Rooted in Community Network

RIC is a movement of culture builders, urban farmers, artists, cooks, educators, and agents of empowerment.

Most of the other organizations profiled in these pages are part of the Rooted In Community (RIC) network. RIC is a national network of youth food justice leaders from low-income and communities of color dedicated to transforming their food systems to regenerate community health and economies. We aim to amplify the voice and power of young people in the food justice movement.  We do this by coordinating conferences, leadership trainings, and campaigns, and by mentoring youth organizations in cultural sensitivity, popular education, best practices, and national networking and organizing.

RIC was founded in 1998 by the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA), The Food Project and Literacy for Environmental Justice as a response to the missing youth voice at the ACGA annual conference.  From those roots, we held our 13th annual Rooted in Community conference in 2011. RIC represents over 50 organizations in over 200 communities from Hawaii to Maine – over 10,000 teens and adults working together in urban and rural agriculture, food sovereignty and social justice.

Our flagship program is our annual national leadership summit, which features peer education workshops in sustainable agriculture, healthy lifestyles, social movement history, the art of cooking, and the politics of the corporate food system. Youth are trained in using social media tools for communicating the root causes of health inequities, advocating for justice in politics, and inspiring positive civic engagement.  RIC youth practice using their creativity to inspire a shift in culture where respect, sustainability, and compassion are the norm.  The network creates space for youth to cultivate leadership and a heart of service that prepares them to be agents of prosperity through agriculture, business entrepreneurship, holistic health education, and community organizing.  RIC keeps youth programs connected to each other through facilitating national days of action, online campaigning and an exchange of writing and art from youth.  

In July of 2011, 150 teenage leaders developed and declared a Youth Food Bill of Rights at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA.  Their dream is that youth throughout the country use it to inspire their local work and leverage it to advance justice in food, labor, and health policy.  Please share your comments, help us enrich it, refine it, get it signed by thousands of youth, and grow it:

Youth voices from across the Rooted in Community network

“I want the world to know that RIC is full of community leaders that have a passion for food justice.”18 year old

“RIC made me think I was really leader material.” -18 year old

“RIC has opened my eyes to how powerful youth can be.” -17 year old

“I think that RIC has changed me in a way that I now have connected with different people from different organizations so together we can improve the health of the overall community.”  -19 year old

“I used to be shy, but I came [to RIC] and saw how much spirit was being thrown around, so I had a chance to show off my talent.”  -15 year old

“RIC has changing me in a sense that I am more enlightened than I used to be; I am also very much motivated to tackle the issue of food justice.”  -17 year old

“It’s important for me to participate in RIC because as an activist I need to learn about all aspects of justice…I want the world to know that RIC is not just about food but being placed into a family that is very diverse, beautiful, and smart.”  -17 year old

“I want the world to know that RIC is a strong leadership program that really helps make our communities healthy.”  -15 year old


“RIC is a dynamic and unique space for teenage youth to grow their leadership and their power – youth who are often excluded from access to power and voice – and to be supported, to create, and express their world of justice.”  -adult mentor

“I experienced tremendous growth here as an organizer and was deeply impacted by the strength, wisdom, and leadership of the youth involved.  I also feel more prepared to effectively engage in more cultural competency work.” -adult mentor

 “[I come to RIC] to build relationships with other groups and organizations around food justice.  It was important for my group to participate to affect change in our community.”-adult mentor