Food dishes up opportunity
Roots for the Home Team® is the brainchild of entrepreneurial dietitian Susan Moores, who believes that eating well should be a delight, not drudgery or a duty. Susan was inspired by youth garden programs, which teach kids to appreciate and enjoy food by immersing them in its creation. She decided to take the concept a few steps further into the food chain, and have those same youth turn their produce into healthy salads, then work selling those salads to a bigger audience.
Expanding the reach
For the first sales venue, Sue chose her favorite summer sport, baseball. She partnered with the Minnesota Twins, and since 2012, the Roots’ Garden Goodies cart has been selling salads to hungry fans near Gate 34 at Target Stadium with tantalizing and teasing offerings as Spiced Curry Puckett and Slawsome Slugger .
It’s no wonder the salads usually sell out.
Since that humble beginning, Roots for the Home Team has expanded to sell salads at Minnesota Gopher home football games in TCF Bank Stadium, as well as partner with numerous Twin Cities retailers.
Sprouting so many more possibilities
While Sue’s initial goal was a better approach to better eating, she quickly realized that Roots’ impact extended far beyond salads. The youth were in the kitchen learning culinary skills, they were out in public honing their sales skills, they were experiencing their first paying job outside their community.
Today, Roots’ focus is on creating unique, valuable opportunities for multicultural youth participants by:
- Giving them a view beyond their neighborhood that they might not otherwise gain.
- Exposing them to food- and business-related careers such as food science, culinary arts, product development, communications, entrepreneurism and public relations.
- Connecting them with mentors and new networks of people who can help them apply and nurture their talents, follow their passions and leverage their Roots’ experiences.
- Growing their appetite for vocational success.
Meet Our Garden Program Partners
Urban Roots offers gardening, cooking and environmental programs for youth and families in St. Paul. Nearly 1,500 people are served each year. 30 teen interns from the East Side operate six neighborhood gardens and grow and sell a variety of vegetables and herbs to the community.
Youth Farm provides year-round programs for 800 youth ages 9 to 24. They educate and train through gardens and greenhouses, cultivating leadership through planting, growing, preparing and selling the food they grow. Youth Farm works in five neighborhoods in the Twin Cities including Lyndale, Hawthorne and Powderhorn in Minneapolis, and Frogtown and the West Side of St. Paul.
Dream of Wild Health helps Native American youth restore the health of their community by expanding their knowledge of, and access to, healthy indigenous foods and medicines. At a 10-acre farm in Hugo, MN, urban youth learn about their cultural heritage, Native American agriculture, cooking and food preservation.
Appetite For Change helps North Minneapolis youth build health, wealth and social change through training in urban agriculture, culinary arts and leadership. Youth ages 14 to 24 tend nine urban farm plots, lead community cooking workshops and learn valuable work readiness skills, with a focus on direct career pathways to the food service industry.