Category: Cooking/Wellness

Get Involved with the Fun, Food, and Growing!

Staff and interns teamed up with CLUES (Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio) and Macalester College students to put on our best Earth Day ever on April 23rd!  Around 45 participants joined us to clean up and completely prep a few of our gardens for spring planting.  We ended the day with sweet chili cucumbers (a delicious, Mexican traditional snack), hot dogs roasting over a fire, and a seed planting for participants to bring home.  Below find more of the upcoming exciting projects and events made possible through our vital partnerships!

Events, Happenings, New Projects:

Market Garden Program:

 1. Rivoli Bluffs: In partnership with the Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services, our newest farm plot, nearly half an acre in development for the 2017 growing season

-High Tunnel: in partnership with the USDA Natural Resources  Conservation Services, to be installed mid-summer at  Rivoli Farm site.

2. GROW-IT Center: major project with Metro State and community partners to develop shuttered biological control greenhouse into community-university growing and research center

     -Youth interns testified to Legislature

     -$400,000 Grant included in the House Ag-Omnibus Finance Bill, fingers crossed!

3. Dinner on the Farm

     -July 23, tickets at

4. Mississippi Market

     -New Vendor for youth-grown produce

     -CSA pickup site

     -Positive Change Program in June- round up to support us!

     -Food Fair June 17 with Urban Roots tabling at all three stores

5. Roots for the Home Team

     -UR will be serving at Twins games on 6/17, 7/8, 8/20, 9/17

Cook Fresh Program

1. Saba Andualem: New Cook Fresh Program Coordinator!

2. Urban Pizza Farm: 6/29, 7/20, 8/21, stay tuned for details!

3. Chef-led lunches: Tuesdays, June 20-August 8,  contact us if you’d like to share in the fun!

4. East Side Health and Well-Being Collaborative: East Side Table is piloting a 10-week free subscription meal program this summer for East Side low-income families in partnership with Local Crate andUrban Roots produce!

Conservation Program:

1. Take Aim, May 20, 11am-3pm

     -The DNR WIllowbrook Hatchery, 1200 Warner Rd, St Paul, MN 55106

     -Fun outdoor activities, including fishing, archery, canoeing, a climbing wall, bicycling, geocaching, laser range, live animals     and a buckthorn art activity!


2. Slow Roll: July 26th 5:30-7:30

     -Join us and Cycles for Change for a “Slow Roll” group bike ride through the East Side

     -Enjoy a picnic at Urban Roots after the ride! Perfect for beginners and those who want to explore the East Side


3. National Fish & Wild Course: “Building Urban Wildlife Habitats with Youth”

     -Four youth interns will work with conservation professionals from around the country, sharing their experiences working as a youth in conservation and then designing a pollinator garden at Hamm Park, to  be installed later this summer.

4. Park Ranger Training- interns will learn how to give park tours from park rangers through the National Park Service

5. We are excited to have former intern Cha Vang joining Urban Roots as a seasonal staff member this summer.

6. Natural Leader Legacy Camp: a great opportunity for youth interns.

     -June 9th-12th at Camp Icaghowan in Amery, WI.

     -Designed to further knowledge and skills in community organizing, leadership, personal narrative and action planning, all with a goal of getting more people outside and engaged with the environment.


8. The buzz about Honey Bees!

     -David Woods is now a certified beekeeper!

     -New honey bee boxes installed at the Rivoli Farm Site

Cross-Program Activities and Events:

1. Bay Lake: Service Learning camp experience for all summer youth interns combined with end of the summer celebration and evaluation/reflection.

2. Open House, Aug 3: Youth-run pizza night and youth projects showcase- you’re invited!

3. Annual Event, October 12: Celebrate Urban Roots 20 years on the Eastside with great food, silent and live auctions. Harriet Island. So fun, don’t miss it!

4. Summer wood fire-pizza nights featuring special guest chefs.  Tentative dates: June 29, July 20 and September 21-check our website for updates on these exciting events!

5. Volunteer Opportunities

     -Next big event is May 13th from 9am-12pm.

     -Register online for all volunteering at


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Heartland Cookbook enters the Urban Roots Kitchen


Tri-Colored Ukrainian Borscht Soup was simmering away in the Urban Roots kitchen this Monday afternoon. The vibrant, savory recipe was from Lenny Russo’s cookbook, Heartland: Farm Forward Dishes from the Great Midwest. The gorgeous new cookbook features artwork from Minnesota Ojibwe artist, George Morrison and food photos by Tom Thulen, as presented by Heartland’s former sous chef Alan Bergo. Lenny Russo, chef/owner at Heartland is generously donating proceeds to from the book to Urban Roots! Look for us at Costco later this spring when we join Lenny at the signing for this stunning cookbook!


Our youth interns were excited to attempt the tricky tri-colored presentation. Two teams began peeling and chopping root vegetables for the heart of the dish, the Red and Golden Borscht, while two teams diced herbs for the two garnishes, the Green Borscht and Dill Crème Fresh. Our food processor was well used as “Team Green” first blended spinach, basil, onion, and garlic for the Green Borscht, later pureeing the Red and Golden Borscht. Youth learned that food presentation is a true art and gained much respect for skilled chefs! After photos and clean-up, youth enjoyed the perfect blend of earthy, buttery, and tangy soups in our taste test. Thank you Heartland!


Throughout this month Urban Roots youth interns will continue to explore the Twin Cities’ culinary scene by recreating recipes from more of our fantastic local restaurant partners including Birchwood and Spoon River. Look for more cookbook posts and get your copy of Heartland’s scrumptious cookbook soon!  To hear more about Heartland and other great cookbooks check out this link on epicurious: 4 New Cookbooks to Spring Clean Your Routine.


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Urban Roots goes “Top Chef”: Roots for the Home Team Salad Creations

Last Saturday (3/5/16) Urban Roots youth interns got out of bed early to celebrate their salad creations with Twin Cities chefs and Roots for the Home Team. Roots for the Home Team is a made-fresh urban-grown salad stand at Target Field, that partners with youth programs, including Urban Roots, Youth Farm, Appetite for Change, and Dream of Wild Health. Founder Sue Moore organized Saturday’s event to prepare for this year’s baseball season.IMG_2287

Youth arrived at St. Paul College’s culinary arts kitchen and scattered to their cooking stations, prepped with chopping knives, cutting boards, bowls and grocery bags filled with ingredients. Before the event, students researched and created salad recipes to test. After introductions, the youth were given an hour and a half to create, plate, name and be ready to share their salad.

IMG_2286Each team was privileged to work with an experienced Twin Cities chef. Our students said they learned some great tips from the chefs like, “if you dip a spoon in olive oil before you fill it with honey, the honey comes right off!” The salad creating began. Students showed off their expert chopping skills and honed taste buds, as they sampled salad dressings and made critical decisions, such as “this needs a little more spice, I taste too much peanut butter.”IMG_2294

By mornings end seven gorgeous salads were created with names like the “Spiced Curry Puckett,” “French Roasted,” and the “Spicy Thai Breaker.” The students presented the salads and the tasting began! This summer the salads will be made with vegetables grown by our youth and served over greens. Come out and support us and Roots for the Home Team at TargetField this baseball season!IMG_2304

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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…


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'Tis the season for…. PLANTING GARLIC!

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!




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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


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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
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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!


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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.

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This Summer: Tuesday Chef-Lead Lunches

The Cooking & Wellness Program is gearing up for a fantastic few months! Eight new interns will be joining us and five will be returning to take on significant leadership roles. They will be teaching each other about healthy eating and learning how to cook simple, wholesome dishes to nourish their bodies and tastebuds.

Last summer the Cooking & Wellness Program piloted a project where local chefs worked with our teen interns to plan, prepare and serve lunches for all of their fellow interns using produce grown in our gardens. It was a huge success! The interns had a great time learning from chefs, as well as creating delicious healthy meals that everyone was excited to eat. Our talented volunteer chefs enjoyed working with the youth and were impressed with their skills. We are taking the project full-scale this summer by creating lunches every Tuesday for all 60 youth interns and their supervisors. We can’t wait to see (and taste) all of the interns’ delicious creations!

Each week, a local chef will be joining the cooking team to help us develop and prepare the lunch. We will learn from a variety of culinary experts, and everyone will be able to enjoy a creative meal that will include produce from our gardens. This weekly event will give the interns a chance to showcase their hard work and present it in a tangible, delicious form!

We are still happily taking donations to support this amazing program, so please contact our Cooking & Wellness Summer Supervisor if interested!

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