Interns assist the Farm Director and the Uncommon Ground Rooftop Farm in all aspects of community food system development, urban agriculture, and educational program development through organic, innovative, and sustainable approaches. Interns work a minimum of 2 days per week, 3-5 hours of work per day. It is serious educational and vocational experience and requires at least a 16-week commitment, from mid-May through mid-September, with Fall opportunities available for those looking for a full season experience.
This is an unpaid internship, but will educate you with a fully hands-on approach in the basics of urban rooftop food production and the benefits of urban agriculture. Urban Agriculture is a field that is expanding fast, especially in the city of Chicago. Get first hand knowledge of how to farm healthy, sustainable produce 30 feet in the air! Farming is hard work. All interns must have a positive attitude, an ability to receive constructive criticism, and a strong work ethic. Interns will receive supervision, intensive hands-on training, and skill sets acquisition with the opportunity to conduct and implement independent projects. Summer interns will also be required to complete a final crop planning project designed for real-world application. Some agricultural experience is helpful, but not necessary. Those without any related experience will be considered if they can demonstrate a real passion and willingness to work and learn.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES: 1. Maintain urban agriculture sites including: • Plant propagation of outdoor starts and seedlings • Maintaining indoor sprout and microgreens production • Direct seeding and transplanting of seedlings outside • Watering and maintaining systems on a daily basis • Harvesting and post-harvest handling produce • Implementing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices • Pruning and weeding as needed • Helping tend the Uncommon Ground Wrigleyville's Sidewalk Farm as needed • Handling, moving, and sifting compost and other organic materials • Maintaining living biological worm systems (vermicomposting) • Offering assistance to the beekeeper and basic beekeeping duties • Light carpentry work as needed2. Detailed record keeping and evaluation, reporting to the Farm Director3. Assist in teaching and working with community on site 4. Assist in tours of the roof top farm5. Assist in volunteer workdays6. Assist in helping the Farm Director with general upkeep of farm and restaurant grounds as needed PHYSICAL DEMANDS: All of the following requirements must be met by an intern to successfully perform this position: • Ability to handle and feel objects and tools • Ability to reach with hands and arms • Ability to lift heavy objects 50 lbs.+ from different locations • Ability to use wheelbarrow, wagons, etc. • Ability to climb stairs REQUIREMENTS: The following are other skills needed for a positive internship: • Available to work a minimum 2 days per week, and every 1st Friday (June - September) from 5:00pm – sundown, for a period of at least 16-weeks. Thursdays 11:00am – 4:00pm are mandatory and count towards one of the two required shifts. • Ability to work and travel between Devon’s Rooftop Farm and Wrigleyville’s Sidewalk Farm • An emphasis on hands-on physical labor and practice is very important • Ability to work as a member of team with flexibility in work assignments as needed • Ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences, staff, chefs and management • Some knowledge in plant or environmental science, or farm experience a plus • Comfortable spending 6+ hours at a time outdoors, in all weather conditions • No fear of worms, bees, spiders, or any other insects • Not afraid to get dirty • Not afraid of heights • Valid drivers license ABOUT THE FARM: Uncommon Ground’s Organic Rooftop Farm began when the property at 1401 W. Devon in Chicago was purchased in June of 2007. Extensive rehab efforts were conducted on the single story (existing) restaurant to support the reinforced 2500 sq ft roof top deck, which the farm sits upon.
The Uncommon Ground Rooftop Farm has been certified organic through Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA) for 10 years. Nearly 70 unique crops are grown on site every year, with twice as many individual varieties with the goal of promoting biodiversity. In April 2008, two beehives were installed at the southeast corner of the roof to provide pollination in the community, honey for use on the menus, as well as support for a bee population in crisis.
Uncommon Ground is committed to purchasing seasonal, locally produced food for our menu whenever possible. Over the years we have developed many relationships with the farmers that we buy from. We make an effort to visit farms on a regular basis and we bring staff along to educate them as well.
Uncommon Ground is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including “Greenest Restaurant in America”, "Governor's Sustainability Award", and the “Mayor’s Landscape Award”.
We're proud of our dedication to not only growing food, but growing people too. Past interns have successfully found opportunities with Windy City Harvest, Growing Home, The Talking Farm, City Farm, and beyond!