Sue Moores, founder of the Roots for the Home Team program, believes in making healthier eating options more enjoyable and inviting youth to be part of that work. Roots for the Home Team helps youth become entrepreneurs in that process through creating well-balanced nutritional salads to sell to the public. By enhancing their culinary, networking and business skills, each teen gains more than basic knowledge of how to prepare a meal. They are exposed to entrepreneurship, marketing and other skills to build their future, as well.

Why did you start the Roots for the Home Team Program?

“Roots for the Home Team sparked from the idea of bringing fresh food to the new major league baseball ballpark in the Twin Cities in 2010. Two years later in 2012, Target Field hosted the beginning of the Roots program. Two other goals have been the foundation of the program– changing the public’s perception of “healthy” food and showcasing work by local youth in community garden programs.”

Why did you target teens for this project?

“We have a strong community of urban youth garden programs in Minnesota. As the initial idea was hatched to sell salads at baseball games, I thought part of the fun would be to upend the misconception that “kids” don’t eat healthy, don’t like vegetables, or much less know how to grow them. To have teens step forward and create salads, in partnership with local chefs, using the vegetables they grow and then come and sell them to an audience who would never expect any of the above would deliver a memorable experience for fans. More importantly, it could be an influential experience for our youth and offer them a unique summer employment opportunity. Teens are hungry for access to opportunities that feed successful futures. They showcase their amazing courage and capabilities at every game.”

Where can people find your organization?

“Starting from the ground up, Roots is involved with several youth-led organizations with community garden programs. Each program is focused on having their youth gain valuable gardening, harvesting and life experiences. Roots then uses the crops produced such as carrots, radishes, kale, ground cherries and herbs in the salads. Roots for the Home Team has two other unique partners assisting their outreach–The Minnesota Twins and the Milwaukee Brewers. At both Target Field and Miller Park, you can find fresh salads during weekend home games. You can also find our salads at all 11 Kowalski’s Markets in Twin Cities and at the salad bars within Minneapolis public schools.”

How is the co-branding relationship with the Sorghum Checkoff valuable to your organization?

“We first learned about sorghum at a nutrition conference and were excited about its nutritional attributes such as its fiber content and being gluten-free. It’s a whole grain, an environment-friendly crop and alternative to quinoa, which fans are excited to learn about. At Roots we strive to surprise the youth and our customers with new foods–ones we thought they’d be excited to discover. We hoped the Sorghum Checkoff would be interested in our story and the work our youth do to care for and create food and share their capabilities with a major league audience.

Roots for the Home Team promotes sorghum through a menu sign, sales pitches to customers, recipe cards given to fans and on our website and social media pages. Roots finds value in the co-branding program because sorghum offers a new and interesting element to our salads that consumers are not always aware of. By sparking consumer curiosity, we promote sorghum as an alternative to quinoa.”

Is there anything else you would like people to know?

“We’re always on the hunt for the next city to set up a Roots for the Home Team program and welcome interested cities to contact us.”