About Us

“With Urban Roots I was part of a community. I had a feeling of belonging. Before, I wasn’t aware of my own abilities, not even aware that I had that potential.” – Youth Intern

Urban Roots uses food and farming to transform the lives of young people and inspire, engage, and nourish the community.

In 2008, Urban Roots began as a program of another youth development nonprofit to empower and develop Austin youth and promote healthy lifestyle choices. Urban Roots’ innovative approach of employing youth to grow fresh, healthy food in the heart of an underserved neighborhood while empowering their development as leaders and good citizens proved to be a powerful concept. The program grew significantly over the years, and Urban Roots became a stand-alone non-profit organization after the parent organization closed in 2011.

We believe that empowered youth can nourish our community in so many ways. By engaging youth leaders on our 3.5 acre farm in East Austin, we have created a safe place where young people can experience first-hand the transformational power of meaningful hard work in order to become healthy, productive, civically- engaged community members. Our work includes:

  • Paid Internships for young people ages 14 to 23 years old
  • Educational Farm Tours
  • Community volunteer days
  • Sharing our harvest with the community through our Hunger Relief Partners


As the only farm-based youth leadership organization in Austin, Urban Roots is uniquely positioned to be a catalyst of change for the larger community. Our unique model reaches over 16,000 people each year. Since Urban Roots began in 2008:

  • 235 youth leaders have graduated
  • $365,650 distributed directly to youth in the form of stipends
  • 6,569 hands-on volunteers on the farm
  • 4,100 grade school students engaged in interactive educational farm tours
  • 258,417 pounds of produce harvested
  • 103,797 pounds of produce donated – or 180,000 servings – to 12 different local hunger relief partners


The Guiding Principles of Urban Roots:

1. We provide a High Quality, Transformational Experience for youth and community members.

2. We celebrate “Rigor” and Meaningful, Hard Work.

3. We build Strong Relationships.

4. We cultivate Intentionality in our work.

5. We engage our work with a Spirit of Celebration and Joy.

6. We Honor and Respect Diversity.