From Soil to City

Reflections on the Impacts of 2015 from Local Roots NYC Founder, Wen-Jay Ying

Spring is a time for transition when we eagerly wait for the new. New Yorkers pack away their puffy jackets as flowers peep out of the dirt, and we almost forget about the horribly cold wind of winter with thoughts of picnics and trips out to the beach. Our bodies, in tune with the seasons, are also ready for a change in diet. Hearty root vegetables will soon be replaced with bright colors of swiss chard, though I am very proud of our work this winter balancing our CSA shares out with micro greens from urban rooftop farms and salad mixes grown in greenhouses upstate.

As we transition out of the winter season, I begin the planning process for our upcoming Local Roots CSA season and have a moment to reflect on the last few months which were such a blur of everything.  Below I am honored to list a few highlights of the year:

1. Purely based on our vegetable CSA shares, we supported our veggie farmers with nearly $100,000 this past CSA year (June 2015-March 2016). With the support of our CSA members, our farmers were able to invest in hoop houses so they can extend their growing season and bring in additional income, buy a new delivery vehicle that will allow them to improve logistics and increase how much food they are able to bring to NYC, purchase seeds for the season, and hire more staff to support their growing farm. THANK YOU WONDERFUL NEW YORKERS SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL FOOD SYSTEM!!! 

2. We opened up a quaint general store and have a home in the historic South Street Seaport inside the Fulton Stall Market. After 4 years of pop up logistics – meeting farmers at their farmers market or at a NYC street corner, it’s incredibly helpful for our logistics and also the operations of the farmers and producers we work with to have a lovely home! We’ve welcomed school children to learn about local food and farming, held Meet Your Farmer events, as well as hosted meetings for small batch producers at our home base.


We were a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made contest in the food category.

I graduated from Etsy.Org Regenerative Entrepreneur program, a new kind of business education that works towards a new economy – one driven by compassion and our local relationships.

Local Roots NYC is taking the Best For NYCchallenge, which measures and improves the environmental and social impact of a business.
My ideas for this upcoming year are in the millions and I look forward to sharing a deeper mission of Local Roots NYC with you in these next coming weeks. For now, just know that I have the deepest gratitude for your support. My interactions with our CSA members and fellow New Yorkers, the farmland around us, the growers and producers who stay innovative and true to their passion – these have all helped grow an idea i had as an eager 26 year old into a vibrant soil to city community.