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Reno’s Urban Roots Festival on Saturday hopes to save local nonprofit (sponsored)


Melissa Joan Hart joins Reno area chefs, musicians to help Urban Roots survive global pandemic

Melissa Joan Hart, star of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Netflix’s No Good Nick, will join musicians and restaurateurs as host of a digital fundraiser benefiting Urban Roots, a Reno nonprofit changing the way kids eat and learn through gardening.

On June 27 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. PST the nonprofit will live stream a free benefit show viewers can watch from their homes, Reno’s Urban Roots Festival, featuring a collection of chefs, musicians, and healthcare and educational professionals. 

The global pandemic caused the organization to cancel its spring and summer camps for students, a primary source of revenue. The benefit will serve as its only fundraising event for 2020. To help the nonprofit reach its $100,000 goal, Hart will join Emmy-award winner Stephen Ritz of New York’s Green Bronx Machine and Reno emcee Connie Wray to guide viewers through musical performances, food demonstrations and evidence from the medical and educational communities that substantiates the importance of healthy eating for children. Hart lives in Lake Tahoe and was introduced to the nonprofit in 2019. To view, register at www.givebutter.com/urbanrootsnv

Fayth Ross
Urban Roots Executive Director Fayth Ross oversees installation of the Dodson Elementary School garden. Image: Ryan McGinnis

Since Urban Roots’ inception in 2010, the organization has served more than 20,000 students in the region. Their programs ensure all students, regardless of economic background, foster connections to agriculture, creating lifelong learners and healthy eaters. The organization has worked diligently to reach communities of color, including neighboring tribal communities. 

Viewers of the fundraiser will learn tips for gardening, regardless of where the viewer resides, hear songs from musicians with Reno roots including Tim Snider, Whitney Myer, Kyle Rea and Cecil Charles, and watch demonstrations for healthy recipes from Reno restaurateurs including Shawn Kroop, Mark Estee of Liberty Food & Wine Exchange and Kasey and Christian Christensen of Süp. In addition, New York City’s Annette Nielsen, renowned nutritional specialist will share healthy eating tips. 

“So many nonprofits have been hurt by COVID-19,” said Fayth Ross, executive director of Urban Roots. “With Melissa’s help, we can reach more homes and share our mission with individuals across the nation. Without the funds from this Festival, our organization is incredibly vulnerable.” 

To register to view the free broadcast, visit www.givebutter.com/urbanrootsnv

About Urban Roots

Urban Roots is a Reno-based nonprofit that strives to improve the way children learn and eat through garden-based education. Their programs include building, maintaining, and utilizing school gardens as an outdoor classroom and offering continuing education trainings for pre-K-12 teachers, day camp and field trips for students, and learning opportunities for family members. The organization uses the garden as a lens to teach concepts ranging from mathematics to English and from science to philanthropy that help implement the nonprofit’s core values of academic achievement, healthy eating, and environmental stewardship.

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