Building Roots is a non-profit organization with a mission to foster a community-led environment. We spoke with Bayley Nargang, the communications manager at Building Roots, to learn more.
Describe your non-profit in a few sentences?
We envision vibrant & resilient neighbourhoods. That may sound like a high benchmark, but narrowing it down, we engage in fostering a community-led environment to meet our objective of enabling socially cohesive communities. Building Roots does this through our programming, community partners, participation opportunities and constantly listening as allies. This is why it is important to our team to maintain a streamlined approach so that we can ensure a grassroots connection with the community.
The Moss Park Market is the primary example of this. Our team is able to offer a pay-what-you-can model for a variety of fresh & affordable produce sourced from local suppliers. More importantly, it’s open consistently, each Saturday from 11 AM – 4 PM & located at 260 Queen St. E.
When did you Start/Join?
I started in October of 2020 in a part-time contract capacity.
What made you want to get involved?
I have experience in many sectors of both non-profit and service jobs. When I found out about Building Roots, I was impressed and humbled by their commitment to the community-led approach. I had honestly not seen an organization generate impact in such an immediate way before. Especially in these times, listening to the community is necessary, and seeing this done in a genuine way inspired me to join the team!
What was the situation like when you started?
That is a long answer, and one I think we may all be (disappointingly) familiar with. The pandemic had affected every aspect of Building Roots’ operations. Actually, we have recently produced a 3-part mini-series which summarizes exactly this story alongside
The personal stories in this podcast help give much more emotional context to this than I could in a few words. You can check that out here.
How has it changed since?
I mean, not to plug our content too much, but the podcast I shared above “In Times of Change” can provide much greater insight into this answer!
Honestly & wholesomely though, I have seen an inspiring amount of adapting in the face of adversity. My time here really has re-instilled my faith in the impact of collaborative action.
What more needs to be done?
Consistency, Community & Compassion.
Our vision is that we can collaboratively engage with community members & partners to supply a spread of inclusive tools & services. This objective though, cannot be achieved without the support of many participants, supporters, funders and volunteers. We suggest that the next time you think about supporting local, you consider the impact of showing up consistently!
How can our readers help?
Well, to keep on message with the three C’s above, I would recommend following, engaging & sharing!
Seriously though. One of the best ways you can contribute to the mission of any grassroots organization is by supporting the growth of our outreach. This also means in whichever capacity you think you can – because – impact can be created in many different ways! Whether it be offering time to deliver food bags, or, simply sharing some of our community action to your social pages. Showing up speaks loudest.
Do you have any events coming up?
At the moment, we are not promoting any external events simply because of the shifting public health guidelines which we are all well aware of.
That said, we are gearing up for a busy spring/summer as we collectively move forward. Keep an eye & an ear out!
Where can we follow you?
If you are reading this post-publishing date, we will be on TikTok at some point during 2022.
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
When almost everyone in our sector had to adjust their programming models in response to the shifting social situations – it was interesting to observe the creative ways fellow nonprofit organizations adapted.
One of my favourite examples of this is our community partner – Story Planet. They are another local Toronto organization that focuses on writing & literacy workshops.
They are dedicated to amplifying the voices of children and young people. How they interpreted their creative programming to a digital format has breathed some inspiration into how you can approach online programming.
They too created a podcast alongside CJRU1280 AM which stands as a great testament to this. The Story Planet Podcast is an auditory adventure made by kids for kids. Which I thought, was an incredible way to engage the literacy of youth while working with a medium with which they are familiar. Most importantly, they meet the theme of the day: consistency. Follow Story Planet on IG or Twitter and you will see that ideas like these never stop flowing!