Susan Moores, MS, RD, took her passion for youth garden programs into the big leagues when she created Roots for the Home Team®, an organization that partners with youth garden programs in diverse Twin Cities neighborhoods. Using the produce they grow as ingredients, kids help develop recipes for salads sold at Target Field during the Minnesota Twins' weekend home games.
Tell us about your work and how it fulfills a need in your community.
Roots for the Home Team partners with youth garden programs in ethnically diverse areas of the Twin Cities. Using [garden program] produce grown as ingredients, and the [program participants'] inventive natures to help develop the recipes, we sell delicious salads at Target Field on Minnesota Twins' weekend home games.
What inspired you to undertake this work or project?
I was familiar with youth garden programs and how they taught kids about food — fostering an appreciation for food and what it takes to create it. They also nurture kids' natural curiosity about food and encourage adventuresome eating. I wanted to give these programs a bigger audience in the hopes of growing their impact and influence. So I thought, why not [take the program] someplace where eating is fun, where summer is embraced and fresh foods and flavors could shine? Why not at the ballpark?
How has your work made a difference in your community?
The youth have told us [Roots for the Home Team] has changed them. It's changed their sense of self, given them courage, pride and confidence and made them feel and believe that there is more potential for their futures. It's inspired them to seek out greater opportunities than what may have been originally anticipated (or scripted) for them.
Is there a particular anecdote or story that would illustrate why this work is so important and/or how it has made a difference?
Individual quotes say it best:
- "For the first time I felt I was doing the right thing, being part of something that could change the lives of many others." –Pa
- "Walking out of Target Field, it just feels really great to know that you have more potential than you did before you walked in." –Yeng
What kind of feedback have you received?
I have received incredibly positive feedback from the youth, baseball fans, our partners and the public at large.
What do you find most rewarding about your efforts?
Listening to the youth describe how Roots has affected them, watching them grow in capability, and witnessing a transformation in what they see as possibilities for themselves.
Looking ahead, how would you like to see your project develop or grow?
We are working toward moving into other ballparks and communities.