Renewed Roots Initiative is a non-profit MICRO FARM dedicated to providing access to fresh food and opportunity for sustainable lifestyle practices to communities across the Fox Valley.

we have 3 current initiatives we run to impact the community

1. CSA Family Sponsorship - We partner with local Non-profits to find families in need who could use fresh healthy produce through out the growing season and provide those families with fresh produce delivered weekly for no cost.

2. Urban Orchard Initiative - We use our volunteer teams to harvest unharvested fruit trees in the greater fox valley area to donate back to local food pantries and place in CSA baskets. 

3.  Compost Kits- We provide home worm bin composting kits with a free intro lesson into composting to help increase your environmental impact, put back nutrients into  your own soil, and keep food out of the land fills.

Our MISSION, Vision & values

Growing deeper roots in urban sustainability for individuals and communities to live healthier, more sustainable lives.

We believe that empowered individuals will be the progressive change needed to transform communities into sustainable and health conscious societies.

Our initiatives are rooted in three principles:

  1. Healthy food

  2. Interactive education

  3. Environmental conservation

What motivates us

1 in 7 people in the United States struggles with hunger. 

The Northern Illinois Food Bank sees similarly concerning numbers:

  • 79% of households we serve buy cheaper food, despite knowing it might not be the healthiest, in an effort to feed their family.
  • 31% of households we serve have to chose between paying for education and food every year
  • 66% of households we serve have to choose between paying for medical care and food every year
  • 69% of households we sere have to choose between paying for food and utility bills every year

How we got started

In early 2016, longtime friends and collaborators, Jared Mead and Erin Carlisle, founded Renewed Roots Initiative.

Jared is a farmer, naturalist, and outdoor educator with a degree in environmental biology. He practiced organic farming on several farms throughout the country before returning to Illinois. Jared began his local involvement in production gardening and youth education by establishing Aurora's first rooftop garden at the River’s Edge Cafe in 2012.

Erin has a long history in construction, community revitalization, and non-profit development. Working alongside the City of Aurora and Rebuilding Together Aurora, she has provided critical home repair for countless families in need. It was her work with City conservation efforts, and her experience with families that could use just a bit more, that sparked the idea for RRI. 

We are strong believers that change starts where you are standing... so we dug in.

While there are several successful traditional community gardens in the Aurora-area, they are disconnected and prioritize the individual gardener. We recognized an opportunity to unite like-minded organization to provide a sustainability education, promote healthy living, and improve food security for families in our community.

Orchard Valley Baptist Church became our first partner by lending nine acres of land. In 2016, we tilled a quarter acre Donation Garden, built a 14-plot community garden, and offered hands-on guidance for first time growers. In our first summer alone, the Donation Garden grew 2,500 pounds of produce for neighborhood food pantries. In 2017, we will continue our community garden, offer youth education, launch a family-sponsor CSA, and expand our Donation Garden to a half acre.

LONG-TERM sustainability

RRI is supported by grants, partnerships, individual and organization volunteers, and the sale of goods at local markets to provide resources needed to fulfill our vision.  Please contact us if you would like to partner, volunteer, or sponsor a program. 

Community organization partnerships are central to our vision for growth; the Fox Valley has a strong network of organizations enriching lives in our community. By working together, we provide a far greater impact than any could alone.