Following a successful career as a basketball player and coach in the WNBA—logging eight seasons, multiple WNBA championships, and the assistant coach title within organizations like the Phoenix Mercury and Los Angeles Sparks—it’s evident that there’s no shortage to Bridget Pettis’ talents. Now, Pettis has translated her passion and talents into another impactful space—this time, in the form of her Phoenix-based nonprofit, Project Roots AZ. Project Roots is an organization that aims to create more accessibility to nutritious foods, all while working to promote a more sustainable way of living for urban neighborhoods.
The inspiration for the nonprofit stems from Pettis’ childhood, where she recalls learning first-hand that “access to healthy foods is a luxury for many.” Now, through her own knowledge and appreciation of Midwest gardening, Pettis is helping to educate and feed Arizona’s underserved population through everything from mobile kitchen services to local community gardens.
For the past year, Project Roots AZ volunteers have worked to grow and harvest fresh fruits and vegetables in its two community gardens located in Central and South Phoenix. Harvested produce is then donated to local farmer’s markets and food banks, and the proceeds from these sales are later reinvested into Project Roots AZ to help provide more for other recipients.
The nonprofit, which was established in February 2020, has already planted more than 200 trees, expanded its garden at both Agave Farms and Spaces of Opportunity, and added a complete drip system along with two water tanks to its allotted half acre at Spaces of Opportunity. In 2020 alone, the nonprofit sold over 200 produce bags, donated 350 produce bags to Local First, and provided 3,300 produce boxes to Friends of the Farm.
“With Project Roots AZ, we want to make a real difference and provide opportunities for anyone to get the fresh foods necessary to live a healthier life.”
Fruits and vegetables from Project Roots AZ can be found at farmer’s markets around town, including Uptown Farmers Market and the Spaces of Opportunity Farmer’s Market.
For more information about how to donate time or money to Project Roots AZ, visit https://www.projectrootsaz.org/.