Nuestras Raices is a grassroots non-profit orgaization that is based out of Holyoke, MA. Nuestras Raices was born out of South Holyoke in 1992, by a few community members who wanted to make a change in their community. Nuestras Raices which means 'Our Roots" represents the strong agricultural ties and history that the Puerto Rican community has here in Holyoke. Today, Nuestras Raices has grown to become a large organization, one that is considered "a national model on how to develop sustaianble agriculture and green cities".
Nuestras Raices was created in 1992 by a group of community members in South Holyoke, with the goal of eventually developing a greenhouse in downtown Holyoke. The founding members of Nuestras Raices were all migrating farmers from Puerto Rico, with a strong agricultural background, who had found themselves in a city without opportunites. Realizing that the city was not being cared for, these community members took action into their own hands. They located an abandoned lot in South Holyoke that was full of trash, needles and criminal activity and they came together to clean this lot, turning it into the cities first community garden. This one action sparked a agricultural revolution, and more and more of these community gardens began to pop up throughout the city, all joining the Nuestras Raices network. This one action was crucial because it connected the entire city through a network of community gardens that allowed the members of Nuestras Raices to organize and communicate about the different issues affecting the community throughout the city.
Nuestras Raices today has a network of 10 community gardens with over 100 member families, an environmental program that addresses issues affecting the Holyoke community, a Youth Program for inner city youth that gives them the opportuntiy to organize about food and environmental related topics, and a 30 acre inner city farm that focuses on food systems, economic development and agriculture.
Nuestras Raices has also been a founding member of the Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council, whose goal is to promote community empowerment through social change, and ENERGIA LLC, a socially responsible energy efficiency company that provides energy efficiency upgrades for residential and commercial properties.