Roots Rising is a nonprofit organization based in Pittsfield, MA, the heart of the Berkshires. It’s mission is to empower youth and build community through healthy food and farming. Roots Rising lifts teenagers up by showing them how to become community changemakers while strengthening the local food system through the transformational power of meaningful work.
The organization has two main initiatives, Youth Crews and the Pittsfield Farmers Market. The Youth Crews hire teens from Pittsfield to work on farms, food pantries and at their own farmers market. In addition to their working hours, teens participate in educational workshops, culinary and financial literacy lessons and feedback circles.
The Pittsfield Farmers Market, which was founded by Roots Rising in 2013, is a year-round, producer market that includes cooking demos, live music and workshops that has transformed the market into a true community hub.
With the participants from Roots Rising, the Pittsfield Farmers Market is the first teen-run market in the region. Their teen Market Crew is involved with every aspect of running the market, from vendor support to customer service to children’s activities.
Food insecurity has been a rising issue in our country and this summer a study from the folks at Ball State University confirmed what we had suspected. In a 10-year study of 25,000 people, the first long term study of food insecurity, it found that death from heart disease and cardiovascular mortality was 75% higher in food-insecure people.
January 13th, 2021 will be the four-year anniversary of my coronary artery bypass graft surgery. At just 40 years of age it was stunning to discover the aggressive nature of my heart disease, and since my bypass I have begun to take the steps to ensure a healthier heart.
My health issues, combined with my background in the food industry give me a keen understanding on how important healthy food for all people really is. I also know the challenges that people have in obtaining healthy food are many.
The good news is there are organizations like Roots Rising that are making this issue their life work. On my four-year heart surgery anniversary I am planning on trekking the local trails for my own personal half-marathon trail race, 13 miles if you will. Your pledge per mile run will support Roots Rising’s continued work in the community. The math is easy, pledge a buck a mile and I finish the frosty trek on the Appalachian Trail, your donation would be $13. Thank you, and stay tuned for updates. We love you all.