Urban Roots (podcast)Mar 2nd, 2012 | By Cecilia | Category: Featured Articles, podcast, the show
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 fifth year, for the first four, it was a program of the non-profit, Youth Launch. It is currently transitioning into 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. At this writing, they still have shares available.
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.