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Community Footprint: The Renewed Roots Initiative

At the Renewed Roots Initiative (RRI), they stand behind the inspiring words of cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” In other words, even small acts and subtle moments can have a profound impact.

“All big cities like Aurora have less fortunate people. There are always those areas around town and we want to be in full support of helping those people.” – Jared M., Co-Founder

At Quality Logo Products, we are happy to do our part in making that difference for our fellow Aurora, Illinois residents. Not only do we have employees who receive weekly produce from RRI, but we also donated custom tote bags to this hard-working nonprofit. It may seem like a standard item to have on hand, but it turns out these easy-to-carry bags are one leaf on a giant tree – a valuable marketing tool to help spread awareness about an important cause. In the spirit of Mead’s words, every small act makes a difference in changing the world for the better!

Building Roots in the Aurora Community 

Completely ran by volunteers and founded by Jared Mead and Erin Carlisle just last year, the Renewed Roots Initiative has made a significant difference in providing fresh, sustainably grown foods to those that need it most. In fact, this nonprofit micro farm donated over 1,000 pounds of fresh produce to neighborhood food pantries with plans to continue growing into the future. Whether you want to make a direct donation, receive their weekly produce, or become a part of their work/share program and get your hands dirty, there are a number of ways to get involved. The various initiatives offered by this sustainable organization include:

Urban Orchard – If you have a fruit-bearing tree or bush sitting in your yard collecting dust, you can register for the Urban Orchard. Your fresh produce will be harvested by RRI volunteers for free! Not to mention, you’ll receive a coupon for their weekly farmer’s market stand so you can try out their fresh produce. With 6 billion pounds of fruits and vegetables left unharvested every year, this is a simple way to contribute to more sustainable living.

The Community Garden – For those with a green thumb, you can purchase a plot of 10×10 space for only $25.00 at Jericho Road Community Garden in Aurora, Illinois. Families are invited to take part in harvesting their food by coming out to the land and gardening alongside the RRI team. People of all ages are invited to get their hands dirty by harvesting their own produce.

RRI has worked with a wide variety of people including refugee families and elderly households. Unfortunately, having access to safe food is a luxury these families can’t always afford.

“A lot of refugee families end up going into apartments and there’s not really any land for them to use. Getting people out to our land is an opportunity for us to teach them how to garden and be part of the process of receiving their fresh food.” – Jared M.

This is happening in our own backyard, which is why RRI has made it their mission to help by providing fresh food directly to these families. Their outreach includes:

Sponsored CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) – By sponsoring a low-income household, you’ll provide families in need with freshly harvested produce for every week of the 20-week harvest season. This program will eventually expand to include recipes, cooking classes, and home-grown education courses to keep at-risk families knowledgeable about staying healthy through an organic lifestyle.

Fresh Produce for Pantries – Renewed Root Initiative’s mission is to change the fact that 1 in 7 people in the United States struggles with hunger. Of the households they serve, an alarming 31% have to choose between paying for education and food every year and 66% have to choose between paying for medical care and food every year. 

Through their sponsorship with World Relief, the Renewed Roots Initiative was able to meet a grandmother who had ended up taking custody of her grandchildren. She didn’t expect to be the full supporter of the kids and raising them had taken a toll on her bank account. It was stressful trying to keep food on the table and RRI jumped at the opportunity to help out in whatever way they could. Families like these need access to a fine assortment of healthy greens and fresh fruits. By becoming a sponsored family, this grandmother and others like her won’t have to make the tough choice between healthier food and education or medical care.

Branching Out with Burlap Totes

Custom Burlap Tote Bags

Like the freshest produce, programs like those offered by the Renewed Roots Initiative need to be properly cared for in order to grow. Marketing for a nonprofit organization is no easy feat, especially considering that most funding is going directly into the garden and toward families who need it most. And with the need for farming equipment like tillers, rider mowers, and weed wackers, as well as basic essentials like filing cabinets, fencing, and printers, there isn’t a lot of room in the budget for advertising.

“Smaller companies and nonprofits need to get our names out there too. People will have these bags for a long time since they’re practical, useful, and high quality.” – Jared M.

This is why our donation of Milan Jute Totes were such a valuable promotional product to have on hand at the farmer’s market. Such a simple giveaway item makes a big difference in terms of increasing brand awareness. Any expense spared for marketing means more money going toward the garden and the families who need this fresh produce.

Custom Burlap Totes

Visitors to this local farmer’s market were thrilled about these burlap tote bags and excited to see the RRI beet logo (hand-drawn by a local artist) printed on the front. Customers could load their fresh food into the bag instead of the typical basket or create typically provided by RRI, and in turn, get a useful, stylish item they could reuse again and again. One regular in particular was pleasantly surprised by the quality of her burlap tote. She was excited to have something she could use to bring snacks to the park for her kids and carry towels in for a day at the beach. Jared and Erin were equally excited to have such a top-notch product representing the Renewed Roots Initiative’s mission.

From harvesting apples from neighborhood trees to donating baskets of produce to families less fortunate, the Renewed Roots Initiative has made it their mission to give everyone in the Aurora community access to a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.

  • Fresh Produce in RRI's Custom Totes
  • Working in the Community Garden
  • Burlap Totes with the RRI Logo
  • Fresh Peppers in the Garden
  • Packing Up the Tote Bags
  • A Fresh Zucchini from the Garden
  • Another Day in the Garden
  • Happy Volunteers at the Farmer's Market
  • Providing Fresh Food to Aurora
 

 

As proud members of the Aurora community, we’re excited to share the stories of small businesses and nonprofits in our own backyard. Visit The Official Quality Logo Products Blog to learn more about the hardworking organizations making a difference in the City of Lights.



Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa loves food. A LOT. Particularly pizza and popcorn, but she knows beggars can’t be choosers. When she’s not stuffing her face (which is rare), she loves watching movies, playing volleyball and softball, and engaging in any number of interesting shenanigans. If she had to pick a spirit animal, she’d be an otter because they are playful and love to laugh. Most of the time she’s laughing at herself, whether other people are laughing with or at her is to be determined.

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