Founded in 2017, Taproot Collective is a nonprofit organization based in Rochester, NY, with the mission to design and implement successful models of resilient local food systems. Our work is centered around the idea that young people can change their communities through access to healthy local food, educational opportunities, and dignified housing. At every stage of our work, youth leaders learn about and implement models of localized food systems that heal and regenerate ourselves, our neighborhoods, and our planet. We operate with the guiding values of stewardship, integrity, justice, cultural humility, equity, and excellence. These principles are central to everything we do. This winter, Taproot Collective will be piloting microgreen production in the greenhouse in order to extend the season and offer employment training for youth by planning, growing, harvesting, and distributing microgreens to neighbors, local restaurants, and at the Rochester Public Market. Our winter production mentorship program will connect local urban farmers with youth to build the capacity and skills necessary for youth to realized their leadership and entrepreneurial potential.
Taproot Collective’s core project is First Market Farm (FMF), a vibrant community farmstead and living model for sustainable neighborhoods that engages youth and families in every stage of the food system. Located on a previously abandoned property at 20 First St. in the Marketview Heights neighborhood, FMF is a regeneration of vacant land and housing to enhance community-based food production, offer sustainability education, and address residential environmental justice issues in Rochester. FMF incorporates a number of ecological design elements including beehives, rainwater irrigation, salvaged materials, companion planting, native pollinator gardens, multiple composting methods, season extension, and propagation. Using reclaimed and recycled materials, the transformation of First Market Farm includes approximately 4,500 square feet of community education and food production space that includes an all-season greenhouse. The garden has generated close to 1,000 pounds of vegetables in its first season that are distributed to families in Marketview Heights and surrounding neighborhoods. At FMF, Taproot Collective hosts community-based education workshops for neighborhood residents on topics such as residential-scaled composting, gardening, food preservation, and beekeeping. This ensures that families can apply First Market Farm’s growing techniques in their own backyard gardens and even come to FMF as a source for compost, plant starts, and small tools. In this way, the First Market Farm project functions as an innovation that amplifies Rochester’s ecological and community assets.
Taproot Collective’s diverse partnerships include the City of Rochester Public Market, Foodlink, Marketview Heights Collective Action Project, Flower City Pickers, the Urban Agriculture Working Group, Nazareth College, University of Rochester, City Roots Community Land Trust, World of Inquiry School #58, and many others. Through these collaborations, Taproot Collective is able to distribute neighborhood-grown food and teach about the complexities of healthy food and community systems. Youth-based educational programming is offered throughout the year and emphasizes civic engagement as a key component to healthy community development.
We focus on: The Environment, Education
Where we are: Monroe
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