Employment at GCYC

Urban Agriculture Grower

Reports To

Urban Agriculture Manager


Full Time

Position Summary

The Urban Agriculture Grower will play a key role in the dynamic urban agriculture program based at the Gary Comer Youth Center on the South Side of Chicago.  The ideal candidate will have a strong background and interest to engage diverse youth with the environment, food access, and broader STEM fields.  The Urban Agriculture Grower supports a full range of planning, growing, distribution, training and educational activities on the Comer Educational Campus.  The Grower will supervise day-to-day activities of a team of teens and young adults in the GCYC network of sustainable outdoor learning environments, including a rooftop garden and a 1.75 acre site with a fruit orchard, perennial plant beds, high tunnels and about 20,000 square feet of vegetable beds. This highly collaborative position directly supports all educational and programming efforts of the urban agriculture department.

Qualifications & Requirements
  • Proven track record demonstrating the ability to grow and distribute 20,000 pounds of vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers annually in an urban setting.
  • Previous experience with youth agriculture or environmental programs, ideally with teens and young adults.
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills, with a strong attention to detail.
  • Strong project management skills.
  • Ability to multi-task, troubleshoot and problem-solve effectively.
  • Demonstration of cultural competency and dedication to working with the students, families and community members in our care.
Functions & Responsibilities
  • Plant and maintain vegetables, perennials, fruits, flowers, and herbs as assigned in the crop plan.
  • Work both independently and leading youth and young adults with urban agriculture tasks including plant propagation, site preparation/maintenance, planting/transplanting, fertility management, weed management, integrated pest and disease management, irrigation, harvesting, washing and packing, and food safety.
  • Proper use of tools, equipment and materials.
  • Collaborate with GCYC culinary department to incorporate GCYC-grown produce into culinary programs.
  • Lead youth and young adults in onsite sales at GCYC's farmers' market and offsite distribution to our restaurant, grocery, and community partners.
  • Assist with development and implementation of partnerships in the local food system.
  • Assist Urban Agriculture Manager with youth and young adult employment program. Responsibilities include guiding youth on all aspects of employment skills and managing a schedule of tasks for a crew of young adults.
  • Assist GCYC Instructors with middle and high school classes. Tasks include assisting with hands-on experiential learning opportunities, enthusiasm for youth and all aspects of urban agriculture.
  • Lead volunteers, groups, tours, workshops and demonstrations.
  • Participate in special events, programming, meetings, and projects as assigned, including snow removal.
  • Maintain records and inventory and prepare reports related to the work; proficient in Microsoft Office.
Experience & Education
  • Bachelor's degree in sustainable agriculture, horticulture, environmental studies or closely related field preferred.
  • Two to five years of professional organic farming or related horticulture experience required.
  • Experience growing plants in high tunnels and greenhouses.
  • Two or more years of supervisory experience in the field.
  • Previous experience with youth agriculture or environmental programs, ideally with teens and young adults.
Physical Work Requirements
  • Must be able to lift up to 25 pounds and work outdoors in all types of weather. The ability to use garden tools and machinery as needed.

Comer Education Campus:  With a comprehensive approach surrounded by inspiring state-of-the-art facilities, the Comer Education Campus is devoted to guiding young people to and through college and into adult life. Our campus constitutes a unique partnership between Gary Comer Youth Center, Gary Comer College Prep, Gary Comer Middle School, and the college success initiative UtmostU.  The campus serves over 1700 youth from across Chicago’s South Side, offering out-of-school time enrichment, academic enhancement, and college success programs.  Working with best-in-class partner organizations, we empower young people with tools they need to earn a college degree and reach their full potential in life.  For more information, please visit: http://comereducationcampus.org/ and http://garycomeryouthcenter.org/