Root Down LA creates demand for healthy food by partnering with high schools and surrounding neighborhood non-profits, where we host a variety of community events, youth-trainings, and hands-on classes that get people excited to eat their veggies. 



LESSON ONE: We ask participants to take a closer, critical look at the foods that are most readily available to them. Together we discover that "fast" foods are often heavily processed, have too many calories, and contain ingredients that our bodies can’t really process. 

LESSON TWO: Participants compare the economics of buying juicing oranges at a local farmer’s market with store-brand juice made from imported oranges. Students consider food justice issues — who is their money going to? Is that who/what they want to be supporting?

LESSON THREE: Students dissect ingredient labels on processed foods, and shift the label-reading focus from the traditional carbs, fat, and sodium count, to the more hidden “alien additives” (artificial ingredients, MSG, etc.) so frequently found in processed foods.

LESSON FOUR: Taking into account the extremely high rates of diabetes in South LA, participants in the final nutrition class learn to critically examine the amount of hidden sugars in processed foods. What is widely considered a healthy breakfast - OJ, a blueberry yogurt, and a granola bar - is exposed as the sugar bomb it can be.


COOKING TECHNIQUES: Focusing on mastering widely applicable cooking techniques instead of specific (sometimes daunting) recipes, students learn to turn formerly nasty vegetables into delicious veggies. Because, nobody is going to support a neighborhood garden if they don’t want to eat what it produces!

AND FINALLY, TASTING: In conjunction with the class series, and also with individual cooking and tasting lessons, RDLA busts the three most common myths regarding veggie consumption:

  • Vegetables are nasty!
  • Vegetables are too hard to cook!
  • Vegetables are too expensive!


Creating Supply

Next, we focus on supply to support the demand through gardens, education, and meaningful distribution.  


OUR GARDENS: We plant our gardens where they mean the most. Our central educational gardens are located near schools and within neighborhoods so that they're accessible to school kids and families. Our private gardens go to interested neighbors who help keep the veggies circulating by not only using them for themselves but also distributing to the community, 


OUR HORTICULTURE PROGRAMS:      RootDown also offers an intensive 13 week entrepreneurial horticulture program. Graduates of this program learn to design, install, and maintain urban gardens, to promote and distribute produce from these gardens, and to create value-added products with   surplus produce — like hot sauce!


DISTRIBUTION: We distribute our local food supply through diverse 
and meaningful interactions with our community.

  • At neighborhood pop-up farm stands
  • At RDLA cooking classes & healthy food tastings
  • At community events and RDLA fundraising events
  • In exchange with neighbors who bring us their food scraps for our compost



Finally, the food systems are sustained through the time, energy, and passion of the neighborhood youth who facilitate and expand our programming, gardens, and impact.