Are we missing out on hidden talent? While we do a pretty good job at finding our future sports stars, we don’t do as well at identifying those with the potential of creating the next breakthrough product, service or invention.

 

Too many teens never realize their potential as leaders, educators, scientists, and innovators due to inequality and a lack of access. Minnesota-based Roots for the Home Team® (Roots for short) is working directly with youth to empower them to change their futures, one fork at a time.

Nonprofit Branding Collage Left Tile
Nonprofit Branding Collage Right Tile

Roots is the brainchild of entrepreneurial dietitian Sue Moores, who believes that eating well should be a delight, not a duty. Inspired by urban youth garden programs that teach kids to appreciate and enjoy food by immersing them in its creation, Sue took the concept a few steps up the food chain.

Eat Greens, Inspire Teens, Everyone Wins! Nonprofit Brand Messaging Graphic

Those same young gardeners now turn their lettuce into life skills, while working to share their stories with a bigger audience. In the process, they gain culinary, sales and marketing experience, as well as a heaping helping of confidence and courage.

Eat Greens Youth Gardening Photo

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Eat Greens

Roots partners with local neighborhood gardens that are youth operated. When the produce is ready, Roots buys the ingredients at a fair price.

Inspire Teens Youth Chef Photo

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Inspire Teens

Roots connects aspiring youth with local chefs in a partnership that allows the youth to bring their ideas, backgrounds, flavors and passions to the plate.

Everyone Wins Youth Business Experience

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Everyone Wins

Roots provides growth through unique opportunities and encourages taking risks in order to learn more about their own capabilities, while gaining real world business experience.

For their first sales venue, Roots chose Sue’s favorite summer sport, baseball. In 2012, Roots partnered with the Minnesota Twins and placed the Roots’ Salad Up! cart near Gate 34 at Target Field for the the teens to sell their salad creations. Since then, Roots has helped more than 300 youth participants discover and take advantage of opportunities for future success, and help thousands of hungry baseball fans enjoy a really good salad.

Diversity leads to variety. Variety leads to discovery. Discovery leads to change.

In 2018, Shinebox worked with Roots to grow awareness and expand understanding around the program’s impact. At a minimum, the re-branding needed to appeal to three audiences: ballpark consumers who buy the salads, youth who participate in the program, and potential donors to keep the program viable. But it went further: lifting spirits, improving visuals, and aligning the mission to match the elevated food options being created.

The original 2012 Roots’ cart was reimagined, with a new retail-focused design strategy. In order to show off the salad options of the day, menu cards were moved to the top of the cart and placed on a magnetic strip, so they could be easily changed. The body of the cart now has eye-catching mix of salad and key ingredient imagery, and photography of the young chefs.

Roots Cart Signage Setup Photo
Roots Cart Food Preparation Photo

There is SO much more competition on the food front at Target Field. Our cart became much more noticeable and intriguing to customers, many people came up to the cart asking if we were “new” to Target Field. With the cart redesign, customers could immediately see what we had to offer and how delicious the salads are. The cart rebrand was a major lift to presenting us as a not-to-be-missed food option at Target Field. We looked cool and enticing. The youth were pumped up about the rebrand overall. They felt it was a more contemporary, cooler look and everyone was proud to be working at it.

SUE MOORES
Roots Redesigned Print Collateral

The cart is loaded up with redesigned collateral to help youth talk about their work and educate visitors on the Roots program.

The program card and having program info on the back of each recipe card have been a valuable asset to spreading the Roots story. I have proudly sent a set of recipe cards to all donors and have received tremendous feedback on the quality of the pieces. They’re so vibrant and beautiful – people sit up and take notice, I believe they view Roots as a real deal because of the quality of program materials produced.

SUE MOORES

Buying local tastes better because of fresh ingredients combined with local flavor. And buying local feels better because it’s an opportunity to invest in local business and talent, directly promoting growth in our communities. Fresh from the neighborhood garden to Target Field. Roots is where radical ideas, diverse backgrounds, unique approaches, and innovative programming come together to make surprisingly good salads.

Rockin Moroccan Recipe Style Photo
Kickin It Filipino Recipe Style Photo
Purple Rain Recipe Style Photo

Fresh produce and bold flavors highlighted with
crisp light and playful ingredient styling.

Photographed by Dennis Becker, styled by Lisa Golden Schroeder.

Roots Cart Close Up Food Preparation

Here’s a fresh perspective. Kids are growing stuff. They’re learning stuff. You’re eating stuff. This is where fantastic flavor meets feel good giving. Let’s bring up the energy while we bring talent to the surface.

Since its inception, Roots for the Home Team envisioned sprouting up in other major league baseball cities. The Milwaukee Brewers recently become their first expansion team. In 2018, Milwaukee youth stepped up to the plate at Miller Park. Roots plan to add new ballparks and work with new communities – and new food options, including delicious soups for the cooler days of Spring and Fall. Stay tuned…

See you at the ballpark, or at rootsforthehometeam.org