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Our Mission

Roots Rising is an award winning, women-led nonprofit whose mission is to empower youth and build community through food and farming.

 

Our vision is to lift up teenagers as community changemakers and strengthen the local food system through the transformational power of meaningful work.

Our Impact:

Youth Crews

Roots Rising hires Pittsfield teens to work in three seasonal Farm Crews a year. We also have Market Crew, who runs the Pittsfield Farmers Market, and Truck Crew, who runs a food truck with ingredients sourced from local farms.

 

Our Crews are not just jobs. They are opportunities for teens to engage in meaningful work- work that needs to be done and that contributes to a larger social good. Meaningful work is transformational. It leaves youth feeling purposeful, capable, and connected.

We work primarily with teens coming from high risk environments, but not exclusively. We believe that youth from all walks of life have something to learn from each other. 

The most common way that youth describe the Crew experience is that it feels like a family. 

5

Seasonal Youth Crews per year

50

Pittsfield teens provided with meaningful work

per year

767

Annual program hours devoted to supporting our farmers and strengthening our local food system

5,400

Pounds of food stocked and distributed per week at our local food pantry

"Roots Rising showed me what it feels like to be loved and cared for. And I have gained the will to change the world through my passions."

Aviva, Market Crew, Summer & Fall Farm Crews

Youth Crew Takeaways

91%

Had a stronger work ethic

94%

Had more pride in their community

97%

Felt more prepared for the workforce

Our Impact:

Pittsfield Farmers Market

Our Pittsfield Farmers Market is the first teen-run market in the region and was the first year-round market in Berkshire County. It was founded with the belief that everyone should have access to fresh, healthy food. 

 

We are located alongside Pittsfield’s most low-income neighborhood and implement several food justice initiatives to make our market affordable for all. This includes Market Match, which doubles the purchasing power of low-income shoppers by matching SNAP, WIC, and Senior benefits, and Summer Eats, a program that addresses the summer hunger gap by giving out free lunches to all youth under the age of 18.


Our market is an important “third place” for Pittsfield- a space outside of home and work where neighbors can meet each other and community can be cultivated. It’s been said that we’re living in an “Age of Loneliness”. Our market, like our Crews, offers connection, togetherness and hope.

1

First teen-run market in the region

350

Free meals given to youth through Summer Eats

$15,000

Dollars matched per year through Market Match, our nutrition incentive program

$200,000

Amount in direct sales made by farmers and food producers at our market

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer

"I am so excited to be the city that has the first teen-run farmers market in the region. This work is life changing for our teens. Thank you Roots Rising for all you do to make our city a special place."

Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer

Farmers Market Takeaways

84%

Of shoppers felt more connected to the community

96%

Of those who use Market Match say it helps them consume more fresh and healthy food

How to Donate

Checks may be made payable

to Roots Rising and mailed to:

 

Roots Rising

PO Box 1805

Pittsfield, MA 01202

We ❤️ Our 2020 Sponsors

Barnraisers

Cultivators

Pollinators

Nurturers

Appelbaum-Kahn Foundation, Pittsfield Cultural Council, Neenah Technical Materials, Guido's Fresh Marketplace, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Schwartz Charitable Foundation, Lee Bank, Paul Rich & Sons

Growers

Balance Rock Investment Group