Fresh Approach and Collective Roots Unify for Greater Impact
Fresh Approach and Collective Roots, two non-profit organizations working to increase healthy, local food access and community-based nutrition education in the Bay Area, are excited to announce their merger, unifying for greater impact.
Together as Fresh Approach, the two organizations can ensure more dollars go directly to vital community-based programming, serve a larger population, and increase long-term impacts.
The two organizations have a history of collaboration in East Palo Alto. Fresh Approach has participated in multiple resource fairs in East Palo Alto, including local health fairs and supporting the East Palo Alto WIC Clinic at the Collective Roots Community Farmers’ Market.
Last summer, Fresh Approach began operating its Freshest Cargo Mobile Farmers’ Market in East Palo Alto with stops at the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and the East Palo Alto Senior Center.
The mobile market has been sourcing fresh fruit from Castellanos Farm – who also sells at the Collective Roots Community Farmers’ Market – and held a series of VeggieRx nutrition workshops at nearby Ravenswood Family Health Center.
Since 2000, Collective Roots, based in East Palo Alto, has offered multiple food access, food justice, and community-based gardening projects.
These include the East Palo Alto Community Farmers Market, located at the Ravenswood Family Health Center, and the Collective Gardening Network that provides resources for community members to grow their own food.
East Palo Alto is a high need city in the middle of the technology center where poverty is more than two times the rate of San Mateo County and life expectancy is 13 years lower.
“In the last few years, our incredible staff rebuilt and grew Collective Roots into a strong organization and community partner,” explains Rachel Kellman Soulages, former Board Chair of Collective Roots.
“Building off this success, we considered many options to ensure the long-term sustainability of Collective Roots programming in East Palo Alto. Merging with Fresh Approach, an existing organizational partner, proved to be an ideal way for Collective Roots to continue its partnership with the East Palo Alto community while increasing effectiveness and long-term impact.”
Patrick Fabian, Fresh Approach’s Board President, agrees. “Both organizations can achieve more by combining forces. Fresh Approach has been working on food access, nutrition and agricultural education programs in the Bay Area since 2008. We look forward to working more closely with the East Palo Alto community to continue expanding awareness of and access to affordable, locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the Bay Area.”
The Executive Director of Fresh Approach, Lucy Norris, will continue as the Executive Director of the combined entity.
Fresh Approach is maintaining Collective Roots’ programming, as well as its East Palo Alto office headquarters. Both Raffaella Cerruti and Najiha Al Asmar, current employees of Collective Roots, are continuing as employees of Fresh Approach.
“The merger with Collective Roots brings new energy and development,” says Lucy Norris, Executive Director. “The combined strengths, capacity and vision of these organizations provide fertile ground for growing the legacy and impact of our programs in East Palo Alto and beyond.”