After 23 years with the Women’s National Basketball Association, Bridget Pettis retired from the sport and launched a new adventure – Project Roots. This nonprofit strives to grow healthy, organic food and share it with the community with a goal of helping people live a healthier life.
Pettis was inspired to create the organization after volunteering as a community gardener.
The business started out as a soup kitchen. After Pettis purchased some land in the south Phoenix area, she quickly launched a community garden whose sole purpose was to become a useful food and education resource for the community.
“We want to make sure there is an availability of organic food for everybody,” she said.
Project Roots plants and grows organic food, but Pettis also maintains the soup kitchen for people in need. She hopes to launch a mobile soup kitchen and build a shelter to help people transition out of homelessness in the future.
“I think homelessness is a problem that can be removed in this country,” Pettis said.
Having volunteered for food banks and community kitchens in the past, she wanted to create a kitchen that made healthier food for the disadvantaged population and gives them a resource for nutritious food instead of canned goods and processed foods.
Project Roots also offers produce that is delivered to customers every Tuesday and Thursday, and they host a farmers market every Saturday that is entirely donation-based.
They are also educating communities on planting, growing, and eating organic. The organization hosts weekly gardening classes with a master gardener, and also has a garden box program that allows neighborhoods to purchase a garden box to share with their community.
Exclusively run by volunteers, the nonprofit a growing success. “It’s not just me,” Pettis said. “This is a volunteer program, and people are coming out to serve and help other people.”
Project Roots hopes to host an annual fundraiser to help their organization grow and expand their ability to support and educate more people.
“I’ve definitely seen a bigger need since the pandemic, but there has been a need for this worldwide for some time now,” Pettis said. “My goal is to build a better world.”
In the future, Pettis hopes to see her dream project flourish into a national organization that encourages growing and eating healthy food in communities across the country.
For more: projectrootsaz.org