Agriculture, Food, Nutrition

Rochester Roots, Inc.

  • Rochester, NY
  • www.rochesterroots.org

Mission Statement

Rochester Roots Mission is “To empower citizens and communities, starting with youth, to create agency for their own sustainable wellbeing.”

Our Vision is for “Vibrant communities of diverse people with high performance brains who collaborate to create sustainable wellbeing.”

Main Programs

  1. Sustainability Education & Entrepreneur Program

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Service Areas

Self-reported

New York

ruling year

1993

Executive Director since 2003

Self-reported

Ms. Janet McDonald

Keywords

Self-reported

urban agriculture, sustainability, gardening, youth education, advocacy, organic, community development, self sufficiency, entrepreneurship, value-added products, environment

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Also Known As

ROOTS

EIN

16-1398194

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (K01)

Agricultural, Youth Development (O52)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Sustainability Education & Entrepreneur Program

Rochester Root, Inc. (ROOTS) is a 501(c)3 not-profit organization whose mission is: “To empower citizens and communities, starting with youth, to create agency for their own sustainable wellbeing.” Since receiving our non-profit status in 1991 ROOTS has developed innovative programs focused on the education, production, processing and distribution of organically grown fruits and vegetables from non-emergency sources. Our early work included successful partnerships to be the first to establish community gardens in the City of Rochester, the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project in the Northeast, the first School & Community Garden Project with the Rochester City School District (RCSD), the first student-run Urban Farm Share CSA in the region, and most recently the first Urban Sustainability Laboratory (USLab) within a public elementary school setting.
In 2009 our work was recognized by Sustainable Intelligence (SI) who led an “Urban Agriculture & Community Garden Feasibility Study” (UACGFS) for the City of Rochester. ROOTS led the Growing Technologies research and advised on the Nutrition research of the 306 page study. One result of this was the creation of a significant Urban Agriculture Wellbeing Influence Model. The model represents a shared understanding of the seven impacts of urban agriculture which are: 1) Sense of Community, 2) Financial, 3) Employment, 4) Health, 5) Ecosystem, 6) Public Safety, and 7) Education. Model and details available upon request.
As a result of this model ROOTS recognized that by focusing our attention on the Youth Education impacts we could influence the whole system to create better wellbeing outcomes for all seven impacts. So, simultaneously, while working on the UACGFS the RCSD and other local foundations funded our Youth Wellbeing Influence Model research, which identified four categories of impacts on youth wellbeing through School Learning Gardens:
1) Decision-Making for Wellbeing, 2) Social Relationship Building, 3) Experiential Learning, and 4) Academic Achievement. Model and details available upon request.
Both models form the foundation from which all ROOTS programs are now structured. In 2012 we used these models to inform the design schematics for a Community Sustainability Learning Center & Learning Environment (CSLCLE) which contains 12 indoor and 12 outdoor integrated laboratories. We continue to incrementally built the educational curriculum, growing technologies, and university partnerships that support our vision for “Vibrant communities of diverse people with high performance brains who collaborate to create sustainable wellbeing.”
In 2014 ROOTS converted a science lab at the Montessori Academy (MA) into an Urban Sustainability Laboratory (USLab) and developed a Sustainability Education & Entrepreneur Program which builds toward our vision for a CSLCLE. Through the USLab we provide 320 Pre-K – 6th grade students and 16 teachers with “A collaborative approach to sustainability education where students, teachers, citizens, college students, PhD’s and businesses learn together.”
In our MA programs students use project-based learning constructed on a model-based inquiry approach to sustainability education to understand the co-creating and co-evolving relationships between Sociological, Ecological and Technological Systems (SETS). Through this, students learn to understand the causal effects of their decisions on living systems sustainability. With our business partner SI, university support from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Arizona State University (ASU), and Nazareth College (NC) we TEAM collaborate on real world complex “wicked problem” sustainability challenges. Together we have developed a Sustainability Framework and System Dynamics Model (SDM) that are well-becoming tools and processes for students iterating better decisions, over time.
Our school day Bringing Science to Life and afterschool Bringing Ideas to Life programs partner RCSD 3rd – 6th grade MA students on year long projects with RIT’s Kate Gleason School of Engineering to engineer horticulture systems that support community sustainability and wellbeing. Students also partner with ASU’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. As an example of the impact on student learning in April 2015 a third grade MA student, Subash Rai, a Nepalese refugee of five years who is living in poverty, presented our program from his perspective. He challenged 225 under-graduate, graduate and PhDs engineering students from across the US at the annual meeting of Engineers for a Sustainable World to improve upon the MA student’s engineered product designs and ROOTS Eco-District vision. See the YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUn0XIl-2DM

Examples of past and present projects:
• 2015-present – System Dynamics Modeling, Robo-Composter, Classroom Seed Starter Lab. In-Development
• 2014-15 – Controlled Classroom Horticulture Lab

Category

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Service Areas

Self-reported

New York

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Financials

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Rochester Roots, Inc.

Leadership

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Executive Director

Ms. Janet McDonald

Governance

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


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CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


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BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?