With autumn days at their peak and a nipping frost on the way, the team at Urban Roots celebrated the last of the season’s harvest with a casual breakfast in the garden! It has been an incredible season of growth for our programs, partnerships and multi-use work sites, and we thought it was high time to share our successes with our community partners, funders, ambassadors and well, the Mayor!
Gathered outdoors in the courtyard, surrounded by our vegetable and pollinator gardens, fruit patch, and resident honeybee hives, attendees took in the morning sunshine over a delicious, breakfast prepared by Urban Roots staff. Guests feasted on fall’s bounty, with a garden-grown leek, chard and thyme strata served up with a mixed greens salad with those stunning watermelon radishes we love to grow. Sipping coffee and engaged in great conversation, attendees took in our short program kicked off by fabulous youth intern Imogene, who welcomed the group to our demonstration site and had the pleasure of introducing Mayor Coleman to the group and to the work of Urban Roots. Mayor Coleman gave kind words and wonderful support for our work on the East Side, highlighting the youth job training program Right Track, a key partner who (along with Capital Region Watershed and Roots for the Home Team) help fund the youth internship program at Urban Roots. Mayor Coleman was also very impressed with the enormity of our rainbow chard, remarking cheerfully that it was the “Chard that ate the East Side!” (….but after a piece of that strata, the Mayor too ate that chard!)
Erip Rupp from Pollinate Minnesota then gave a short presentation on the status of pollinators in Minnesota and some projections of her work and how we all can get involved to help pollinators. Our hives at Urban Roots are operated by Pollinate Minnesota, where bee education and pollinator advocacy are engaged in through hands-on experiences working in the hives with honeybees. Next came the site tours of our grounds and facilities, led by Urban Roots youth interns, Imogene, Tony, Chue, Haset, Abdi and Pa! Visitors had the chance to hear from the youth interns in the Market Garden, Cooking and Conservation Programs about their work experiences at Urban Roots and the opportunities the upgrades to our demonstration site and offices have provided. A key upgrade, the addition of a produce wash station and walk-in cooler, have greatly increased our capacity to grow and process produce with the youth crews, distributed through our CSA, Roots for the Home Team, Mill City Farmer’s Market, hunger relief efforts and for use in our cooking program and classes. Our newest upgrade, a bike and storage shed for the Conservation Program’s awesome youth bike crew, was erected just this fall thanks to our generous donor Howard Kidder (for the shed materials) and the Allina volunteer work crew (for the amazing installation).
We sincerely thank all of our community partners, funders, board members, youth interns and Mayor Coleman for their support and for joining us for a beautiful morning in the garden…
The Board of Directors of Urban Roots in Saint Paul, MN is seeking individuals to join the group of dedicated professionals working to fulfill Urban Roots’ mission of building vibrant and healthy communities through food, conservation and youth development.
Urban Roots is a youth development nonprofit organization located on the East Side of St. Paul. Through three main community service and social entrepreneurship programs, Market Gardening, Cooking and Wellness and Conservation, Urban Roots works with teens ages 14-18 years old to develop skills, knowledge and social-emotional character so that youth can learn, navigate, contribute and thrive in their communities and their lives. You may learn more about our work on our website at www.urbanrootsmn.org.
Prospective board members exhibit essential qualities of a commitment to our purpose, financial stewardship and active leadership. Interested candidates are encouraged to contact the Board Development Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org to request an application.
Applications will be accepted until November 20, 2015, or until positions are filled. A member of the Committee will be following up with applicants.
As the colors turn to their autumn brilliance and the cole crops slow down, patiently taking in the cool temps before a true freeze, the Market Garden Crew is working in full force to wrap up the season. The youth intern crew works after school two days a week since the beginning of the school year and weekend shifts at the market. The focus has largely been dedicated to the CSA, Roots for the Home Team and Mill City Farmers Markets with shifts undertaking lots of harvesting, washing, prepping and packing for sale and distribution to those outlets. Now with most of those programs wrapped up, the real gardening begins! With unpredictable fall temps there is always a push to finish outdoor work and the intern crew works hard in the tasks of final harvesting, food preservation, drying herbs, food donations, garden tear down & clean up and spreading compost & mulch. Yesterday however, the crew had the opportunity to switch things up with a hallmark fall task…garlic planting!
Urban Roots has a growing seed stock of garlic, that we have been saving for over 12 years! Each fall youth interns have planted garlic in our gardens, harvested the bulbs in mid-summer to cure and then distributed some through our CSA, the Cooking and Wellness program and then saved enough stock to replant all over again. We do not embark on a ton of seed saving here at Urban Roots because of the amount of seed we need and proximity of crops that would be subject to cross-pollination, so it is really cool that we have continued to keep our own garlic seed for many years. We planted a few beds of garlic yesterday and plan to take on a few more next week. Youth interns said they felt like it was spring because of the opportunity to plant something in the ground and watch it sprout, although spring seems a long time coming, the energy and excitement is already there!