A new home (and farm) for transition age foster youth!

For years, RootDown's Executive Director has been telling our staff,
"One day, we're going to figure out how to support foster youth and kids from the juvenile justice system." Last month, this became a reality. RootDown has partnered with foster organizations, mental health practitioners, and the owners of the house in front of our micro-farm/FarmPOD to offer dedicated foster housing & supportive services to youth aging out of other foster programs. Tenants in this home will have free veggies, optional therapy, and a great community of civic, business, non-profit, community, and educational leaders in South LA who want to support them to transition to independent living. Keep your eyes peeled for more pics from our weekly house meetings. And contact us if you know youth who would benefit from this program.
We have only just begun! 

 

 

Ten years later, we've brought the farm to South LA.

Ten years ago, as part of getting all of us at RootDown more closely connected to farm-grown food, we'd take school busses up from South Los Angeles to visit McGrath Family Farms in Ventura County. Today, thanks to a NIFA Community Food Project grant that funded our horticultural training program that trains youth to design, install, and maintain food gardens, we now grow almost 1,000 pounds of produce a year in a garden network we've built right where our young program participants live. This winter we will also build our first micro-farm at our headquarters at the Big House.  

Fortunately in LA we can grow year-round, and winter finds us with lots of GREENS!  As the year rolls to an end, we can sit back and reflect on how hard we worked to systematize our food production this year, that we got our gardens certified to sell at farmers markets, and that we now sell produce weekly to Cruzita's, a South LA cafe that features RootDown LA produce in their daily menu items.  Not to mention, we continue to build demand for healthy food through our LAPD cooking classes for kids, and via our Kaiser funded diabetes support program at St. John's Well Child and Family Center.

Our recent election caused a massive wave of uncertainty on so many levels, but RootDown LA will persist. We are 100% confident that our youth and healthy food systems will thrive, no matter the political climate. 

RootDown babies raised on food their parents grow, cook, & sell!

Some of our young staff who started in our programs 8 years ago now have their own small children. Last week, Karen Ramirez took her daughter, Renesmee, along with one of our growers, Jonathan Galindez, to drop off produce to Cruzita's Deli and Cafe. Cruzita's has committed to supporting RootDown by regularly purchasing our produce - locally grown fruits and veggies now make their way into Cruzita's delicious menu items and back into the bellies of the next generation of young people in South Los Angeles.