This is the time of the year at the Roots & Wings farm when our anticipation and eagerness for the upcoming season becomes heightened. Our garden beds have been prepped, compost added, and the drip lines have been pulled out of storage, repaired, and placed on the farm.
Our seeds have arrived, and we have already started to grow new seedlings. Some have been transplanted already in our High Tunnels, and others will be transplanted in the coming weeks. Some of the recent vegetables transplanted were cabbage and peas. As the weather changes and we reach our last frost date on April 30, we will begin transplanting and directing seeding outside.
In the High Tunnel, we tested several varieties of vegetables to see how well they would overwinter. In late fall 2022, we planted Bok Choy, Red Russian Kale, Arugula, Collard greens, and Mustard greens, and they are all doing well. Yatte has already harvested some to take home. Harvesting fresh vegetables at this time of the year is so exciting!
On another positive note, our new farm apprentice will start in early May. Also. we have a group of students from Freeport High School coming to volunteer at the farm. These are Agriculture Science students, so we anticipate a robust conversation around our shared interests. We welcome other organizations to partner with us in our work at Roots Wings farm and garden. Volunteers are welcome as well.
Finally, you should sign up for a Roots & Wings CSA share if you want fresh, organically grown vegetables. This is our 10th year offering CSA shares, and we grow over 45 different varieties of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Attached is the link to our website, where you can find more information about our program.
A note from yatte moore, urban farm manager
Hi, my name is Yatte Moore and I’m the Urban Farm Manager, and I have been farming for the last 9 years at Roots & Wing Farm & Garden. Roots & Wings is a half-acre urban farm located in Blackhawk Courts; a Rockford Housing Authority property. All the vegetables are grown organically, and we grow over 45 different fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs.
Roots & Wings provides access to fresh fruits and vegetables to the residents of the Blackhawk Courts community. Through our community garden, we specifically grow an assortment of vegetables that residents want, and all the vegetables are available for free.
Also, we offer a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. This program is primarily supported by the broader community but through the generosity from supporters we are able to provide free CSA shares to the residents in Blackhawk Courts. Our CSA is competitively priced and we offer both summer and fall CSA shares for sale. We know you have many choices where to get your vegetables and we ask that you consider our CSA as your source. To sign up for a CSA please visit our website!
It is important to me that I provide the community and CSA members with the best quality, locally-grown vegetables. I personally select all the seeds, decide where and how much to plant and keep detailed records to assist me with my planning. Food safety is our #1 priority! All of our vegetables are cleaned thoroughly. The tools, harvesting buckets, packing containers, and surfaces are sanitized continuously for safety.
The staff and I welcome all visitors to the farm. We offer farm tours, educational programming, volunteering opportunities, and community service work for residents in Blackhawk Courts.
Thank you, Yatte Moore
"I first heard about Roots & Wings from fellow neighbors and students, that there was a local farm in the community that provided on-site training and education for aspiring future farmers. I was about 12 when I started with the Youth Leader program and I was a part of it for about four years. What I like about the Youth Leader program is that it makes a conscious effort at redirecting children and providing opportunities to expand their skills and knowledge with farm-based tasks while giving them notable work history and experience.
I became a farm apprentice by simply volunteering on-site, and over time I was entrusted with more roles and responsibilities until I was able to earn a wage with the organization. I enjoy making stews from the vegetables grown in our garden, and certain vegetables like okra, cherry tomatoes, and red peppers are very delicious freshly harvested from the field.
Learn more about the history of Roots & Wings and the partnerships that make our urban farm possible here. If you would like to get involved with Roots & Wings or schedule a visit, please contact Tedd Snowden, the Roots & Wings Program Director at email@example.com.
We are excited about the upcoming season. We have scoured through the many seed catalogs, marveled at the beautiful vegetables inside, narrowed our selections down and now we wait with anticipation for them to arrive. While waiting, we recently received a generous gift that makes us very excited for the growing season.
Tomato Bob is a family-run seed farm located in Hilliard, Ohio that has been growing for over 20 years. They offer high quality, unique heirloom seeds to local areas and they ship to various farm communities across the midwest. Tomato Bob and his family believe in helping farm communities as well. For the 2022 farming season, the family has donated various vegetable seeds to our Urban Farm, Roots & Wings. Thank you to Tomato Bob and his family for their contribution to our youth development through urban agriculture!
The seeds donated to Roots & Wings include eggplant, radish, swiss chard, tomato, cabbage, arugula, lettuce, beet, honeydew melon, squash, carrot, and broccoli. To learn more or order your own seeds from Tomato Bob, visit their website.
Thank you to all who have purchased or donated a CSA share from Roots & Wings. We still have a few summer and fall shares available- details here.
Tedd, Program Director of Roots & Wings and Yatte, Urban Farm Manager at Roots & Wings
Also, currently we are utilizing a heater to warm a portion of one of our high tunnels and we are experimenting with growing vegetables over the winter. This creates its own challenges because we run the heater during the day while we are on the farm and turn it off in the evening when we depart. Typically at night is when it’s the coldest outside and our plants are left under these conditions, but we cover all of our plants with row covers to try and provide an extra layer of insulation during this time. We are experimenting with growing both cool season crops (kale, spinach, collards, mustards, etc), and some warm season crops (beans, and summer squash). Also, we have to hand water our new seedlings because we don’t have access to water over the winter in our high tunnels. I’m encouraged that many of the vegetable seedlings are starting to grow.
After all of this, we now have to decide how much to grow in the community garden for the residents of Blackhawk Courts, what to grow for upcoming events we hold annually, and how much to grow for our CSA business and for potential markets. Because all of these needs come at different times of the season, we have to plan a series of succession planting throughout the season to make sure we are consistently covering our needs. All of these decisions are daunting and challenging but will allow us to have a successful growing season.
I’m happy to say this was a huge success! Practically every seed we requested was granted. I want to thank Choices Natural Market and their customers for supporting our program in this way.
Finally, if you are interested in receiving fresh organically grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs, please consider purchasing a CSA share from us. Visit our webpage for more information about our program.
Tedd, Program Director of Roots & Wings and Yatte, Urban Farm Manager at Roots & Wings
On October 23rd, we gathered at the Angelic Organics Lodge to celebrate Roots & Wings and recognize the 2021 Good Food Advocates, an award given annually to local leaders who are strengthening food accessibility in the Rockford area through their support of our Roots & Wings program. This year's awardees include Pastor Mike at Zion Lutheran Church and Laura Snyder & the leadership team at Rockford Housing Authority.
Event photos taken by Summer Wagner Photography, follow on Instagram.
Yatte Moore, Urban Farm Manager for the Roots Wings Farm & Garden, has been selected as Kane County Juvenile Justice Center’s first Farmer in the Classroom. Farmer in the Classroom is run through the Juvenile Justice Center's Farm to School Program and is designed to introduce students to experiences and careers in agriculture by learning from the professionals. Below is the application that Yatte submitted where you can learn more about him.
Meet Yatte Moore
I’ve been the Urban Farm Manager for the Roots & Wings program for 5 years. Currently I am farming on half an acre, which includes farming in two high tunnels. I also oversee a small Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) business and a large community plot where residents of Blackhawk Courts have access to fresh vegetables 24/7. My farming experience has been great. I’ve enjoyed learning and working with people of all races and ages.
I have a lot of experience speaking to various groups and leading farm tours. Roots & Wings has a youth leader program for participants who are between the ages of 10-18. My work with them includes speaking to the participants about healthy living, organic growing practices, proper harvesting techniques, and how to be responsible for a given farm task.
I have participated in presenting to organizations and businesses about farming and the Roots & Wings program. I have done presentations with the Rotary Club, Rockford’s Women’s League, Williams and Manny, and recently completed a virtual video presentation with Rockford Housing Authority with students in the Life-force Development Institute (LDI) program. I've also led groups of volunteers to work on the farm. These groups include; Rockford Work camps, Comprehensive Community Solutions (CCS), and the Chrysler Corporation. With the Chrysler Corporation I oversaw this volunteer effort along with the staff who were involved in the task of building the high tunnels.
I've hosted tours of the farm with a lot of different organizations and groups such as residents of the Blackhawk community, Funders of our Roots and Wings Program, and most recently the Principal of Beyer Elementary School. Beyer Elementary is a new partnership we anticipate starting this fall. Finally, I’ve hosted tours with the Mayor of Rockford, facilitated open houses for our CSA members, and even had the honor to host Will Allen who pioneered Urban Agriculture.