Company creates programs that teach us to do better


Credit: contributed

Credit: contributed


Q: I’ve seen a couple of references to an organization Roots Down. Would you tell me about this company?

A: You are inquiring about Roots Down, founded by Jamie Rosenthal about three years ago. The organization works as an advocate and educator for transforming land into one of beauty and productivity.

Rosenthal began his land education in his 20s through landscaping. It was in Jasper where he started a permaculture farm called Wolfscratch.

It is “a farm that harmonizes with nature and created a lot of growing patterns that kind of imitated the natural ecology in our area,” he stated. “We incorporated a lot of perennials, fruit and nut bearing, and pollinary-friendly plants.

“The product for our farm wasn’t just the food, it was the education: programs and internships,” the founder said.

After a particularly hard day out on the farm, gathering crops and running markets gave the farmer pause to envision a better approach.

The future he saw was landscapes of “beautiful, edible and native paradise gardens.” Rosenthal said he knew an opportunity existed because of the rich industry in the metro Atlanta area.

After eight years, the family moved to Decatur where the seedlings of Roots Down began.

Meetings with Ted Terry, mayor of the City of Clarkston at the time, brought about shared visions and forward-thinking ideas to enrich the community.

“We started dreaming about what it would look like for a city to adopt these sorts of policies - mowing and blowing paradigm, and training at the city level - that would make the landscape change into a more beautiful piece.

“Through our work in Clarkston it opened up other opportunities to retrain and retool county and government employees and the vendors they use,” Rosenthal said.

He said that mowers, blowers and grass have their place, but believes there is an opportunity to scale it down.

Improving public landscapes can be a catalyst for change in all communities, he noted.

“We really help the government to become these thought leaders with us and lead the charge by producing, by helping them install, maintain and operate these landscapes. We also create these ecosystems of services in which these things can thrive on - like policies, advocacy, education, youthful programming and job training programs,” Rosenthal said.

Roots Down is currently working in the library footprint with Commissioner Ted Terry in DeKalb with goals to “create policy reform” and change the landscape of libraries to one of an “educational oasis.”

They have launched a pre-sale for their first book ‘Grow, Don’t Mow: A Roots Down Guide to Growing More Fruitful Communities.’ “Tres Crow, our chief marketing officer, was the brainchild on this. As thought leaders, we were advised that we could do so much more by teaching people to fish than to actually do the fishing for them,” the founder said.

For those looking to begin making sustainable changes, Rosenthal said to start at home with simple shifts: take out a small percentage of your grass and plant a shade tree or a pollinator bush, or don’t mow every week or change to organic products.

“We at Roots Down don’t believe in banning things. We want to be friends and believe in educating our way out of it,” he said.

For more information including events, visit @rootsdownga

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