Category: Market Garden

Just Saying "Hay!" from Urban Roots Staff!

The sky was cloudy but spirits were sunny for our Market Garden Staff Work Day! Market Garden team members Summer, Jaclyne, and Sydney led staff crews to get our garden at First Covenant Church in great shape for the production season. We edged the garden, raised new beds for tomatoes, mulched with a dozen bales of hay, and gave our garlic some love so that production can be better than ever.

The administrative staff enjoyed ditching their dress shoes and getting their hands dirty—it was a great way to remember why Urban Roots began and how we can keep giving back to the community in the future. Urban Roots wouldn’t be where we are today without the guidance of our talented staff and our amazing youth interns. Last year’s harvest of 10,500 pounds on 1/2 acre of land was so amazing, and with the new Rivoli Bluff site we’ll double our land and yield even more healthy food for our community!

Come visit us for a garden tour, or join the fun during our staff Conservation Work Day on June 6th!

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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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Go Green and volunteer with Urban Roots!

‘Tis the season to sign up to volunteer! Our volunteer program now offers three different types of experiences, each available in the Market Garden or Conservation Program.  You can now sign up online at to volunteer through one or more of the following options:

  1. Individual Shifts- Wednesday mornings in April and May are now open for individuals to sign up, get their hands dirty, and become regular volunteers with Urban Roots!  Earn a free T-shirt after volunteering for 3 shifts!  Saturday April 22nd and May 13th are special weekend events open to individuals, more details on this below.

  2. Group Shifts- Group volunteer shifts are great for businesses, organizations, or school groups, with a minimum sign-up of 8 participants.  Check out the available shifts and sign-up on our website calendar.

  3. Corporate Team-Building Experience-  New in 2017!  We now offer an exclusive team-building and community service experience to your workplace or corporate group. We will work directly with you to tailor the experience to your needs. The day begins with coffee and scones in the gardens, a garden or park tour, followed by team building and volunteer work experience. We provide a space for picnicking afterward or can connect you with lunch options.  See our website for pricing.


Volunteer on Earth Day, April 22nd: 9am-1pm

Urban Roots is teaming up with CLUES- Communidades Latinos Unidas en Servicio, a linguistically and culturally relevant non-profit providing resources to empower Latino families, to put on a grand Earth Day event!  Their youth program, “YA,” Youth in Action, and our Youth Council are working together to plan the day.  Come to get your hands in the dirt (with our Market Garden Program) or clean-up Swede Hollow Park (with our Conservation Program) and then rendezvous at the end for a picnic and plant a tomato seedling to bring home!  Sign up and check for updates on our website.

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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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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.


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We're Back! Mill City Farmers Market Dates

No one is more excited than us to be back at the Mill City Farmers Market! Our market crew this season will be run by Market Garden program staff: Julie, Summer and Jessica. The market youth crew will be led by our Market Crew Lead, Imogene, and youth interns: Krystal, Nuichi, Tony and Haset. Stop by our stand to pick up some fresh, youth grown produce, chat with our amazing interns and staff and browse around a vibrant market in a wonderful setting. Our booth’s return was already featured in the Mill City Times!

Our booth, located on the Chicago Mall in booth 103, will feature different items each week, but will include delicious, youth-grown produce such as: kale, swiss chard, beets, carrots, shallots, summer squash, shishito peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, radishes, potatoes, leeks, turnips, asian greens, salad mix, arugula, celeriac, fennel, a variety of herbs such as cilantro, parsley, lemongrass, thyme, mint and more.

We hope to see you there!

Market Garden Produce Mark Your Calendars
Market hours: 8am-1pm

September 12
September 19
September 26
October 3
October 10
October 17

Mill City Farmers Market, 704 South 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401Urban Roots Produce

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