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Grow By

Growing

Investing  

in the Future

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Our Mission
StartUpRoots empowers students to develop their potential and challenges them to build a more equitable and sustainable future by providing a platform for growing food, ideas, and responsibility for the earth’s limited resources.    

Our Story

Founded in 2015, StartUpRoots’ first priority was to address the needs of hungry school children in one of Jerusalem’s poorest neighborhoods. While private funds were raised to provide what might be the students’ only meal of the day, the white rice, canned peas, and rolls with chocolate spread weren’t what the students needed. They not only needed more nutritious food, but the schools to enable them to provide for a better future. When the principle told us that graduates returned to their teachers for help with wedding expenses, we knew that we needed to transform handouts to hands-on education. We converted a dilapidated school yard into a 100 sq meter hydroponic farm. Growing 1500 vegetables a month, students learned the importance of nutrients for both the plants and themselves.

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Word spread and soon other principles and teachers wanted to “green” their schools. As few schools have the space for a 100 sq meter greenhouse, we needed to develop a farm that could literally fit anywhere. In the hallway of a school that serves just over 100 students, StartUpRoots designed a vertical system that could grow 120 plants per meter, per month. Students became active learners, researching plant needs, applying the scientific method to growing sprouts, microgreens, leafy greens and herbs, documenting plant growth and reflecting on their own growth, through curriculum in photojournalism and enjoying the fruits of their labors as they learned to develop new products, such as the hydro-shake, a healthy drink they advertised to other students in the school, as part of our entrepreneurship curriculum.

We’ve developed our farm to a commercial level, enabling Yeshiva students in a 22 sq meter 2000-year-old room in the Old City, to devote just a few hours a week to produce hundreds of vegetables for sale to local residents. The vegetables are harvested to order and reach our customers within minutes of being harvested. Hydroponics uses 90% less water than traditional farming, eliminates the need for chemical pesticides, reduces waste, and saves precious land. Food grown locally, in a controlled environment reduces the carbon footprint and makes fresh vegetables available all year long. Yeshiva students use the farm for learning and teaching related subjects including Jewish tradition and social justice, health, environmentalism, and more.

We provide students with the tools to develop skills, knowledge, and a love of learning that will engage them to be responsible team players in a world that demands cooperation, consideration, and collaboration. Within our multidisciplinary curriculum, we invite students to find what they enjoy, develop what they are good at, appreciate the input of others, and focus on what our world needs. There is no greater pleasure than to watch students grow by growing!

Help Us Grow!
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Our Projects

Help Us Grow!
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Check out our Blog! 

Meet The Team

Robin Katz, Esq.
Robin Katz, Esq.

C.E.O., Founder

Aliza Heching, Ph.D.
Aliza Heching, Ph.D.

C.O.O, Operations Research

Keren Davidoff, M.Sc.
Keren Davidoff, M.Sc.

C.C.O (Curriculum)

Allen Selis, Ph.D.
Allen Selis, Ph.D.

Chief Technology Officer

Golan Rottenberg
Golan Rottenberg

Hydroponic Expert

Sharon Berezin Alves
Sharon Berezin Alves

Agronomist

Adam Kaplan, M.B.A.
Adam Kaplan, M.B.A.

Financial Analyst

Yaron Penn, Ph.D.
Yaron Penn, Ph.D.

Aeroponics Advisor

Amit Gross, Ph.D.
Amit Gross, Ph.D.

Water and Environmental Specialist

Elaine Solowey, Ph.D.
Elaine Solowey, Ph.D.

Medicinal Herbs Specialist

Miki Volokita, Ph.D.
Miki Volokita, Ph.D.

Pesticide Specialist

Evyatar Erell, Ph.D.
Evyatar Erell, Ph.D.

Advisory Board Member

Moran Segoli, Ph.D.
Moran Segoli, Ph.D.

Advisory Board Member

Alex Cicelesky, M.Sc.
Alex Cicelesky, M.Sc.

Ecology Education Advisor

Clarite Azerraf
Clarite Azerraf

M.B.A, Ph.D.

Chanah Auerbach
Chanah Auerbach

Raw Food Specialist, ​Former Head Chef Alumot

Ronit Rommy
Ronit Rommy

M.Sc. Chemistry

Estee Kreisman
Estee Kreisman

Artist and Award-Winning Graphic Designer

Max Richardson
Max Richardson

Commercial Photographer, Internationally renowned

Chava Neshoma Lustig
Chava Neshoma Lustig

M.B.A., C.P.A.

Shari Jacobs
Shari Jacobs

American Registered Nutritionist and American Educational Liaison

Douglas Jaffe
Douglas Jaffe

Amuta Secretary, Board Member

Rav Yitzchak Steinberg
Rav Yitzchak Steinberg

Rosh Eretz Chemda Kollel

Tamar Schriger
Tamar Schriger

Clinical Nutritionist

Rav Shmuel Silinsky
Rav Shmuel Silinsky

Co-Founder, Agriculture, Horticulture, Torah, At-Risk Youth

Jacob Matar
Jacob Matar

Amuta Treasurer, Torah and Science Scholar, Artist

Rav Zechariah Kaplan
Rav Zechariah Kaplan

Halachic Expert

Jacob Schonzeit
Jacob Schonzeit

Board Member

 

Educational Videos

Brought to you by Integral Hydroponics, this animated video series gives Hebrew instruction on the basics of hydroponic farming! 
In this Edible Education video, through Chef Raw Raw, Chanah Auerbach teaches us how to prepare delicious microgreens!
 

Testimonials

 

Esther Ben Chaim, Principal (Minahelet)

Ohr Batya School

Raw Food Chef Chanah Auerbach

Ohr Batya School

Ohr Batya Agriculture Teacher

Morah Shulamit Explains the Impact of the Project on the Students

Ohr Batya Agriculture Teacher

Morah Shulamit Explains the life lessons learned  from Hydroponic Farming

 

StartUpRoots in the Press

WE ARE PROUDLY SUPPORTED BY

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Plant Seeds for Success!