Farmers for Chicago: Teen Jobs Program

Urban Growers Collective Youth Corps engages and employs over 200 youth annually across our seven urban farms. Our farms serve as a safe spaces for teens to explore their interests, work collectively, share their talents, learn from one another, and develop skills that they can apply to school, work, and life.  During their time spent on the farms, youth expand their understanding of many aspects of urban farming and community food system development.

Through hands-on instruction, teens learn the technical skills essential for urban farming:

  • Growing organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers by participating in all stages of production, from seeding to harvesting.
  • Composting and prepping growing beds.
  • Identifying, planting, harvesting, and marketing the crops grown at the farm.
  • Assisting with general farm tasks, including pest management, site beautification, and infrastructure development.

At our Roosevelt Square location, youth also manage an on site farm stand, increasing access to fresh, healthy, affordable produce for their community and providing a window into the economic and entrepreneurial opportunities that exist within food system development.

To compliment the hands-on instruction at the farm, youth explore the science behind farming through several inquiry-based experiments and take part in nutrition, hunger, cooking, art, food justice, and food politics activities. This program aims to serve as both a job training experience and to encourage leadership development. It’s our goal that teens graduate with a comprehensive understanding of sustainable food system development and the ability to connect and communicate how the skills they’ve gained at the farm translate to any career path they may follow.


  • Teens must be at least 14 years old and have graduated from 8th grade
  • They must be enrolled in CPS High School in the fall (unless the teen just graduated high school and has participated in After School Matters before)
  • They must be a Chicago resident.

For more information or any questions regarding our Youth Corps program, please contact us at (773) 376-8882 or email

Thoughts from our Teens

“Because of this program, I was able to both pay for myself and better myself mentally, physically, and socially and I made new friends. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!” -Justin


“Thank you for this great opportunity for me to get a feel of a work environment. This experience will benefit me for the rest of my life. I have learned to work with others, time management and interviewing skills. You have given me lifelong memories this summer and a little spending money.” -Augustin


“I really enjoyed myself and learned a lot about farming. I don’t know what I would have done without this program. I am grateful for what I was able to experience. I really improved my speaking, communication and farming skills. I loved coming to the farm and working in the warm sun. I got to meet new people and all this wouldn’t have been possible without you.” -Karen