By Karen Chojnacki
Rural Roots is a non-profit organization founded in Moscow that focuses on enhancing the economic viability of sustainable and organic farms, ranches, and local food systems throughout Idaho and the Inland Northwest. We believe this is a foundation from which to build strong, healthy, sustainable communities.
Our primary activities are: 1) developing and providing educational programming and resources for sustainable small farmers & ranchers; and 2) being a “voice” for sustainable small farmers & ranchers. In addition, Rural Roots strives to develop relationships, strengthen networks and increase collaboration between producers, consumers, food & agricultural organizations/agencies and policy makers.
Dime in Time funds from the Moscow Food Co-op will be used to assist funding Rural Roots’ operating costs related to communications, specifically online communications (website hosting and maintenance), printed advertising and education materials, and to provide honorariums for visiting speakers.
Rural Roots has provided our local community and the inland Northwest with email listservs that keep our many subscribers apprised of farming and direct marketing activities in the region and beyond, including educational and networking events. The listservs also provide an opportunity for small farmers and ranchers to reach out to an extensive audience with questions, requests and experiences pertinent to sustainable agriculture. The Rural Roots website also provides a reliable public platform for accessing regionally relevant sustainable agriculture and direct marketing resources as well as information regarding upcoming events.
On-farm workshops and tours hosted by Rural Roots are another educational/networking venue focused more specifically on farmers, both established and just starting out. Topics vary, but a common thread within all of these activities is sustainable farming and ranching methods and experiences. During these events educational materials are distributed to enrich knowledge on the subject and make everyone aware of other upcoming programming and available resources. Print and online advertising materials for these events are key to reaching current as well as new audiences, and providing greater access for all.
The Rural Roots Speaker Series has been a huge success in recent years. These monthly talks draw in a diversity of farmers, gardeners and supporters of local food systems who come together to learn and network. This series has provided opportunities to strengthen ties between farmers and the community. It is a relaxed environment that also fosters quality relationships between farmers, leading to invaluable educational and business connections. To date, we have relied mainly on nearby speakers, however we would like to support travel expenses of speakers who come from further distances.
All of us at Rural Roots would like to express our gratitude to the Moscow Food Co-op and to Co-op customers for their support through the Dime in Time program. Thank you!