Give us your food scraps, we’ll give you veggies!

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In our effort to establish monthly “farm stand sales,” we sometimes find ourselves in low-harvest cycles.  This month, to solve that issue, Jonathan Galindez went harvesting in the neighborhood, so that we ended up with locally grown mandarins, oranges, and cilantro from our gardens to share with the neighbors, who collect food scraps for our compost piles.  The cycle continues – we get neighbors’ nutrient rich food scraps, all those nutrients go back in the soil, the food we grow sucks up all those nutrients, and they go back into the bellies of our neighbors!

Graduation, farm stand, families, community

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So we gathered today to celebrate the graduates of our most recent 13-week horticultural & entrepreneurial training.  It was fantastic and fun – the food, the photo booth, the students’ presentations on their work.  What was MOST amazing about the day though?  Simply, the PEOPLE.  RootDown, in the past 7 years has built a community, a family of sorts – folks who have increased their commitment to building healthier food communities in South Los Angeles.  Today we had past students, current students, present and former employees, parents, peers, and next generation babies whose parents now value growing, cooking, and eating fresh food.  Thanks to everyone who made this latest training, and this graduation day possible and memorable.

What do you know about diabetes?

What do you know about diabetes? We want your input! This year RootDown will start to address diabetes more directly. Many of our students’ families are affected by diabetes, and so we want to develop programming to help them make dietary changes the RootDown LA way – keeping it simple, affordable and yes, even FUN to eat more low-glycemic foods (you know, like veggies). Have you dealt with diabetes, taken classes, found helpful online/book/community resources that you would want to share with us? Contact megan AT rootdownla DOT ORG.

Back to School and Into the Garden

                 The Cultivars are an amazing group of students, activists, families and friends. They just completed this amazing garden at Nuevo South. They even saved a peach tree and existing cacti.  

10408889_10205335998385954_4612829573904001050_nThey’ve  been busy over by WE CAN too, and recently completed Michel’s garden too. 

10634238_709376132482960_225718092_n Here’s a big shout out to our project managers, Corinna G and the amazing Camille from “The Nature of Things”. They always keep the crew on task, They’re there to answer questions, lend a hand, encourage and grow the Cultivars to massive action. Not to mention product hook up and installation management. 

10599280_10205335998305952_3291357538481492871_nWe have many more gardens to  install in the next twelve months, in accordance with our USDA grant. Would you like to help?  Jump in!  We can hook you up.  And  as always, any financial assistance is always  appreciated. 

10621540_709366059150634_1570957558_oThe kids have been highly motivated and full of action.  We have another class of Cultivars in session as I write this.  Our goal is  to create roots in the neighborhood and a sense of community that creates demand for fair, fresh and abundant food. It’s working. 

They came, they saw the veggies, they wanted to replicate…


Visitors from the Tzu Chi Community Clinic in Wilmington.

Yes! This is exACTly what we are aiming for – to inspire and help others replicate our Youth-Driven Neighborhood Food Systems. This email just came in from our guests today from the Tzu Chi Community Clinic, Wilmington:
Thank you and your young girls for showing us your wonderful program this afternoon.This is a true great learning experience for us. Hopefully, we will be able to bring the model to the community we work very soon.
Our strong feeling is that this program will be a good replicate in our community and we think we are going to start with our monthly food giving program and encourage them to come and plant with us. If they come regularly and have a successful program, we will them also encourage the extended program like yours so they can go out to the community and grow in the neighborhood garden.
Please share with us about your training program and your grant proposal. I think if possible, we will write a grant and send kids from the community to receive training at your site and have them come back to help establish the program in Wilmington community.
I will invite some of volunteers to come to clinic and we will discuss on Friday and brain storm. as you said, we will pick from your brain and experience.

The graduates (aka Cultivars) are taking over!

RD FB post Janelle Jul 20 14

Check it out.  Just this spring, 8 students completed RootDown’s first Horticultural & Entrepreneurial training, preparing them to design, install, and maintain food gardens as part of our Supply-side programming for building our Youth-driven Neighborhood Food Systems.

At graduation, they pitched a business project idea – to design and install 8 more residential gardens at our WECAN site.  To date, they have completed three new gardens, are about to install another, and have presented designs for a fourth garden.  They are unstoppable, and they are recording all this activity on a Facebook group page they created, called Food in the Hood.  They’ve named themselves – the Cultivars.

And WATCH OUT – the second 13-week training kicks off in the coming weeks, over at our HQ site with Nuevo South!  The focus of this training will be on distributing (and eventually selling) food from our gardens back throughout the neighborhood.

Celebrate RootDownLA & Muir Ranch 7.19.14

It’ll be a celebration of summertime with one ton of  S Q U A S H. 10402650_10203243543943066_5531813601588330541_n

Get your tickets on Event Brite  There will be a few words from our Exec Direct Megan Hanson.

You gotta come to this.

 muir ranch logo

“Sociable Supper”

Farm-to-Table Dinner

Saturday, July 19, 2014    5-8pm

Come eat a locally grown and harvested, sustainable, plant-based supper, while supporting 

Muir Ranch’s summer internships!

Enjoy Plant-Based Cuisine byJennie Cook – Jennie Cooks Catering

 Featuring recipes from Jennie’s Cookbook “Who Wants Seconds?


Aperitifs (A choice of 3)

Citrus Elixir with Camille’s Elderflower Potion

Iced Minted Elixir

Strawberry Lemonade


catalan gazpacho shooters and chubby croutons

potato tacos with muir ranch chard curtido and cilantro crema


sliced tutti frutti tomatoes with muir ranch basil and onions

green salad with grilled summer fruits

quick pickle cucumbers

baguettes and chèvre with fennel flowers and cilantro blossoms


summer slaw with muir ranch chard and…

ratatouille with Mud’s favorite white squash and ranch leeks

delicious bread and zucchini marmalade and roasted elephant squash

stuffed delicata squash with a classic cornbread stuffing


stone fruit crunch and cream

Other details…

PARKING: Behind John Muir High School at 1905 N Lincoln.   Park in rear Student Lot, enter at Canada Ave.


Your tax deductible dinner ticket purchase helps to support our summer internship program at Muir Ranch.

Our goal is to offer fully paid internships to 30 students this Summer.

Each student will earn $600 for 8 weeks of work.

We hope to raise $18,000 to cover the cost of these internships.

Get your tickets now, you don’t want to miss it!

Our first Horticultural/Entrepreneurial team graduates!

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Yesterday, youth from three South LA High Schools completed RootDown LA’s 13-week training course that prepared them to design, install and maintain a network of neighborhood gardens at our WECAN Urban Farm site.  Developed by our Programs Manager, Karen Ramirez, and our Advisory Board Member, architect and permaculturist, Corinna Gebert, the training covered topics including: the changed food system, the importance of soil and compost, site analysis, seasonal and companion planting, non-toxic fertilization and pest management, harvesting, distribution, marketing, and value-added garden products.

The youth not only successfully completed the program, they signed on to continue working with RootDown to design and install 8 more gardens in the neighborhood over the summer.  Yesterday they presented their project plan for funding.  They will be funded to also develop the system through which future trainees will expand and replicate the “supply-side” activities of our Youth-driven Neighborhood Food Systems.