepreneurship or business background a plus.







Physical Demands:
Office, teaching, and farm setting. Frequent sitting, standing (4-6 hours at a time), walking, bending, listening, speaking, and keyboarding. Use of office equipment including computers, telephones, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. Use of farm equipment such as wheelbarrows, seed blockers, shovels, hoes, etc.  Frequent requirements for lifting, pushing, or pulling items more than 40 pounds.

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.

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 an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.