From Soil to City

Our Team

Food lovers sharing love through food.

Wen-Jay Ying
Founder and Boss

Wen-Jay initially moved to NYC to launch a career in the fashion industry but quickly decided it wasn’t a right fit for me. She always wanted to help others through work and was thinking about moving to New Orleans to help the city recover from the hurricane. After dancing onstage with The Flaming Lips, Ying had the amazing opportunity to hang out with the band. Their lead singer, Wayne Coyne, reminded Wen-Jay that sometimes the biggest impact we can have is by supporting our direct community. She felt inspired to stay in NYC and ended up dedicating a year to building resources from CSA groups at Just Food.

When Ying decided to start Local Roots NYC, she took my experience playing in bands in the diy music scene and applied it to bootstrapping my business. She embraced starting something from nothing, disregarding feelings of vulnerability, and finding ways to achieve a goal regardless of what was provided to her.

Starting Local Roots NYC at the age of 26, Ying was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by Mayor Bloomberg for neighborhood development through her work at Local Roots NYC. She is an alumni of The Good Work Institute, a guest speaker at the International Culinary Center Farm to Table Program, and is a contributing editor to Pot Luck Journal. She was a special guest invited to attend the 50th year anniversary UN Global Goals Gala due to her work in the field of sustainability and agriculture. Quoted in the NY Times and Huffington Post on food topics, Ying has also spoken on panels about food waste, careers in local agriculture, local food markets, was a guest on Sirius Radio’s Doctor Radio about CSA, and a speaker at The Mayor’s Office of Food Policy presenting CSAs to international delegates.

6 years later, she still feels gratitude for the work she’s able to do and love learning each and every day about herself, how to run a business, how to support farmers, and and how to connect New Yorkers with a food culture.

Wen-Jay loves to share her ideas on local communities and honoring different forms of capital which she believes can create deep connections and positive change in our world. She believes small businesses can change the world by being mindful, community organizers and producing high quality products and services. Entrepreneurs and small business owners do not have a choice but to feel inspired and invigorated by new ideas and creating change. By taking what is presented to us, we can pioneer a new path of “better”. She has played the bass and violin in various bands, loves to converse with strangers, travel to near and far away lands, and hike in Upstate NY or walk endlessly throughout NYC. Wen-Jay has a sidekick corgi – who doesn’t love a corgi?

Ariel Looser
Customer & Site Relations Coordinator

Ariel graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Having just completed her undergrad thesis on community-supported agriculture in the Hudson Valley, she is excited to be transplanting her passions to New York City with the opportunity to work with Local Roots NYC! Before this, Ariel interned at several urban farms in NYC, including Brooklyn Grange and BK Farmyards, and was a co-coordinator for the Vassar Experimental Garden. Working with Local Roots has been a great opportunity to build community around the joys of fresh produce and local food. An avid (but not exclusive) herbivore, Ariel could happily live off her weekly Local Roots goodies.

Cool Hand Wuji
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. Wuji loves beets and apples.