We’ve been in East Saint Paul building community capacity and setting up youth for success for 20 years!

Urban Roots, formerly Community Design Center of Minnesota, was incorporated in 1969 as a 501(c)3. Over the years, we have provided a range of community development services in Minneapolis, Saint Paul and southern Minnesota, including architecture, urban planning, economic development and organizational development—with a common thread of empowerment, engagement and innovation. We have operated our food and environmental programs on the East Side of Saint Paul since 1996, engaging thousands of youth in education, training, and work projects that provide service to the community, develop young leaders and improve health and the environment.

In 2018, we reached nearly 5,900 community members through park and garden tours, community events, classroom visits, Service Learning opportunities, and community volunteer events.



Our Mission:

Urban Roots is a Saint Paul organization whose mission is to cultivate and empower youth through nature, healthy food, and community.

Our Vision:

Urban Roots’ vision is a world where all communities have unlimited access to nature and healthy food.

Our Values:

  • Collaboration
    • Together we can achieve more than if we act alone.
  • Inclusion
    • Diversity and inclusivity strengthen every aspect of our organization.
  • Stewardship
    •  Communities will be healthy when we inspire residents to understand, respect, and conserve the natural environment.
  • Experiential Learning
    • Opportunities for hands-on discovery will help youth and communities engage and grow.



Annual Report Archives:   2015    2016

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Support Urban Roots

Your contribution will help us continue and expand our opportunities for youth interns to operate gardening, entrepreneurship, cooking, and conservation projects that improve the community’s health and environment and develop skills and career pathways.