Over the past three years, we’ve grown together. Whether you’re investing in your own learning or lending your ear, voice, time, or other resources, we’ve grown quickly because of all of the ways you’ve pitched in for the hard and thoughtful work of launching a new organization.
We’re taking a grateful mid-year pause to share an update, what’s ahead, and how you can help!
While plant-forward eating still seems novel to many, science shows us otherwise. Plant-predominant eating patterns are consistently associated with improved health and longevity, while the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation reports that eating patterns low in whole plant-based foods and high in sodium are responsible for more deaths globally than any other dietary risk factor.
That’s why Rooted exists – to grow health equity and resilience countywide through accessible evidence-based programs that prioritize nutrition, education, and prevention.
Why Rooted? Why Now?
We have excellent leaders in our local healthcare system, so we can imagine you might ask – why is another resource needed?
There’s a gap in healthcare where food and health intersect. In the US, our medical education system lacks meaningful clinical nutrition training for physicians, while about 80% of chronic disease is attributed to diet and lifestyle-associated conditions. Traditional healthcare has excellent tools for diagnosing and treating disease with prescriptions and surgery – yet nutrition is a critical tool missing that can help us prioritize prevention.
In May, the US House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution calling for medical schools, residency, and fellowship programs to provide nutrition education that demonstrates the connection between diet and chronic disease. This is an exciting stride forward, but how long will it take for national progress to reach us locally?
Rooted is led by a diverse group of dedicated health, nutrition, environmental, marketing, and organizational professionals and community members to fill the nutrition gap in local healthcare now. We’re here to support our healthcare sector through meaningful and effective partnerships with healthcare providers and direct service organizations because we know we’re stronger together.
What We’ve Been Up To
While you’ve seen our commitment to sharing knowledge on the power of plants in our newsletters, social media and classes – most of our work is developing behind the scenes!
In recent months, we’ve launched new partnerships with leading local organizations, focusing on partners and programs that serve residents at an increased risk for and disproportionately impacted by chronic disease and the healthcare teams and community organizations who serve them. Partnerships include:
- Foodbank of Santa Barbara County – Co-developing Spanish social media plant-based jumpstarts
- Breast Cancer Resource Center – Specialized nutrition and food skills programming for breast cancer survivors and thrivers
- Sansum Diabetes Research Institute – Co-leading the Santa Barbara Nutrition Health Coalition and partnering on curriculum development and health worker training for culturally-focused plant-forward nutrition research programs.
- Community-developed bilingual nutrition education materials for our local neighborhood clinics
We’re also readying to launch a new bilingual website and virtual learning platform that will make it easier for residents to access plant-forward programs and support from anywhere in our county.
Where We’re Going
We’re continuing to do this work as a largely volunteer driven organization. We’ve received wonderful support over the past year from you, a range of donors, and partners like the Mosher Foundation, who entrusted us with a generous grant to take larger strides forward.
In the coming months we’ll be digging deep and doing quite a bit of “internal” work:
- Building our long-term business model
- Engaging in Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access training
- Expanding our Spanish language and cultural accessibility
- Launching expanded healthcare outreach, and
- Ramping up our fundraising efforts
All of this will contribute to our next stage of growth as we invest in our team and prepare to take our organization from a fiscally sponsored organization to an independent 501c3 nonprofit.
How You Can Further Our Work
We’re doing all of this because we believe what the science shows us: we can improve the trajectory of health for families throughout our county. For many of us at Rooted, we’ve also seen the impact and opportunity that food has had to benefit our own health and our families’. And while behavior change can be hard, we know we’re stronger together when we learn together, and build skills and lifelong habits together, with the support of our healthcare team.
We’re better together and we urgently need your support to do this work. Will you join us today with a donation to take our work to the next level? Donations of every size will go directly to making an impact on our community’s health.
Together we’ve planted seeds. We’ve fostered community and cultivated a strong foundation.
It’s time for us to grow.
This year we’re working to grow our countywide impact by reaching more community members, in increasingly meaningful ways, in collaboration with our partners. Supporting our mission, you can help us:
Reach more than 5,000 residents with education, resources and tools to shift their lifestyles plant-forward
Introduce plant-based nutrition to 50 healthcare providers and direct service partners and strengthen and grow coordinated nutrition networks equipped to prioritize preventive health
Engage 1,000 community members through programming that builds confidence in making and accessing health promoting food choices and preparing and enjoying culturally appropriate and affordable whole food plant-based foods.
We believe optimal health is rooted in prevention. Our long-term goal is to support a significant, measurable shift in rates of chronic disease for thousands of community members throughout our county.
Supporting Our Work - We’re currently an all-volunteer organization and we see incredible room and need to grow over the coming year. We understand that this time has enormous challenges for everyone, so while we’ll be seeking support to help roll our vision forward, we’re also thinking creatively to keep our costs low to efficiently build resources and deliver programming at low to no cost to our community. If you’d like to support our work, we hope you’ll consider making a donation to one of our giving programs through our community partner, the Santa Barbara Foundation!