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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2017 Garden Build Sign-up Now Available!

Sign up now for specific garden build opportunities! No experience is necessary to build gardens with us, and all ages are welcome. 

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  • Materials Loader

    • May, June, August (3 hrs shifts)
    • West Chicago
    • 1 person is helping

    All materials are centrally delivered to the GardenWorks Project at a facility in West Chicago. Materials Loaders do the heavy lifting (literally) to make sure soil, compost, and raised bed wooden frames get loaded into the trucks for Materials Distributors. We need volunteers to work Friday and Saturday shifts (approximately 3 hours) at this location. This is a great activity for groups.

    Sign up here now to indicate your interest in volunteering as a Materials Loader.  You will be included on all future notices about our builds.

    Duties:

    Skills Desired:

    • Ability to safely lift 40 pound bags of soil and compost
    • Ability to safely lift 4' and 8' lengths of raised bed frames

    Support Offered:

    • Grab a buddy or one (or three) will be provided to help
    • Access to our Volunteer Coordinator, as needed

    Commitment:

    • Approximately 7 hours total
      • Meetings for approximately 2 hours in March, 2 hours in May
      • 3 hours shifts on Friday and/or Saturday afternoons on May weekends
    Learn More
  • Photographer

    • May, June, August (1 hr shifts)
    • DuPage County

    Capture the moment at our garden builds, Resource Center, education events, and celebrations.  Photographs may be featured on our website, social media, and print media.

    Duties:

    • Attend garden builds and events as possible
    • Photograph volunteers, clients, and the setting
    • Save photographs to a shared online repository

    Skills Desired:

    • Own and operate 35mm Digital Camera

    Commitment:

    • Approximately 1 hour per event
    Learn More
  • Materials Distributor

    • May, June, August (3 hrs shifts)
    • DuPage County
    • 1 person is helping

    Materials Distributors do the heavy lifting (literally) to make sure soil, compost, garden beds, and other garden build materials are at the right place, at the right time. This is a great activity for individuals or groups. 

    Access to a truck is required, as is a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance.

    Sign up here now to indicate your interest in volunteering as a Materials Distributor.  You will be included on all future notices about our builds.  Materials Distributors 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 the Spring Kickoff Volunteer Meeting
    • 1-2 days prior to builds:
      • Pick up soil, compost, and garden beds for client at our Resource Center
      • Deliver materials to build locations throughout DuPage County

    Skills Desired:

    • Access to pick-up truck
    • Ability to safely lift 40 pound bags of soil and compost
    • Ability to safely lift 4' and 8' lengths of raised bed frames

    Support Offered:

    • Grab a buddy or one (or three) will be provided to help
    • Access to our Volunteer Coordinator, as needed

    Commitment:

    • Please plan to sign-up for 2-3 build locations
    • Approximately 8-10 hours total
      • Meetings for approximately 2 hours in March, 2 hours in May
      • Approximately 20 minutes per build + travel time
    Learn More
  • Garden Coach

    • It's Flexible! (~2 hrs monthly)
    • DuPage County
    • 4 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
  • Grant Writer

    • It's Flexible! (~4 hrs monthly)
    • Virtual
    • 3 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
  • Board - Director of Development

    • Meet Regularly (~4 hrs+ monthly)
    • DuPage County
    • 1 person is helping

    Join our Board as Director of Development and help lead us in a variety of fundraising activities.

    Duties:

    • Create a development plan for bringing in funding for the organization.
    • Work with staff to execute development plan.
    • Identify new individual donors, corporate sponsors, and grant opportunities.
    • Report development activities to the Board.
    • Attend one Board meeting and one conference call per month.
    • Participate in spring garden builds.
    • Support the organization at various events throughout the year.

    Skills Desired:

    • Organized and able to meet deadlines
    • Excellent written and verbal communication
    • Experience planning and executing fundraising activities

    Commitment:

    • Approximately 8-12 hours per month
    Learn More
  • Board - Treasurer

    • Meet Regularly (~4 hrs+ monthly)
    • Virtual
    • 1 person is helping

    Join our Board of Directors as Treasurer and help lead us in a variety of financial activities.

    Duties:

    • Administer fiscal matters of the organization, ensuring that accurate financial records for the organization are being kept.
    • Prepare the annual budget with input from Board members and staff.
    • Work with the Accountant to ensure filing of all necessary annual tax and reporting
    • paperwork.
    • Ensure that the organization is following appropriate financial policies and that qualified staff or consultants perform financial functions.
    • Understand regulatory and legal requirements for financial accounting and standards of practice for nonprofit organizations.
    • Ensure development and Board review of the organization’s financial policies and procedures.
    • Report to Board on key financial events, trends, concerns, and assessment of fiscal health.
    • Ensure management and maximization of cash and investments.
    • Attend one Board meeting and one conference call per month.
    • Participate in spring garden builds.
    • Support the organization at various events throughout the year.

    Skills Desired:

    • Organized and able to meet deadlines
    • Excellent written and verbal communication
    • Experience managing finances for a small organization

    Commitment:

    • Approximately 8-12 hours per month
    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
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