Roots Rising is not just a job. It’s an opportunity for teens to engage in meaningful work- work that needs to be done and that contributes to a larger social good. We believe that meaningful work is transformational. It leaves youth feeling purposeful, capable, and connected. This differs greatly from the typical job opportunities available to teenagers.
At Roots Rising, our chosen path of meaningful work is farming. We take youth from all walks of life and bring them together as a Farm Crew, working side by side towards a common goal. We have seen how working out in the farm fields teaches teens what they need to know to be successful adults.
While transplanting lettuce seedlings, mulching potatoes, harvesting garlic scapes, or weeding endless rows of crops, teens learn how to pay attention, how to problem-solve when things don’t go as planned, and to persevere when the going gets tough.
As Farm Crew member Julianna Martinez, age 16, says, “Getting your hands in the soil is one of the best feelings in the world. So much has changed for me since being a member of the Farm Crew. I’m no longer a girly-girl who is afraid of dirt. My eating habits have changed completely- I now eat really healthily, love to cook with vegetables and edible weeds, and make myself herbal teas with plants from outside my door. And I’m no longer afraid of hard work.”
At Roots Rising, our Farm Crew may be assisting clients in a food pantry one day and planting a cover crop the next.
What ties it all together is that the work is meaningful- it is necessary, it brings us closer to the earth, and it is done in the spirit of serving our community and strengthening our local food system.