OUR ORGANIZATION IS RUN BY A SMALL GROUP OF DEDICATED, PASSIONATE INDIVIDUALS
A New Britain native, Joey Listro has worked on a variety of non-profit farms beginning in 2009 while attending the University of Southern Maine. Joey worked building organic farming apprenticeships and curriculum for high school students as an AmeriCorps volunteer. He's a former Incubator Farmer at the Community Farm of Simsbury where he launched a small-scale potato chip and organic CSA business. He served as Head Teacher and Educational Programs Consultant at Urban Oaks Organic Farm in New Britain for their after-school garden enrichment programs from 2011-2014. He spent two years managing a 100+ acre educational farm in New Milford, before returning to New Britain as the founder of ROOTS. Joey serves on the steering committee of the New CT Farmer Alliance and is an active member of the Coalition for New Britain's Youth.
Owen Quatrano resides in New Britain, but was raised in Litchfield County, where his love for the outdoors began. He spent years working in the food and service industry before attending school for environmental geography and geographical information systems.
While enrolled at CCSU, Owen got his start with ROOTS, working as an intern and assisting in the construction of several garden beds throughout the New Britain School District. Owen continued his employment with ROOTS as an educator, teaching elementary students on a variety of issues ranging from food security to sustainability. It was through this position that he was able to combine his passions for growing food and helping the next generation find their own appreciation for the land we live on.
Currently, Owen serves as ROOTS’ Market Manager. You can find him driving our Mobile Farmers’ Market to multiple locations around New Britain throughout the market season, serving up fresh, local produce to the community.. Beyond ROOTS, Owen looks to incorporate his GIS education into a plan that will help benefit those suffering from poor access to healthy food.
Rita has worked in the culinary field for over 20 years as a restaurant Chef, private Chef and Chef/Manager at Whole Foods Market in California and on the East coast.
She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, as well as a registered nutritionist and owner of Cook Happy! teaching cooking classes to children, teens and adults.
Rita is a founding member of Growing Great Schools, a nonprofit organization that works to create a culture of wellness in our schools and community. She teaches cooking and gardening for children in after school programs as well as cooking classes for Cooking Matters in the Hartford area. When she is not teaching cooking Rita enjoys yoga, walking, gardening, and enjoying time with her husband and 2 daughters.