Salad, soccer and success: Teens serve up new food at Allianz Field

[Allina Health Newsroom, March 19, 2024] Every time the Minnesota United (MNUFC) take the field at Allianz Field this season, it’s a win for one group of teens and their mission to increase exposure and access to healthy food.


These teens are part of Roots for the Home Team, a St. Paul-based nonprofit that, “operates on the radical idea that every young person deserves opportunities to see and create the future they want,” according to its website. Roots for the Home Team hires teenagers and provides them with many skills, including healthy food preparation, leadership, customer service, business and time management. 

Sarto, Lilly, Devin, Jerry and countless other Roots for the Home Team teens are putting all of those skills to work at Allianz Field. They’re selling delicious salads at every home game, thanks in part to a partnership between MNUFC and Allina Health.

“I saw the opportunity, and I realized this is something I would enjoy doing,” said Lily, 16, who works with Roots for the Home Team. 

Among the traditional concession-stand fare of nachos, burgers and brats, you’ll find Lily and her coworkers at Roots for the Home Team selling their tasty Caesar Salad, a menu staple, and their Salad of the Match.

“We prep the salads, we bring them to the stadium, and we sell them,” continued Lily. “We usually make samples so people can try it.”




These teens aren’t just selling salads, they are promoting a lifestyle of making healthy choices.

“I always liked salads, but we’ve learned to make other things. We make vegan food. We’ve made a Philly cheesesteak with just mushrooms, instead of meat, and it was delicious,” said Jerry, 18, who works at Roots for the Home Team along with his younger brother, Devin. “Since we started working here and with Appetite for Change, we’ve been eating differently – healthier. My mom wants to start a garden.”

Every three years, Allina Health completes a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in which the health system uses the most recent health and demographic data, as well as direct input from the community, to identify the health priorities of the area. During the last CHNA, our Twin Cities community prioritized access to health food. With that in mind, Allina Health strategically began partnering with community organizations working toward food justice, such as Roots for the Home Team.

“This organization offers a unique service. It is educating youth about better food options, teaching them how to share this message with their community, while providing them with workforce development opportunities,” added Aimee Pappenfus, Director of System Community Benefit and Engagement at Allina Health.

“This is a really big deal,” said Jametta Raspberry, Executive Director of Roots for the Home Team. “This is a big moment for sports and nutrition. It’s a powerful moment for these kids because they can reach 18,000 people or more in one day. Soccer is global. This partnership gives them a chance to reach people around the world.”

Posted on March 19, 2024 in Minnesota United FCcommunity service

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