Leaps of Faith: Our Young Leaders Take Them All the Time


Dear friends,

As some of you know, in 2016, I celebrated 10 years in the Urban Roots family and I recently returned from a two-month sabbatical. I went to Asia for the first time, explored Japan for several weeks and Thailand for a little over a month. Needless to say, I was completely blown away by the food, the history, culture, and the people… but to travel to a place where not even the alphabet is the same definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone.

The biggest lesson from this adventure was how vulnerable it feels when you take risks and try something new. This gave me the opportunity to cultivate trust dozens of times every day. Ultimately, this “practice” of trust allowed me to generate faith in the moment, myself, and in others.
Kaya, UR youth intern, stepping onstage and taking a risk!

Now that I’m back home, I’m seeing our work here at Urban Roots with a new set of eyes. I have a renewed appreciation for how we ask our youth, and even our supporters and volunteers, to take risks and be vulnerable– cultivating faith & trust in us and each other as they try new foods, get their hands dirty, and explore the outdoors.

The more I think about it, our entire organization is a huge leap of faith… we start each year planting seeds and hope that nature will provide. Daily we also cultivate our faith in YOU, that you will support Urban Roots and allow us to continue to provide a space for young leaders to grow and thrive.

Thank you for being part of our Urban Roots family that makes room for taking the risks necessary to grow and do big things together. As we wrap up 2016, I ask you to please continue to support UR & cultivate trust and faith in us and in our work to nourish the community.


Max Elliott
Executive Director

P.S. Make your donation by December 31st to double your impact and give youth leaders like Kaya support to grow!


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Annual MLK Weekend of Service, January 14 & 16, 2017

Please join us on Saturday, January 14 and Monday, January 16 for our Annual MLK Weekend of Service, presented by Wheatsville Food Co-op!


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” Like many others, Urban Roots chooses to answer that question by coming together intentionally over this weekend in service of the community.


Urban Roots’ young leaders will be facilitating these two special community volunteer mornings, which will have an added emphasis on Dr. King’s work and legacy of service. We’ll be planting out some of our big crops and readying the farm for the upcoming season (experience not required, we’ll show you everything you need to know when you arrive)!


Space is limited so RSVP is required to attend. If the links below state that the all spots have been filled, please email volunteer@urbanrootsatx.org to be placed on a waiting list.
  • Register for Saturday, January 14th here.
  • Register for Monday, January 16th here.

Each session is from 9:00 AM to Noon. We will send out a reminder email with all the details 48 hours before each session to those who have registered.


To keep this day as open to the community as possible, we are not scheduling groups larger than 5– thank you for understanding. If you have questions, please send an email to volunteer@urbanrootsatx.org.


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Get your hands dirty…become a Farm Apprentice!


If you enjoy growing food and giving back to your community then this is the position for you! Through hands-on farm work and leading volunteers you will learn how Urban Roots uses sustainable farming as a tool to empower youth and engage the community. No prior farming experience necessary. For more information and instructions to apply, click here.

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Support Our Young Leaders & Your Gift Will Be Matched!



Dear Friends,

Imagine, for a moment, a fifteen year-old taking a deep breath just before she steps on stage in front of 150 strangers to tell her story.

“Urban Roots has created a community where I feel comfortable opening up about my opinions. They make it feel like my voice matters in my community.”
— Kaya, Urban Roots Youth Intern

kaya-stageThat community is profoundly important to young people like Kaya who deserve a safe space to grow into the leaders that they are. As a member of the Urban Roots family, your support makes this possible.

Kaya started her paid internship with us last spring. Having moved to the U.S. from Japan with her parents as a young child, she’ll tell you that she learned her remarkable work ethic from them. But like many other teens, she struggled with feeling pressure to be perfect, which only made her feel shy and cut off from the world.

Kaya spent the next few months with us learning how to grow food, and her confidence took root alongside the plants. She learned how to lead volunteers, prepared and served food at a local soup kitchen, and mastered her customer service and public speaking skills. Most importantly, she felt empowered to share her gifts and hard work with us and those around her.

Because of you, Urban Roots is a refuge where transformations like this happen. It’s a place where young people can leave their schools selves at school, their home selves at home, and just be– be the most real, authentic version of themselves. Be safe, nurtured, challenged, and celebrated.

All of us at Urban Roots are committed, now more than ever, to being a refuge and a place where hope and love grow– for our youth, for you, and for all of Austin. Will you join us by making a donation so that more young people like Kaya have a community where their voices matter?

Your gift will help us welcome a new group of young leaders this February. Throughout the season, they will work hard with one another, with volunteers, and with supporters like you to connect to the land, feed people in need, and nurture one another.

I am asking you to give today because right now you can double the impact of your generosity! All donations made to Urban Roots by December 31st will be matched dollar for dollar up to $25,000, thanks to a generous gift from the Terry and Regina Armstrong Family Foundation.

match-my-gift-buttonAs the farmer, every week I get to watch as our beautifully diverse, bold, and courageous community grows alongside the crops. Now, imagine the difference you can make by ensuring that more youth like Kaya can be part of this transformational community.

We appreciate you being as generous as you can. Thank you for being a part of Urban Roots, for empowering youth, and for nourishing us all.





Lea Scott
Farm Director

P.S. Make your donation by December 31st to double your impact and give youth leaders like Kaya support to grow! Fill out and mail back the next page, or donate online right now by going to www.urbanrootsatx.org.

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December 7th: Open House at the Urban Roots farm!

Please join us on Wednesday morning, December 7th for our next Open House at the Urban Roots Farm!

There’s no better way to start your day than among the bountiful fields of our farm. We’ll have breakfast from Snooze and coffee, a quick word from our youth leaders, and an exclusive farm tour with Lea Scott, our Farm Director. We love giving you a closer look at the impact of the community’s support in our work to empower youth and nourish the community at the same time.

Please RSVP to LaShawn@urbanrootsatx.org.

Generously sponsored by:

wiseman logo 9-2015

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