Spring RootSkills Workshop Tracks

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RootSkills offers a choice between two daylong workshop tracks. We work with highly skilled workshop trainers who understand the specific challenges of volunteer community groups and tailor their content to the grassroots. Each workshop track is designed to be very interactive and allows for a lot of peer-to-peer sharing among participants. The goal with each of these workshop tracks is for participants to come away with practical tools and ideas that are easy to adopt and use right away.

We ask that participants stick with their track as information and exercises build on each other throughout the day. We encourage multiple people from one group to attend RootSkills so that each can attend a different track. You can indicate your first and second choice track during registration and we do our best to match your preference, though each track is limited to a maximum number of participants.

​Workshop Track 1: When You Know Who You Are, You Will Know What to Do.



  • Come to understand your organization/project within a movement ecology.
  • Articulate a clear theory of change within your movement context.
  • Identify sources of courage and resolve that can empower your group to hold fast to your commitments and inspire others to join you.


You may have heard this slogan from the climate change movement: “To change everything, it takes everyone.” This beautiful truth can also be an overwhelming challenge for organizers and activists, keeping us from becoming the transformational movement leaders our world needs. That’s no surprise: organizing everyone is an impossible task.

Making change in a status-quo world requires courage and steadfastness. Standing bravely in our work and values requires that we know what our “yes” is that enables us to say “no” without fear, to take risk and be bold.

When you know who you are (as individuals and as a group), articulate your theory of change, and identify where you fit into the ecology of a movement, you have what you need to inspire your natural constituents. And with the courage to express those elements sincerely, working with allies who occupy a different niche in the surrounding movement ecology becomes easier, and the core of your constituency will respond with deeper commitment.

Workshop facilitators: Marla Marcum and Jay O'Hara of the Climate Disobedience Center

​Workshop Track 2: Family and Youth Engagement through Community Gardening



  • Gain an understanding of how food can be used as a tool for youth/family engagement
  • Gain an understanding of the how a school-based community garden operates in collaboration with public schools
  • Gain ready-to-use skill for diverse student and family engagement in urban settings
  • Gain tools to get community and public school support and approval


When people talk about gardens are typically talking about one of two kinds, community and school.  However to engage youth in a meaningful way, adults often have to think outside of the box.  The work Grow Education is doing in New Bedford, MA is using a school-based community garden model- a hybrid approach of community and school. We are finding this approach to be a great success when engaging youth along with their families.  

The school-based community garden approach makes the claim that public school land is part of the community, and can be used for communal purposes, such as growing food.  The Grow Education facilitated gardens located on New Bedford public school land are by definition acting community gardens, however they are located in a space where there are also accessible to be used as outdoor classrooms. 

This workshop track will give insight to the process of how the school-based community garden approach evolved and its successes and challenges.  We will explore ways to engage diverse groups of young people and their families in culturally affirming gardening, and the potential positive ripple effects this has in a community and public school system. 

While information will be presented, the workshop will have time for dialogue and helping those in the room take their ideas for gardens to the next level.

Workshop facilitators: Zoe Hansen-DiBello, Marion Institute Grow Education Program Director. 

Hear Zoe at TEDxNewBedford speak about "Building Community One Garden at a Time"


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