Growing Food and Leaders with Urban Roots (podcast)

Apr 22nd, 2017 | By | Category: Featured Articles, podcast, the show
Youth Raking Potatoes, Photo Urban Roots

Youth Raking Potatoes, Photo Urban Roots

YOU CAN HELP SUPPORT URBAN ROOTS. FIND OUT HOW

As the 20th Century began to unfold, the telephone, rural free delivery, and roads started to relieve rural isolation. It was a mixed blessing. Because as these innovations and improvements brought the world to once insular communities, they also paved the way for children of farming families to leave the land to seek new opportunities in urban centers.

There were lessons to be learned, and skills developed, from tilling the soil and growing food for family and the community.

Today, Urban Roots, is embracing our agrarian past to help a diverse group of youth have a better future.

Max Elliot is Executive Director of this non-profit, and says, “Urban Roots is a youth development program that uses sustainable agriculture to transform the lives of young people and increase the access to healthy food in Austin.”

Although Urban Roots is entering its eight year, for the first four, it was a program of the non-profit, Youth Launch. It is currently an independent non-profit organization.

Young people, 14 to 17 years old, apply for the paid intern positions, and Max says it is a very competitive process. They always receive more applications than there are internships available.

Forty percent of what they grow on their three and a half acre farm in east Austin, on the banks of Boggy Creek, goes to food pantries and soup kitchens throughout Austin to help feed the hungry.

They sell the remaining produce at farmers’ markets and via their community supported agriculture (CSA) program.

Urban Roots interns learn what they need to know about farming as well as teamwork, communication, self-discipline, problem solving, and perseverance.

Urban Roots not only grows good food, but it also grows engaged citizens.

Central Texas residents can help support Urban Roots through the end of April just by shopping.

For the month of April Wheatsville Food Co-op is collecting donations for Urban Roots through Wheatsville’s Community Action Program. In addition to a guaranteed $1,000 donation from Wheatsville, the co-op is collecting money at the register throughout the month by asking shoppers to round up their totals to include a donation to Urban Roots.

Wheatsville’s Community Action program supports 10 local nonprofit organizations throughout the year, one per month from January through October. The beneficiaries of the program are democratically chosen by the cooperative’s members during Wheatsville’s annual election. Last year Wheatsville raised $5,916.90 for Urban Roots, but hope to beat that number donation in 2017!

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