Teens grow produce for TCF Stadium

Roots for the Home Team, which partnered with TCF Bank Stadium this year, aims to educate local urban youth.

An urban garden plot planted by local youth sits outside the Urban Roots headquarters in St. Paul on Tuesday evening.

Joe Sulik

An urban garden plot planted by local youth sits outside the Urban Roots headquarters in St. Paul on Tuesday evening.

by Katie Bogensberger

Gopher fans with a hankering for salad can purchase one at TCF Bank Stadium during a game this year, but the option doesn’t come mass-produced. Instead, it’s made of produce grown by urban youth gardeners.
Roots for the Home Team sells salads grown by children in urban gardens in ethnically diverse areas of the Twin Cities. The produce the children grow is used to 
provide salads at Twins baseball games and, starting this fall, Gopher football games.
Students participating in Roots for the Home Team create the recipes and market and sell the salads.
Director and founder of Roots for the Home Team Susan Moores said she thought of the project six years ago. The company is in its fourth season selling at Target Field for Twins weekend games. However, Moores wanted to expand the company’s buyers.
“I wanted to give the youth a chance to go to a college campus,” Moores said. “It will increase our enterprise but also give them a chance to aspire to go to college.”
Moores approached the University of Minnesota’s Executive Director of Contract Administration Leslie Bowman looking for a chance to work with the school.
The company started when Susan Moores learned about the youth garden programs and the lessons they were teaching kids, she said. The farms sparked her interest in creating a bigger audience for the programs’ work.
Roots for the Home Team sources its products from the local farms Urban Roots, Youth Farm and Dream of Wild Health.
St. Paul’s Urban Roots farm has offered its programs for 17 years and serves about 1,500 people each year. Thirty teenage interns from the city’s east side operate the farm, growing and selling various vegetables and herbs from six neighborhood gardens to the community.
Youth Farm offers year-round programs to 800 young people from age 9 to 24. The company works in five neighborhoods in the Twin Cities, including Lyndale, Hawthorne and Powderhorn Park.
Dream of Wild Health is focused on helping Native American youth restore health and well-being to the native community by providing access to indigenous foods and medicines. Its 10-acre farm is located in Hugo, Minn.