Mission: Nuestras Raices (Our Roots), Inc. is a non-profit grassroots organization that promotes economic human and community development in Holyoke through urban agriculture. Nuestras Raices draws its membership and leadership from the hundred and fifty low-income families and individuals that participate in its network of community gardens, businesses and coalitions. The organization was incorporated in 1993 in order to manage the LaFinquita community garden and to develop a greenhouse in downtown Holyoke.Nuestras Raices involves community members in all stages of planning, implementation and evaluation of its projects. The majority members of the board of directors of Nuestras Raices are current or former participants in the projects of the organization. All Nuestras Raices staff members are bilingual and the majority reside in the area affected by the organization''s projects.
Programs: Community Gardens: We currently manage 10 community gardens with 125 families participating and we work with the residents of Holyoke to develop new gardens every year. The gardens change the urban environment, provide access to low-cost, nutritious food and brings friends, neighbors, youth and elders together to improve the community.Children's Gardening Plots: Groups of children plant and maintain flowers, vegetables and herbs in plots within each of the community gardens and in two youth gardens. The children are taught by the elderly community gardeners, who are proud to pass on their knowledge about planting and the culture of rural Puerto Rico.Series of Educational Workshops and Field Trips: Workshops are generally in subject areas of Health and Organic Gardening practices, and field trip destinations have ranged from the New York Botanical Gardens to local farms.Farmers' Market: The community gardeners sell surplus vegetables at a stand at the Holyoke Farmers' Market (WIC coupons accepted) managed by teenagers.Beginning Farms - Nuestras Raices is helping 8-12 community members with agricultural experience start up farms on 30 acres of fertile riverfront land, Nuestras Raices provides training, TA, access to shared equipment and marketing opportunities. Environmental Justice: Young people work to identify and address the environmental problems of inner-city Holyoke, Nuestras Raices has started up a community coalition.Centro Agr'cola Community agricultural center: This project has transformed a small building and vacant lot in downtown Holyoke to create a vibrant site for small business development and community education.Cultural Festivals and Activities: A series of music, arts and cultural activities