SVHC Member Update: Neha

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Neha Bazaj
Collective Roots

Collective Roots has a variety of programs, each with slightly different foci but with significant overlap. I have been fortunate enough to work with almost all of them; youth & adult cooking, nutrition and gardening classes, the East Palo Alto Farmers’ Market, our Backyard Gardener Network and many others. As a result I often have the chance to interact with community members across programs.

Occasionally my elementary school students will come to the farmers’ market with their parents and approach me with severe looks of confusion; what am I doing outside of school? Beyond being adorable, this link to their child allows me to begin a conversation with their parents about the work that we do and the resources that may be available to them. Similarly, I run into former class participants while biking around East Palo Alto, while grabbing a quick burrito for lunch or while shopping for groceries for a cooking class. Seeing these men and women outside the context of a class or program has helped me to begin to establish more personal relationships with them, and these relationships often create greater buy-in to other aspects of our work.