Mission, Vision, and Values


We grow healthier, more resilient communities by cultivating a more sustainable and accessible food system, from the ground up.

East Palo Alto’s deep history of self-reliance through agriculture reminds us that the cultivation of food strengthens people and fortifies communities. As a nonprofit organization founded and based in East Palo Alto, Collective Roots works to support the backyard gardeners and future food entrepreneurs of East Palo Alto in order to create more meaningful employment opportunities, grow a more viable local economy, and ultimately support a more just and equitable society. 


Collective Roots ascribes to the following values:

We value social justice

  • We advocate communities exercising their right to grow, sell and eat healthy food that is fresh, nutritious, affordable, culturally-appropriate and grown locally with care for the well-being of the land, workers and animals.
  • We believe that food justice leads to a strong local food system, self-reliant communities and a healthy environment.

We value accountability:

  • We maintain high ethical standards which ensure accountability to the community: donors, volunteers, government, and the public.
  • We adhere to the highest ethical fundraising standards and practices[1], fundraising that supports our mission statement, prudent expenditures, and accurate measurement and reporting of program outcomes.

We value stewardship:

  • We believe it is our responsibility to properly utilize and develop our resources, including our people, property and financial assets.
  • We believe that our employees and volunteers are our greatest asset and promote worker health and safety and fair employment practices.

We value health

  • We believe that health is a fundamental right of every human being.
  • We embrace prevention and collective action to improve the health and nutritional status of populations, especially the most vulnerable.
  • We believe that the health status of populations can improve by informing, educating, and empowering youth and communities to adopt healthy behaviors to enhance their health status.

We value respect

  • We treat everyone with dignity and equality with thoughtful consideration to each other’s differences and opinions.
  • We value our community
  • We value the wisdom of community members
  • We promote the facilitation and exchange of skills between community members
  • We value the history and culture of this community and we seek ways to develop stronger relationships with the community.

We value empowerment

  • We believe that people have a right to be able to access healthy food
  • We promote a healthier food system on a community scale
  • We believe that people have a right to a meaningful livelihood (especially one in which they can save money by growing their own food and selling the excess)
  • We believe that it is critical to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty

We value the environment

  • We promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources.
  • We believe in educating youth and communities to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment.
  • We promote an ethic that supports sustainable and healthy communities, environmentally responsible organic gardening practices, building healthy ecosystems, water and energy conservation.

[1] The Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Code of Ethical Principles and Standards and Donor Bill of Rights