We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristina Rodriguez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kristina, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I truly believe the most important factor behind the success of the garden beds is the ability to believe in your potential and your purpose. It’s the ability to pursue your greatest passion. It’s the ability to believe that you can make an impact and change the world. You have to have faith in yourself and the journey that unfolds in front of you. You have to have faith in humanity that people can come together and create this community out of wanting better for the future. You have to believe in a better future even if it doesn’t exist yet. My intuition was guiding me, I knew that I was contributing to something way bigger than myself. I knew I couldn’t give up on something that sparked my passion so deeply. Regardless of what obstacles arise along your journey, believe in yourself and your passion. Move with a purpose. Keep the faith.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Strong Roots Movement is a sustainability based non-profit organization that installs organic edible garden beds at under-served youth centers. We educate the upcoming generation by providing educational lesson plans that we apply on and off the garden beds that encompasses the importance of eating and thinking sustainability. The Strong Roots Movement create free, food producing garden beds for local Gainesville community youth-centers plagued in “food deserts.” We create an abundance of free food for people in need by supporting and encouraging the establishment of gardens on unused land and space while increasing diversity, raising awareness for health and wellness, and inspiring and educating youth,to create an economically sustainable system to uplift communities around the globe. The intention of this organization is to create a paradigm shift in in the way that our society approaches food security and financial security. Strong Roots Movement is a holistic vision that sees a future in which good health, innovation and productivity are an inherent part of our lifestyle and community. I think something that excites me the most about these garden beds is seeing people come together when they collective believe in a better and healthier future. To me it shows that people do believe in living in a more efficient society and a better place, there is almost nothing more inspiring than seeing people come together wanting to improve humanity.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would love the opportunity to show my friends around such a diverse city like Miami- the opportunities to enjoy life and to get outside are endless! I would start with my favorite “Attraction” when it comes to Miami, and take them straight to the beaches! After soaking up some vitamin D and taking in the salt water, I would take them to visit Espanola Way to indulge in the rich cultural blend and take them to grab a bite at one of my favorite French cafes, La Folie. I would spend the next day showing them around to all of the local start up businesses in Wynwood, and the one-of a kind graffiti walls. When it comes to grabbing a bite, Miami Beach is home to a wide variety of some awesome local plant-based cafes and restaurants! I would pass by “The Earth N’ Us” which is a community garden commune tucked away in North Miami to show my friends what Miami has to offer in terms of self sustaining garden communities. It’s quite the experience where people can actually rent out the treehouse for a month and live on the farm. My go to favorite restaurant when I want to indulge on vegan soul food would be planta on South Beach. The owners grow a variety of their produce on the roof. If I want a quicker, yet still plant-based menu, I’d recommend Carrot Express or Apple a Day. Both are local start ups that are guaranteed to leave you full and satisfied! For dessert, my absolute favorite bakery in the entire Miami area would be Bunnie Cakes, in Wynwood. Everything they offer is vegan and gluten free, from their cupcakes to their empanadas. I would end the trip by taking my friends to the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, and then checking out the local farmers market on Lincoln Road every Sunday. Miami truly has so much to offer


Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe the success I’ve experienced thus far to the support I’ve had from the strong individuals in my life who guide and support me with love and encouragement. My sisters, Alex and Jana who guide me and inspire me everyday to believe in myself. My mother and grandfather were the ones to instill my empathetic nature, teaching me to love the natural world around me and take care of it to the best of my ability. (I don’t think they intended for me to take it so literally.) My mentors, who taught me the importance of learning and evolving; Dr. Ellen Martin, Dr. Thomas Easley, Dr. Rena Bohkaterian, and Karen Bray. My home friends, who were friendly reminders of my inner child along the journey. Lastly, undoubtedly my team of hardworking individuals who embarked on the tedious journey of creating these compassionate communities across Gainesville. I don’t have the words to fathom how I got so fortunate to have come across these people along my journey, but they’re impact on me will be something I will cherish with gratitude and carry with me always.

Instagram: @kristirod @Strongrootsmovement
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristina-rodriguez-26812b152/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/strongrootsmovement/

Image Credits
Photo Credits: Abby Jenkins, Hannah Montegomery, Strong Roots Movement