Category: Conservation

Beautiful morning for a "Breakfast in the Garden" at Urban Roots!

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…


Read Blog Detail

Now Hiring: Donor Development Associate

Posted September 24, 2015

Urban Roots is seeking a full-time Donor Development Associate to coordinate and lead individual donor development and fundraising strategies and activities that increase our donor engagement, recognition and stewardship. A key aim is to increase the number of new donors and deepen the relationships with current donors and constituents. The DDA will work closely with the Executive Director, Program Director, and program staff and with the Fundraising Committee and Event Committee of the Board of Directors and plays an integral role in implementing the Strategic Fundraising Plan. An additional goal of the position is to raise the profile and public awareness of Urban Roots through regular, effective communications, updated collateral materials and relationships with media and other outlets. The DDA is expected to develop and maintain a thorough knowledge of Urban Roots mission, values, programs, impact and stories.

Position Duties and Responsibilities:

Fundraising and Donor Development:

• Develop annual goals and creative and innovative strategies in individual donor development that integrate the overall strategies and goals of the organization.
• Develop and maintain thorough knowledge of current donors and donor base and develop plans to retain current donors, and increase those donations where possible.
• Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward new donors by effectively moving donor prospects through this giving cycle.
• Develop and implement strategies that will excite, incentivize and engage donors in Urban Roots activities and events.
• Enter and maintain confidential donor information into the database, keep records up to date, and prepare and distribute regular reports.
• Lead and implement fundraising campaigns including Annual Fundraising Dinner, other events, direct appeals, crowd sourcing, etc.
• Engage the board in fundraising activities.
• Assist with other fundraising activities as requested.

Communications and Community outreach:

• Represent Urban Roots at community events and activities as needed.
• Communicate with media and build media relationships; write and distribute press releases or articles as needed.
• Work with staff to develop and update marketing materials, brochures, cards, newsletters, participant stories, ‘case for support’ and others as needed.
• Manage website, facebook page, twitter account and write content as needed (with program, staff, board and organizational information & photos).
• Oversee & write social media content & function (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other tools as identified).
• Create and/or disseminate mass emails as needed.


• Develop annual fundraising budget.
• Active participation in the Fundraising Committee of the Board.
• Active participation in staff meetings and board meetings as requested.
• Identify and participate in professional development activities.
• Maintain up-to-date knowledge in relevant professional fields of nonprofit fundraising, youth development, and food, urban agriculture and conservation.
• Coordinate with interns and volunteers as needed.
• Assist Executive Director as needed and requested.


• Bachelors degree in a relevant field, or 5 years relevant experience.
• At least 3 years of relevant fundraising experience.
• Excellent inter-personal and relationship-building skills.
• Knowledge and experience in non-profit fundraising work, and specifically individual giving strategies and campaigns, tools and resources, and ambition to learn more.
• Computer proficiency in WORD, Excel and PowerPoint.
• Ability to use database software and donor management or fundraising software.
• Experience and proficiency with social media and web software.
• Excellent written and verbal communications skills, and ability to represent Urban Roots to a variety of audiences.
• Experience with leading fundraising events, campaigns, direct appeals and individual donor development.
• Project Management experience, with a proven ability to communicate and complete work effectively and efficiently, goal oriented and self-motivated.
• Experience and ability to work both independently and collaboratively with other staff and in teams or committees.
• Positive attitude & strong work ethic, with enthusiasm for the mission of Urban Roots
• Occasional evening or weekend work is expected.

Additional Information: Salary is commensurate with experience. This position qualifies for full benefits under the personnel policy of Urban Roots.

Any offer of employment is contingent on successful completion and passing of a background check.

Urban Roots recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in supporting and advancing the organization mission, and in enriching the experiences of its employees, board members, volunteers, supporters, partners and program participants and beneficiaries, and in supporting and advancing the organization mission. Urban Roots is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds. Urban Roots is an equal opportunity employer. Urban Roots provides equal access to and opportunity in its employment, programs, and facilities, without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identification or expression.

How to Apply: Interested candidates should send their resume and a cover letter explaining why they are qualified for this specific position to: Development Associate Position at We will request contact information for 3 references from the short-listed candidates.

Deadline for Applications: By 3:00 pm on Friday, October 9, 2015


Read Blog Detail

Newest Addition has Our Youth Interns Buzzing

This summer our staff increased by the thousands! Thousands of bees, that is.

Through a partnership with Pollinate MN and an Innovation Grant from Sprockets, we were able to introduce two honey bee hives to our garden space around the Urban Roots office and demonstration site. Each hive houses around 50,000 bees! Our bees have been busy all summer pollinating our crops and other flowers in the area, all while making close to 100 pounds of honey, which they’ll need to make it through our cold winter months.

Throughout the summer, our youth interns learned a lot about honey bees. They each had the chance to put on a bee suit and open up the hives to see what goes on inside those buzzing boxes.

St. Paul Parks and Recreation’s EcoRanger Academy and YouthCare’s Youth LEAD program also got a chance to come visit our site and learn about the bees.

The hives have been a great addition to Urban Roots, providing another hands on opportunity for education and building connections to the natural world, as well as providing benefits to all the gardens in the neighborhood!



Read Blog Detail

Water, Trees & Bees: Citizen Science

Urban Roots Conservation youth interns have been busy bees this summer collecting data for a variety of citizen science projects. Using a range of data collecting techniques, the youth were able to contribute to studies examining water quality, trees and bees!

The University of Minnesota Extension’s Wasp Watchers Program, which collects data for scientists monitoring the spread of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, was one of the great learning experiences for youth interns. The project involved observation of a ground nesting solitary wasp called the Smokey Winged Beatle Bandit (Cerceris fumipennis). This wasp hunts the wood-boring beetles, captures and paralyzes them, and returns to its ant-like nest to feed the beetle to its larva. If Emerald Ash Borer is within a one-mile radius of the nest, there is a good chance the wasp will catch it, informing observers of the beetle’s proximity. Youth observed the wasp’s nests found in unused ball fields, waited for them to return with a captured beetle, then netted the wasp and collected the beetle for lab identification!

Making good use of the insect nets, we also surveyed for bumblebees at our worksites and found three different species; the two spotted, black and gold, and common eastern bumblebee.

Throughout the summer, interns also participated in the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Citizen Stream Monitoring Program. Youth evaluated water quality by making qualitative observations on how the stream looked, measuring water temperature, and then measuring water clarity using a tool called a secchi tube.

The interns learned so much while contributing to scientific research and enjoyed the break from pulling invasive plant material!

Gao Sheng using net

Isaiah with Beetle

Read Blog Detail

Success at the State Fair's Eco Experience

Though the great Minnesota get-together has concluded another season, our youth are still talking about their time spent with Urban Roots at the Eco Experience. The Eco Experience is a huge exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair, filled with hands-on activities, demonstrations and resources.

Youth interns and staff set up the Urban Roots booth just outside of the Eco Experience building with a model of how rain gardens work. While we were there, our youth interns engaged with over a hundred fair visitors informing them of how rain gardens work and why it is important in an urban water cycle!

Our interns did an awesome job of demonstrating the skills and knowledge they had developed over the summer session at Urban Roots. It wasn’t all work for the youth though! They also got a chance to explore the fair, getting cookies and cotton candy, and check out the oddity that is seed art as well as the different species of fish Minnesota has to offer.


<< Older Posts

Read Blog Detail

Conservation GrowCrew Management Plan

Urban Roots Conservation GrowCrew (returning interns) had a busy summer doing high-level natural resource work, creating a management plan for a small patch of land at the Willowbrook Park near the MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Central Region Headquarters.

managment plan

Our youth interns were tasked with developing a 5-year plan to convert a weedy patch into a more welcoming and natural/native environment. The youth inventoried the site, identified existing plant material and researched the best methods for removal of the invasive species. They then researched what ecosystem and what plant material would best fit the existing environment. Along the way, youth interns debated the best course of action, reached a consensus and created a plan that they presented at a regional managers meeting.

Our partner at the DNR writes:

You can tell your crew that they completely wowed the Regional Managers today. Congratulations. Everyone was so impressed with the work and the presentation skills of the group. By far, your presentation was a highlight of a year’s worth of restoration management meetings.”

We look forward to helping roll out phase one of the plan!managment map
<< Older Posts

Read Blog Detail

Now Recruiting Board Members

The Board of Directors of Urban Roots is currently seeking individuals to join our group of dedicated professionals working to fulfill Urban Roots’ mission.

Urban Roots is a youth development organization located in East Side Saint Paul with the mission to build vibrant and healthy communities through youth development, food, conservation and entrepreneurship. Our vision is for youth to learn, contribute, navigate and thrive by leading and innovating around food, conservation, wellness and entrepreneurship all through engaging and connecting with their community. We prepare youth for their own future prosperities. We operate three main programs; Market Garden, Cooking and Wellness, and Conservation, and employ 60 teens each year in these programs.

Prospective board members exhibit essential qualities of a commitment to our purpose, financial stewardship and active leadership. Our expectations for board members include:

*Fulfillment of three year Board term.
*Regular participation in Board meetings and committee work, approximately 10-12 times per year (approximately 8-12 hours per month).
*Participation in fundraising.
*Advocacy on behalf of the organization; promoting it’s efforts, building networks and making connections to resources wherever possible.

If interested, please complete an application by including:

*Your contact information (email and telephone)
*Your resume, bio or CV
*A cover letter addressing these three questions:

1. Can you responsibly commit to meeting the term and expected work load requirements?
2. Why are you interested in serving on this particular board?
3. What professional or volunteer experience, including having served on a board or governing committee, uniquely qualifies you to serve on the board?

Please email the application to by September 4, 2015. A member of the Board will follow-up with applicants by mid-September.


The Board Development Committee
<< Older Posts

Read Blog Detail

Exciting News: We are Partnering with Izzy’s Ice Cream

Sue Moores, founder of Roots for the Home Team, came up with a great idea of turning Urban Roots Market Garden produce into delicious ice cream! What better way to spend the summer than with refreshing ice cream made from your own produce? IMG_6578

Yesterday morning, our Market Garden Youth Interns were excited to get the chance to tour Izzy’s Ice Cream in Minneapolis. We had the opportunity to see our basil turn into the very popular Lemon Basil Ice Cream! Many youth were surprised that such an unusual combination turned out to be amazing. Overall, both the staff and interns had a great time learning about how their produce is being distributed in local businesses.

If you’re strolling through the neighborhood, don’t forget to drop by Izzy’s Ice Cream to pick up some delicious Lemon Basil or Beet and Berry Ice Cream featuring Urban Roots produce!


<< Older Posts

Read Blog Detail

Apply by June 30: Minnesota GreenCorps Member at Urban Roots

Urban Roots has been chosen to be a host site for a 2015-2016 Minnesota GreenCorps Member. The GreenCorps member will work with the Urban Roots Market Garden and Conservation Programs and work with teens in designing and implementing pollinator gardens, rain gardens, nature area restoration, geocaching and other outdoor activities, together with growing and marketing produce from six urban production sites.

Applications to MN GreenCorps all go through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The MPCA is now accepting applications through June 30, 2015 from individuals interested in serving as an AmeriCorps member in MN GreenCorps for the 2015-2016 program year. Full-time positions will begin in mid-to-late September 2015 and last through August 2016, with members serving approximately 40 hours per week. Learn more and find out how to apply here through the MN Pollution Control Agency.

Job Description:

Youth Program Supervisor/GreenCorps member at Urban Roots

The GreenCorps member at Urban Roots will work with staff and the youth we serve. They will lead outreach and education efforts through partnering organizations (St. Paul public schools, public libraries, etc) to encourage sustainable living through outdoor play, urban gardening, healthy eating habits, biking for transportation, and using rain gardens to help with storm water management. The GreenCorps member’s projects will serve to improve the St. Paul community’s attitudes towards the environment through increased education and empowerment through action projects to ultimately improve both human and environmental health of the East Side community.

The GreenCorps member will work with the Market Garden and the Conservation Programs as part of a Program Team. The responsibilities include:

• With the Market Garden Program, provide knowledge and assistance to produce and prepare locally and organically grown vegetables and fruits, especially though community garden plots and school garden programs.
• With the Conservation Program – build awareness, appreciation, and respect for urban natural spaces through restoration projects and environmental education, encouraging the creation and maintenance of pollinator habitat, building confidence and awareness around the use of bikes as an alternative form of transportation, building, maintaining, and providing education around storm water management (rain gardens) both in public and private spaces.
• Support and work with youth and the Urban Roots staff in conducting education and enrichment activities in the community.
• Support and expand Urban Roots current outreach activities with local after school programs, focusing on teaching youth about local foods, the importance of pollinators, their role in the water cycle, and learning about their local parks and natural areas.
• Document results and submit quarterly and final projects to MPCA, including lessons learned that can inform and benefit other communities.

For more information about the GreenCorps Member work at Urban Roots, please contact our Conservation Program Manager (651-228-7073, ext 16).

Read Blog Detail

Live Auction Excitement

From a New York City food tour to an outdoor canoe adventure, our live auction will have what you’re looking for! On Sunday, July 19, Urban Roots is hosting our 5th Annual Celebration Dinner at the Saint Paul Hotel. New this year will be a live auction. Check out the amazing packages you could bid on and win at our event!

Chef’s Table at Heartland Restaurant & Wine Bar (Party of 6)
Estimated Value: $2,000


The Chef’s Table experience includes a table outside the kitchen, a dedicated server as well as the presentation of each course by the Chef. An in depth behind the scenes tour of the facilities is given prior to the meal. The menu is custom designed, and wines are paired with each course (or pairings with beer, cocktails or nonalcoholic cocktails). The details of the menu and the scope of it are predicated by budget, personal preference and dietary concerns and constraints. Diners are not made aware of the actual menu, but are instead greeted with it when they arrive. The anticipation and surprise are part of the experience…Read More

Outward Bound Canoe Trip (Party of 12)
Estimated Value: $1,300


Voyage with your canoe through lakes and portage trails in pristine wilderness areas. Learn to read the river with skill and intimacy and take your turn paddling your canoe. Custom group canoe trips are designed specifically for your group. The wildnerness is our classroom and experience is our teacher. We will work with you to design course learning objectives and logistics. Plan a canoe trip for up to 12 participants for Fall 2015…Read More

Wine Region Escape in Sonoma, CA
Estimated Value: $5,000

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa

Gorgeous scenery 

and premier luxury surround you in Sonoma, California for 5 days and 4 nights at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa with Economy Class air for two. The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa sits in the idyllic California’s renowned wine country, replete with an abundance of nearby wineries, epicurean delights, and breathtaking scenery. For hundreds of years, ancient thermal mineral waters have graced this site. Today, the resort is proud to be one of the only luxury Spa resorts in the country with its own source of thermal mineral water. All guests may partake in daily complimentary hike and bike adventures. Your trip for two includes: Round 

trip economy class air, 5 days/4 nights accommodations in King or Queen room, daily complimentary breakfast, all room-related taxes, daily complimentary wine tastings in hotel lobby, complimentary bottle of wine upon arrival, free concierge reservation service… Read More
Savor New York City Food Tour
Estimated Value: $4,000

South Street Seaport, NY

Explore Manhattan’s history through its food in New York, New York for 4 days and 3 nights at the Grand Hyatt New York including your choice of one food tour. Come along with expert guides to explore the delicious foods and beverages in Manhattan’s most interesting neighborhoods. The historic East Village neighborhood is known for its rich culture, from art and fashion to music and politics, and very importantly, for its food! You won’t be able to get enough of the authentic NY pizza and hot dogs, homemade Ukrainian pierogies and soup, deli sandwiches, egg creams, Chinese dumplings and ice cream. The Lower East Side, one of the oldest, yet trendiest, neighborhoods in Manhattan boasts a rich immigrant history, and a menu to compliment it with authentic Neapolitan pizza, bialys, pickles, knishes, Greek spinach pie and souvlaki, gourmet chocolates and donuts. The eclectic neighborhood of NoLita, adjacent to Little Italy, is home to the Italian immigrants who came to America at the end of the 19th century. These streets house the oldest pizzeria in the U.S., the old police headquarters and DiPalo Fine Foods. Savor Italian cheeses and meats, Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches, delicious French quiche, Mexican yucca fries, Spanish tapas, handmade candy and NY style cheesecake while you learn about mafia history! Your trip for two includes: Round trip Economy Class air for two, 4 days/3 nights, all room-related taxes, free concierge reservation service and your choice of a New York City Food Tour (Flavors of New York or Lower East Side Artisian Tour or NoLita: Eat a Bite of Ethic New York)… Read More

Mario Andretti Racing Experience for Two
Estimated Value: $Priceless

racing 2

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Get ready to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality with the Mario Andretti Racing Experience. The “world’s fastest driving experience” offers full-size Indy-style race cars similar to the race cars driven by Mario himself, and puts you in the driver’s seat! With no lead car to follow and two-way car radio communication with your personal spotter, it’s just you, the car and the speedway! Your choice of Arizona, Illinois, New Hampshire or North Carolina for 3 days and 2 nights with a Mario Andretti Racing Experience and accommodations at a Fairmont, Marriott, Hyatt or similar property. Your trip for two includes: 3 days/2 nights, all room-related taxes, free concierge reservation service, one 3-hour Mario Andretti racing experience; including a driver’s meeting with the crew chief, in car 2-way radio and personal racing instructors (per person) with a souvenir racing license and graduate certificate…Read More


New items will be posted as they are received. Questions can be directed to our Events & Marketing Intern.

Read Blog Detail
Web design byAscension Development Group