Month: February 2015

Maplewood Nature Center Visit

Despite the chilly winter temperatures, youth interns from our Conservation and Market Garden Crews visited the Maplewood Nature Center this week. While at the nature center, they learned about solar energy, saw a live salamander and snowshoed on hiking tails in the park.

This was the first time any of these youth interns had been snowshoeing and they had a blast! They walked out on a lake and discovered a muskrat lodge and a red wing blackbird nest in the cattails. Maplewood Nature Center Naturalists Oakley and Janet taught the youth about what some of the animals in the area do over the winter, and how to identify trees such as willow and red twig dogwood.

Urban Roots will be visiting the nature center again on April 18 to help out with their Outdoor Family Expo. We hope you join us for a terrific time!




Read Blog Detail

Sundance Family Foundation Releases White Paper on Youth Entrepreneurship

This week, the Sundance Family Foundation publically announced their strategic focus on the burgeoning field of Youth Social Entrepreneurship (YSE) with the release of their new White Paper, Youth Social Entrepreneurship: Advancing the Field by Dr. Tina Kruse of Macalester College. We at Urban Roots are equally excited about this release and commend the leadership of the Sundance Family Foundation in recognizing the need for advancing this field.

YSE integrates the fields of positive youth development, social entrepreneurship and community development and builds on the common intersection where entrepreneurial small business projects not only teach practical life skills. It also provide opportunities for our young people to practice collaboration, show leadership and provide larger community benefits in the process.

Urban Roots has been active in this arena on the East Side of Saint Paul since 1996 working with teens, providing employment and education through our Market Garden, Conservation and Cooking and Wellness Programs. We have always had confidence that the work we are doing is right for the youth and right for our collective future, and have the framework, goals and results to show this. However, this new White Paper advances this field by providing a needed definition, framework and common language unique to this innovative action for social and economic transformation.

At Urban Roots, we work with teens (ages 14–18) who are primarily youth of color from lower income families. Together, we create hope and opportunities for their future education and careers through boots-on-the-ground activities in food, environment, health and community engagement. Kudos to the Sundance Family Foundation in taking a leadership role in this field. We look forward to accompanying them in the exciting and innovative future of YSE!

Read Blog Detail

First Phalen Freeze Fest a Community-wide Success

Youth Interns from Urban Roots’ Conservation Program were among the many attendees who had a great time at the first ever Phalen Freeze Fest. As event partners, our interns acted out the Ojibwe legend of Shingebiss, a merganser duck who confronts the winter maker spirit using large, detailed puppets. Youth Interns have spent the past four weeks creating and perfecting the puppets for this performance.

Over 150 community members attended the performance, and afterwards there were many activities to participate in including geocaching, ice fishing, campfire cooking and more. The event was put on by St. Paul Parks and Recreation’s Natural Resources Department and partnerships with Urban Roots, Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources FiN program and Saint Paul Public Library. The event was supported in part by funds from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

We are pleased with the event’s success. In case you weren’t able to join, check out some scenes from the Freeze Fest.

Freeze Fest stations 1 Freeze Fest Puppet Preformance 4
 Freeze Fest Stations 5  Freeze Fest Puppet Preformance 5
Freeze Fest Stations 4
Read Blog Detail

Now Accepting Youth Intern Applications for Summer 2015

Work.   Grow.   Explore.

Join us this summer at Urban Roots! As a youth intern you will…

* Learn job skills related to cooking, conservation and sustainable agriculture
* Educate the community about gardening, nutrition and the environment
* Develop leadership, teamwork and business skills
* Work on fun projects outside that improve your community
* Get paid

Make a difference in your community by planting and harvesting with the Market Garden Crew, Cooking and learning new healthy and tasty vegetables recipes with the Cooking & Wellness Crew or planting rain gardens and removing invasive plants with the Conservation Crew!

Read more about our programs.

Urban Roots is hiring 14-18 year olds living or going to school on the East Side of Saint Paul. Applications due MARCH 13, 2015.

The application deadline has passed. Thank you for your interest in Urban Roots.

Urban-Roots-20131002-029 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you would like more information, please contact Pheng at or 651.228.7073, ext.24.

Below is a personal message from Pheng:

Hello! My name is Pheng Vang and I am the new Youth Internship Coordinator for Urban Roots. I am thrilled to be a part of the team and the community in which Urban Roots serves. To give you a brief background about myself, I graduated from Metropolitan State University studying Psychology with an emphasis on youth development. While in school, I held internships and volunteered at various after-school programs working with the youth as well as worked at the YMCA for several years with overnight camping and data evaluation.

During my off time, you can catch me coordinating community sporting events and coaching youth football, which is a favorite pastime of mine. I am a very passionate individual when it comes to healthy living, practicing mindfulness, and creating opportunities for youth, which is why I appreciate and love the work that Urban Roots has been doing.

I am very excited to be working for Urban Roots because it is a great opportunity to continue to push my passion for positive youth development into new avenues. I am eagerly looking forward to the recruitment process and meeting our future interns!

Read Blog Detail