Volunteer Opportunities

The GardenWorks Project is a grassroots, volunteer-driven non-profit. If you believe in our mission, there are many ways that you can help us grow.

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  • Garden Builder

    • May, June, August (1 hr shifts)
    • DuPage County
    • 50 people are helping

     Alongside our clients, we assemble 4x8' raised bed gardens, fill them with soil and compost, and plant seedlings and seeds.

    Sign up here now to indicate your interest in volunteering for a garden build.  You will be included on all future notices about our builds.  Garden builders sign up to volunteer for specific times and locations at our Spring Kickoff Volunteer Meeting.  If any volunteer spots remain after the meeting, we will open an online sign-up page.

    Duties:

    • Attend Spring Kickoff Volunteer Meeting
    • Just prior to build, check your email for updates, for possible rescheduling
    • Arrive at build 5 minutes prior to build time
    • Bring sun protection, appropriate shoes, and gardening gloves
    • Help move soil & plants to frame
    • Prepare soil for planting
    • Help plant seeds/seedlings
    • Water new plants/seeds
    • Build should be completed in an hour or less

    Skills Desired:

    • No gardening experience necessary!
    • Flexibility in accommodating client preferences during the build.

    Commitment:

    • Approximately 1 hour per build (or less)
    Learn More
  • Garden Build Coordinator

    • May, June, August (1 hr shifts)
    • DuPage County
    • 2 people are helping

    Have you volunteered with us in the past and would like to take on a bigger role? As our organization grows, so does our need for folks who can lead garden builds. Garden Build Coordinators are on site at 3-4 garden builds to welcome volunteers, introduce clients, and guide the installation and planting of the garden.

    Sign up here now to indicate your interest in volunteering as a Garden Build Coordinator.  You will be included on all future notices about our builds.  Garden Build Coordinators sign up to volunteer for specific builds and locations at a TBA meeting in March.

    Duties:

    • Attend build scheduling meeting in March, details TBA
    • Attend training session, held immediately after the Spring Kickoff Volunteer Meeting
    • Two weeks prior to build:
      • Schedule a home visit with the client
      • Complete the home survey form
    • One week prior to build:
      • Email volunteers to confirm 1 week prior to build
      • Call clients 1week to 3 days prior to build
    • 1-2 days prior to build:
      • Pick up seedlings and garden tools for client at our Resource Center
    • Build Day:
      • Arrive at build 10 minutes early to greet volunteers
      • Bring seedlings, garden tools, and power screwdriver (all provided)
      • Be prepared to build raised bed frame with help from volunteers
      • Supervise build--volunteers move soil to frame & plant
      • Encourage clients & especially children to become involved in planting
      • Answer any client questions & let them know about Garden Coach follow-up
      • Complete build experience form 

    Skills Desired:

    • Completed at least one Garden Build for The GardenWorks Project
    • Flexibility in accommodating client preferences
    • A welcoming and friendly greeter and introduction facilitator

    Support Offered:

    Commitment:

    • Please plan to sign-up for 3-4 builds
    • Approximately 11-12 hours total
      • Meetings for approximately 2 hours in March, 2 hours in May
      • Approximately 4 hours in the two weeks leading up to the build
      • One hour per build on build day + travel time
    Learn More
  • Grant Writer

    • It's Flexible! (~4 hrs monthly)
    • Virtual
    • 5 people are helping

    Research and apply to the many grant opportunities available for fighting hunger. The GardenWorks Project has been fortunate to receive grants in the past and we need your help to continue our success. Past applications and known opportunities will help you get started.

    Duties:

    • Coordinate with the Executive Director and Development Director
    • Identify and grant opportunities and their deadlines 
    • Compile all necessary materials to submit grant

    Skills Desired:

    • Organized and able to meet deadlines
    • Excellent written and verbal communication

    Support Offered:

    • Mentoring from our Executive Director
    • Access to multiple Board Members with grant writing experience 
    • Access to past grant applications

    Commitment:

    • Approximately 2-6 hours per month
    • Highly dependent on grant application deadlines
    Learn More
  • Garden Coach

    • It's Flexible! (~2 hrs monthly)
    • DuPage County
    • 5 people are helping

    Each garden recipient is paired with a garden coach to help ensure their success as a new gardener. The coach checks in periodically with the recipient to see how their garden is doing, offer advice, and answer questions. The coach mentors them through the first season of organic gardening.

    Sign up here now to indicate your interest in volunteering as a Garden Coach.  You will be included on all future notices about our builds.  Garden coaches sign up to volunteer for specific builds and locations at our Spring Kickoff Volunteer Meeting.  If any volunteer spots remain after the meeting, we will open an online sign-up page.

    Duties:

    • Attend training sessions, held after the  Spring Kickoff Volunteer Meeting
    • Attend builds of your clients
    • Share contact your information with the client so they may reach you
    • Email, call, or visit client 2 weeks after build & then monthly
    • Be part of our Garden Coach email support group, ask & answer as needed

    Skills Desired:

    • Some gardening experience, but by no means master gardening
    • Flexibility in accommodating client preferences

    Support Offered:

    Commitment:

    • Approximately 1-2 hours per month during the growing season
    Learn More
  • Internship

    The Suburban Agriculture Resource Center Internship is a part-time unpaid position for 75 hours (1 credit).  Responsibilities include assisting gardeners and presenting educational information at the Resource Center,  planning and implementing the new Demonstration Gardens in West Chicago, and building gardens for homes in DuPage County.

    The GardenWorks Project Suburban Agriculture Resource Center was started in early 2016 to create a reliable way for gardeners in DuPage County to access the tools, materials, and knowledge they need to grow productive gardens. The project has enabled The GardenWorks Project to share our resources directly with the community, and for residents to meet each other and build a stronger movement of growers in the region for the benefit of all residents, including those who rely on food pantries.

    The Resource Center will be open to the public two days a week from mid-April to mid-October. For a small, sliding scale fee, individuals and groups can join the project and get access for one year.

    Duties:

    • Serve gardeners seeking supplies and advice while staffing open shifts in our Resource Center in West Chicago

    • Share topical gardening information based on a weekly theme with Resource Center attendees

    • Work alongside other volunteers building gardens for food-insecure families in DuPage County

    • Develop a plan for 12 raised-bed gardens in our Demonstration Gardens in West Chicago which demonstrate traditional and innovative gardening methods, implement plan, and evaluate outputs

    Skills Desired:

    • English/Spanish bilingual preferred but not required

    • Ability to engage with individuals of many demographics and histories i.e. youth, elders, immigrants, people without technology access

    • Experience in gardening

    • Ability adapt to changing conditions (weather, volunteer cancellations)

    • Ability to work outdoors in all weather (heat, humidity, rain and cold) and do gardening labor

    • Willingness to work independently and also cooperate as part of a team

    • Positive attitude; engaging personality

    • A commitment to food justice and The GardenWorks Project’s values

    Support Offered:

    • Position reports to the Executive Director

    Commitment:

    • Part time, 75 hours (1 credit) starting April 1, 2017

    Salary/Benefits:

    • This is an unpaid, temporary position. The position does not come with benefits. 

    Equal Opportunity Employer:

    The GardenWorks Project is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability or belief.

    Learn More
  • Board Member

    • Meet Regularly (~10 hrs+ monthly)
    • DuPage County

    Could you be the next integral part of our team? We currently seek board members with Finance and Communications skillsets. Directors set the strategic direction and advise the board in their areas of expertise.  As we grow and build capacity, board members are expected to be hands-on and grow their committees.

    Duties:

    • Set strategic direction and advise board
    • Build and lead committee(s) to support strategy
    • Complete tasks related to strategy and special events on a weekly basis
    • Attend monthly board meetings (2nd Tuesday)
    • Attend monthly video conference calls (4th Tuesday)
    • Attend annual strategic planning retreat
    • Lead 4-6 garden builds each spring and fall

    Skills Desired:

    • Treasurer:  Non-profit accounting experience is a must
    • Communications: Social Media Marketing, Annual Reporting, Marketing Material Creation

    Support Offered:

    • Partner with our Executive Director
    • Board Meetings
    • Shared Online Resources
    • Board Member Training, TBD

    Commitment:

    • 2-3 hours weekly tasks
    • 2-3 hour monthly board meeting
    • 1 hour monthly/as-needed conference call
    • 6 hour annual strategy retreat
    • 8-12 hours of garden builds
    Learn More
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