The Team

Our Team: friendly, passionate, home chefs, urban gardeners, lovers of food, New Yorkers.

Wen-Jay Ying
Founder and Director

Starting Local Roots NYC at the age of 26, Ying was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by Mayor Bloomberg for neighborhood development through her work at Local Roots NYC. She is an alumni of The Good Work Institute, speaks at the International Culinary Center Farm to Table Program, and is a contributing editor to Pot Luck Journal. She was a special guest invited to attend the 50th year anniversary UN Global Goals Gala due to her work in the field of sustainability and agriculture. Quoted in the NY Times and Huffington Post on food topics, Ying and has a weekly radio show called Food Stripped Naked where she converses with chefs, farmers, and others involved in the food system.

Wen-Jay loves to share her ideas on local communities and honoring different forms of capital which she believes can create deep connections and positive change in our world. She believes small businesses can change the world by being mindful, community organizers and producing high quality products and services. Entrepreneurs and small business owners do not have a choice but to feel inspired and invigorated by new ideas and creating change. By taking what is presented to us, we can pioneer a new path of "better." She has played the bass and violin in various bands, loves to converse with strangers, travel to near and far away lands, and hike in Upstate NY or walk endlessly throughout NYC. 



Camryn Hellwarth
Director of Programming and Community Engagement
Camryn came to the Local Roots team in 2018 after being the NYC Director of a non-profit that connects local kids with leading chefs to host hands-on cooking classes. Prior to this, she worked with a number of forward-thinking organizations in the food world, including Blue Hill Restaurant, Greyston Bakery, and the North East Organic Farming Association of Vermont. Camryn was raised on the seasonal ingredients of her hometown’s CSA share and has been obsessed with food systems ever since. Camryn’s spirit vegetable is spaghetti squash.


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