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PROJECT ROOTED. Project Rooted was started in early 2000 by Whitney Sanger, president of Project Rooted and Kevin Scharpf, owner and chef of "Brazen," a local restaurant. The nonprofit was established to educate young people about sustainable, healthy, and local food sources. With the onslaught on the PANDEMIC, their program took on increased significance. As schools closed, healthy foods once provided by their schools became more difficult to acquire despite the District's "Grab-and-Go" lunches.
Together the co-founders joined with CONVIVIUM URBAN FARMSTEAD and many volunteers to distribute free healthy lunches to those 18 and younger. In cooperation with the Western Dubuque Community School District meal sites were also opened in Peosta, Epworth and Farley to offer supplemental foods to those provided by the district.
One of the first major donors in Dubuque was PREMIER BANK.
Once the immediate crisis passed, hopes were that the focus of the group could return to their missions of sustainability and sustainability. A seed program by which students were able to grow and eat their own produce coincided with teaching the proper manner of disposing of food. (1)
In August, 2021 officials with the Dubuque-based non-profit announced that an event called "The Rooted Table" would held on September 5th at the Bee Branch Creek Gateway. The program would include a six-course menu designed and prepared by local chefs using fresh, seasonal and locally grown ingredients. An education experience would be also be provided for children from 5-18 years of age. Tickets were available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning on August 4th. (2)
In January, 2022 the program was resumed in ten first-grade classrooms at nine Dubuque public schools--Audubon, Bryant Fulton, Kennedy, Lincoln, Marshall, Prescott, Sageville, and Table Mound. With a focus of utilizing foods obtained from local sources, each of the 220 boxes prepared for the students included foods from Hilltop Gardens, Phelps Farm, Our Farm Meats, W. W. Homestead Dairy, Barb's Garden Pantry, Johnson Honey Farm and Timber Range Farm. In coming months, the boxes would feature local yogurt, an herb-planting activity and a project in which the students used the herbs they grew. Plans were being made to include the Western Dubuque Community School District in the future. (3)
1. Jacobson, Ben, "Food Program Springs into Action," Telegraph Herald, March 30, 2020, p. 3A
2. "Dubuque Nonprofit Plans Free Meal, Educational Experience for Hundreds," Telegraph Herald, August 3, 2021, p. 2A
3. Garrett, Olivia, "Project Rooted Behind Initiative," Telegraph Herald, January 21, 2022, p. 1A