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 on our Facebook pages.
Community Roots Gathering Garden @ North Idaho College
Community Roots Local Food Share @ Shared Harvest Garden

or DOWNLOAD OUR MOST RECENT NEWSLETTER:Community Roots August 2016 Newsletter

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 Gathering Garden now serves as an educational growing space that serves as an outdoor classroom for students, faculty and community members to learn about organic gardening and permaculture methods.

Take a self-guided tour of the garden whenever, or join in on one of our Volunteer Work days to connect with experienced gardeners (and all-round awesome people) who are available to share their knowledge and skills on a variety of horticultural practices, permaculture principles and techniques to help our community flourish in the resiliency and abundance of a revitalized food shed.

Food harvested from the Gathering Garden in 2015 went to local food assistance facilities as well as the North Idaho College Culinary Arts Program 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

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

Upcoming Public Work Parties at the Gathering Garden: (9AM – 12PM)
Sunday, May 22nd 9AM – 12PM
Sunday, June 12th
Sunday, June 26th
Saturday, July 9th
Sunday, July 24th
Sunday, August 7th
Thursday, August 18th – Learn How To Save Your Own Tomato Seeds
Sunday, August 28th

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


  • Rent a Personal Grow Space
  • Outdoor Classroom
  • Meeting Venue
  • Hold a Community Workshop
  • Summer Day Camp
  • BBQ Celebration
    and more…

The Gathering Garden is designed as an outdoor classroom. We have 5 picnic benches, a BBQ, veggie wash station, picnic supplies,  garden tools/gloves, wheelbarrows and more. If you are interested in utilizing the Gathering Garden for a venue, to rent a personal plot, or if you would just like a tour from one of our Gathering Garden volunteers, please complete the below Venue Application Form.  After we receive the form  one of our Gathering Garden committee members will contact you to confirm details.

Roots Gathering Garden Venue Application

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 52,000 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 6th through September 28th every Wednesday night 5:30-7:30PM.  Backyard produce and fruit tree produce can also be brought to the garden.

Collections in 2015: 4,240 pounds of produce!!

To Volunteer contact: Chandra