Community Roots

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One Program – Two Projects

The Kootenai Environmental Alliance recognizes the need to look beyond trees and water to monitor environmental impact. Most food systems in the United States operate on a consumerist mindset. They fulfill the immediate need for inexpensive groceries through large-scale farming, imported food, and unsustainable agricultural practices. As environmental stewards, KEA promotes a healthy food circle by sponsoring the program of Community Roots, a program which takes a two-pronged approach to developing a healthy local food system in our area and reconnecting people with the land that feeds them.

Keep up to date with Roots events, volunteering, photos and more at our Facebook page.

Roots Local Food Share is a volunteer-based program of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance that distributes surplus produce from local gardeners and farmers to food assistance facilities.

With thousands of people seeking aid each month, the Coeur d’Alene Food Bank struggles to meet the increasing demands for food assistance. Furthermore, food banks stock mostly processed, non-perishable foods. Many adults and children in low income households have never experienced the flavor of a freshly picked tomato or a “just off the vine” cucumber. Since most gardeners find that they have grown more produce than their family can consume at peak points in the season, the Roots Local Food Share offers a simple solution to meet these nutritional needs and improve the cohesion of our community.

The Roots Local Food Share also plays a role in reducing food miles and green house gas emissions. Food Miles represent the distance our food travels from point of production to point of consumption and the environmental impact it takes to get it there. Since its inception in 2007, Roots volunteers have distributed over 45,950 pounds of donated fresh produce to local food assistance facilities, mainly through environmentally friendly bicycle deliveries. Help us surpass last year’s donations by growing a little extra in your garden or by lending a hand as a volunteer.

Roots Local Food Share collects produce at Shared Harvest Community Garden (Corner of 10th Street & Foster Avenue) starting in July 8th through October every Wednesday night 5:30-7:30PM.  Backyard produce and fruit tree produce can also be brought to the garden.

Collections in 2014: 4,950 pounds of produce!!

To Volunteer contact: Chandra


The Roots Gathering Garden – North Idaho College Campus

Location: On the East Side of Hubbard Street and College Drive – North of the Fort Ground Grill

In 2012 Community Roots partnered with North Idaho College to restore a sorely depleted piece of land, along the education corridor, to environmental health and productivity.  Transforming this dirt field from a neglected vacant lot to a blooming, productive growing spot was a big challenge. An all-volunteer Steering Committee formed eager to take on the challenge and built the area’s first organic gardening and environmental sustainability education center.  This program was named “The Gathering Garden” in reference to the site’s original use as a gathering spot for indigenous tribes and later housing one of the many sawmills that signified the economic base of the region. The garden now serves as a venue for people to share their knowledge and skills on a variety of horticultural practices, permaculture ethics, principles and techniques so that our community will flourish in the resiliency and abundance of a revitalized food shed.

Food harvested from the Gathering Garden in 2014 went to local food assistance facilities as well as the North Idaho College Culinary School to be served in Emery’s Restaurant!

With the Gathering Garden being an all volunteer effort we are always in need of additional help – planting, weeding, watering, teaching – as “many hands make work light.” If you would like to join in the fun, make a donation of time or materials or give a monetary contribution, call the KEA office ( 208) 667-9093 or email

“We had such an incredible experience at the garden, and my students are completely “hyped” to incorporate such an amazing learning/community garden on our campus in St. Maries.”

Rusti Kreider, Honors Science Teacher at St. Maries High School

August 23rd Sunday 8AM – 11AM Gathering Garden Work Day
September 6th Sunday 8AM – 11AM Gathering Garden Work Day
September 20th Sunday 9AM – 12PM Gathering Garden Work Day

Keep up with the Roots Gathering Garden events, volunteering, photos and more at our Facebook page

For more information email us at / 208-667-9093.