• School Days

    During the school day, students learn hands-on science education in the garden. These programs meets California State Science Standards.
  • East Palo Alto Community Farmers Market

    The East Palo Alto Community Farmers Market offers the only source of seasonal, local, and organic produce to community members in East Palo Alto. In addition to encourage healthy lifestyle choices, the market supports beginning organic farmers transitioning from work as farm laborers on industrial farms.
  • EPA Seed Library

    The seed library, a project in partnership with the Public Library of East Palo Alto, enables gardeners to check out, plant, grow, and eventually save seeds, ensuring a regenerating source of organic and heirloom seeds for gardeners in our community.
  • EPA Tool Lending Library

    The Tool Lending Library reduces expenses for home gardeners by offering all the tools needed to establish and maintain home gardens free of charge.
  • Field Trips

    Students from nearby schools and colleges come for field trips to our main school garden at the East Palo Alto Charter School to learn about science, health and food systems.
  • School Gardens

    Our school gardens are magical places for children and adults to enjoy, learn and grow.
  • After School

    In afterschool programs, students enjoy vibrant lessons in organic gardening, cooking, arts & crafts, and science.
  • EPA Backyard Gardener Network

    The Backyard Gardener Network is a resource-sharing community of gardeners in East Palo Alto committed to growing our own food and celebrating the bounty of our community.
  • EPA Fresh Checks

    Fresh Checks is an innovative incentive program for low-income consumers at the East Palo Alto Community Farmers Market, enabling participants to double the value of their purchases at the market and take home more fresh, local, sustainable produce!

Please read below for an important update about Collective Roots:

Dear Community Partner,

Collective Roots has experienced a few rough patches over the past couple months, but we are happy to let you know that Collective Roots made it through and is gearing up for 2015.

Here’s what happened this fall: Collective Roots encountered some very severe financial struggles, which meant that we needed to halt programming and lay off much of the staff. We thankfully secured a grant from the Flora Family Foundation which ultimately enabled us to keep our doors (and weekly farmers’ market) open. EPACs secured funding for their own programming, so the gardens stayed open too.

We are now working hard to rebuild Collective Roots, though this won’t happen overnight. We are developing a strategic plan, and hope to have this finalized by the end of Q1 2015. Our vision is to restructure Collective Roots to ensure the success of its core programs and meet as many of our grant requirements as possible. In the short term, our focus will be on the farmers’ market, Fresh Checks, and the Backyard Gardeners Network. We are also working to hire an executive director, and will hire part time staff to fulfill programmatic needs.

As you can see, 2015 will be a year of rebuilding and growth. It will be a lot of work, and we don’t expect Collective Roots to look the same as it did this time last year. However, we are confident that this next year will enable us to create a stronger and more sustainable foundation for Collective Roots and the community it serves.

Everyone involved is looking forward to the great future of Collective Roots. I will continue to keep you informed as we move forward through the process, so please stay tuned!  In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at boardchair@collectiveroots.org.


Melanie Harris

We are a nonprofit organization founded and based in East Palo Alto, CA. We seek to promote food justice by engaging youth and communities in garden-based learning and nutrition education to positively impact health. Collective Roots achieves its mission through the innovative integration and implementation of two key program areas: community based programs and school based programs.

Community Based ProgramsWe engage residents and stakeholders in a full-scale initiative to increase access to fresh, local, healthy and affordable fresh produce.
School Based ProgramsWe work with to design and sustain organic gardens on school and community sites that are linked with kindergarten through 12th grade curriculum provided by Collective Roots.


Check out the latest at Collective Roots:

Seed Saving

It is seed saving season at Collective Roots. This is one of the best times of year to save your most viable seeds for next year’s planting. This week alone we were able to save sunflower seeds and corn kernels. … Continue reading

Planning Ahead

With the recent heat and generous summer harvests (today’s harvest of squash, cucumbers, anaheim peppers, onions, eggs and nectarines pictured here) it’s easy to forget that fall is just around the corner! Staff has been busy cleaning up the greenhouse … Continue reading

Nectarine and zucchini bounty

It’s the time of the summer when we’re harvesting more squash and stonefruit than we ever thought possible. Right now, we’re checking our zucchini plants every day, because they produce so quickly! Today’s harvest was 64 pounds of produce, including … Continue reading