Image for April Positive Change: Urban Roots

Create Positive Change

Each time you shop at the co-op, you have a chance to directly support local community partners by donating your 10-cent reusable bag credits and rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar. It may only be a few cents or spare change, but your generosity makes a huge impact — to the tune of over $11,000 each month for our Positive Change recipients!

Urban Roots

April’s Positive Change recipient is Urban Roots, a Saint Paul organization that cultivates and empowers youth through nature, healthy food and community.

Since 1996, Urban Roots has engaged thousands of under-resourced youth ages 14-21 in paid internships on St. Paul’s East Side along with education, training and work projects that improve their personal health and environment. Their current internship programs, Market Garden, Conservation, and Cook Fresh, are meaningful pathways out of poverty that guide and educate youth to develop 21st century skills in job readiness, personal growth and entrepreneurship, and be more prepared for post-secondary education and employment opportunities. All participating youth must be eligible for free or reduced lunch, and 92% of the youth interns come from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities.

Youth Internship Programs:

  • The Market Garden program engages youth in planting, maintaining and harvesting six small-scale urban agriculture sites on the East Side, where 13,000 pounds of fresh produce are harvested and shared with the community.
  • Cook Fresh program interns learn about the food that Market Garden interns grow and how to prepare fresh homemade meals with it. They also develop healthy recipes and create value-added products for sales, such as chutneys, salsas and sauces. The Cook Fresh program also makes it a priority to create culturally relevant recipes and products around the lived experience of their youth interns.
  • The Conservation Program trains youth as park ambassadors to create greater connections between youth and the outdoors, enabling a sense of place and pride in the community. Youth interns focus on removing invasive species, native plant collection, and installation of pollinator and rain gardens.

Funds raised at co-op registers in April will support Urban Roots’ paid internship programs and help increase their capacity to serve young people on the East Side.