Local Roots NYC connects New Yorkers with freshly picked organic produce from local farms and well-made, hand crafted small batch provisions through fun and community oriented markets
In 2011, Local Roots NYC founder Wen-Jay Ying had a vision to build a strong connection between New Yorkers and local farmers that accommodated both ends of the food chain. If we could create a type of market that was more aligned with the busy life of New Yorkers and absorbed much of the logistical work for farmers so they could spend more time on the field, then we could help turn the local food movement into a sustainable, profitable industry.
This alternative way of picking up groceries would be more convenient than supermarkets stocked with low cost but poor quality foods; our markets would be fun, social, and educational – creating a community and farm to table experience that knows their farmers and neighbors as opposed to the anonymity of grocery stores.
As of 2015, we are proud to now serve over 650 households in over 16 neighborhoods with local, sustainable food through the Local Roots CSA and support 15 local farmers and over 20 small batch producers. Now with our pop up shop in the historic South Street Seaport, we’re able to provide our community with a wide array of products to support their sustainable lifestyle: from small-batch, preservative free snacks to all natural, handmade soaps.
The future of Local Roots NYC is greatly influenced by the needs of our community and producers, and grounded in principles of integrity, innovation, and passion. We want to ensure we don’t take short cuts and that we avoid buzzwords and fads. Our passionate team consists of New York City residents who are deeply involved in the local food system; from urban farmers to youth food educators, food is what we love. We’ve been called the next generation of CSAs and were proud recipients of the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year Award by New York City for enhancing neighborhoods and local economies.
If we had to state our mission statement in one sentence, it would be that exploring, cooking, and eating local food has made our lives happier and better and we hope to share this joy with others.
Watch our video on NY1 here!
Founder and Program Director
Wen-Jay became involved in food justice after reading an article about the decline of supermarkets in New York City and increased dependency on purchasing food at bodegas. She participated in Americorp VISTA as a CSA Resource Associate at Just Food, a food justice non-profit. Addicted to the local food movement, she joined Red Jacket Orchards where she started the first fruit only CSA in NYC, worked at farmers markets, and facilitated a partnership with Six Point Craft Ales to create a plum-infused beer. After a bad growing season, she was laid off from a job she truly enjoyed. She knew exactly the job she wanted but also knew it did not exist anywhere in the world; local food jobs were very few and far between at that time. She decided to create her own dream job and see where it went; with a rental car and no business training (but lots of ideas and passion), she started Local Roots NYC. Every day, she is grateful for the opportunity to work with such amazing farmers and meet wonderful community members.
Wen-Jay was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the city of New York, is a board member of Slow Money NYC and an alumni of Etsy.Org Regenerative Entrepreneur Program. Wen-Jay is usually with her side kick dog Wuji and has played the violin and bass in numerous bands. If you see her on the street eating raw corn on the cob or carrying cases of vegetables, be sure to say hi!
Aly Miller started working with Local Roots NYC in the spring of 2013 as our CSA in the Classrooms educator. Her career in food education began at the University of Wisconsin’s Slow Food chapter, where she worked with local farmers and university students to build after-school gardening and cooking initiatives for youth. After graduating, she was an AmeriCorps member in Madison’s Farm to School program, where she taught students K-8 about the food system, from root to table. She brought these interests with her to Local Roots NYC in the spring of 2013 and became our in-house CSA in the Classroom educator and graphic designer. She’s also the member services coordinator at Certified Naturally Grown, a nonprofit certification for sustainable farmers (like Taproot Farm!). You can find her infographics, illustrations, and writing throughout our website and our online CSA Field Guide.
Gabrielle entered the world of farming in fall of 2013 when she started a year-long adult learn-to-farm program at The Farm School in Athol, Massachusetts. Eager for “human being skills” and a rural experience, she was surprised to discover, somewhere in the weedy, rock-filled soil of New England, a passion for working with the land and a fascination with the inner workings of plants. Friends, family, a love of live music and craft beers not commonly found in small towns, and a sense that cities are a good place to attempt to change our food system, brought her to NYC. She can often be found delivering CSA items with the ops team, convincing CSA members to be excited about obscure vegetables at a weekly pickup, or searching Brooklyn for sunny vacant lots with the potential to become edible oases.
Originally from Washington state, Hannah spent the past three years perfecting her khao soi recipe while working as a field instructor in the fields, forests, and oceans of Thailand. She recently relocated to NYC and spends her days in the South Bronx teaching kids about the wonders of the garden and kitchen as a FoodCorps service member for Edible Schoolyard NYC. Her career in food started at 15 when she decided to start a cake decorating business. That spiraled into several food-focused hobbies, from keeping chickens in the backyard of her college house to helping run her school’s organic garden. Hannah is delighted to be part of the work that Local Roots NYC is doing to build community around a thriving local food system. When not in the kitchen, Hannah can often be found exploring the city via bicycle and poking around farmers markets.
Mascot and all around great dude
Wuji is a corgi that keeps his cool in almost all situations. He loves quince and apples but of course indulges in the occasional pork taco. Corgis by nature are herding dogs; he has been to many farms and loves romping around with farm animals.
Kris De La Torre
CSA in the Classroom Educator and Events Coordinator
Kris believes in the ability of sustainable food and farming to rebuild communities, cultural traditions and healthy eating habits. She’s often pedaling from urban farm to the weekly CSA pickup. After managing a nightclub in Dubai, making cheese in Laos, working as a monger at Murray’s Cheese, pouring a pint at 61 Local and apprenticing at Blue Hill at Stone Barns it feels great to use her past experiences to contribute to the CSA. She currently hosts monthly wine tastings by the grape varietal, a monthly one-pot community dinner and acts as a rep for Palmer Vineyards in the North Fork. If she isn’t on the farm or at the dinner table, look for her at LaGuardia on her way to somewhere she can speak Spanish, sipping a delicious glass of Mosel Valley Riesling or a funky, sour beer.
Email Us: CSA@LocalRootsNYC.org
Stalk Us: @localrootsnyc
Shop At Our Store: 207A Front Street at the Fulton Stall Market, between Beekman and Fulton, 12-4pm