The Team

Our Team: feminine, passionate, home chefs, urban gardeners, farmers, story tellers, 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. Wen-Jay has a sidekick corgi. Who doesn't love a corgi?


Emily Pilkington
Sales and Market Experience Manager

Having worked in the food and hospitality industry for nearly 14 years, Emily P joined Local Roots in 2017 as our Sales & Market Experience Manager. After moving to NYC in 2011, Emily ended up on an extensive food journey which took her through various roles in restaurants, one apprenticeship at a butcher shop, on to farming in Europe for half a year, and then completing a covetable apprenticeship at Blue Hill at Stone Barns which aims to expand the concepts of sustainability in hospitality. She has a fierce desire to educate on the importance of sustainability and the actions we can take to better our food system. One day she hopes to have a farm and run a small, sustainable B&B sourcing everything from the farm.

“I’m very conscious of the fact that you can’t do it alone. It’s teamwork. When you do it alone you run the risk that when you are no longer there nobody else will do it.”
― Wangari Maathai, The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the Approach and the Experience 


Emily Scioscia
Creative Director & Brand Manager

Emily joined Local Roots in 2018 to lend her aesthetic vision and organizational expertise to the company. Having previously worked at a design and consulting firm, she arrived ready to develop new processes and rituals for the team. She loves to think about how whole systems function, especially when they pertain to sustainable food practices. In college, she studied Urban Design with an emphasis on food deserts and increasing access to public spaces and resources. In her spare time, Emily tends her urban garden in Brooklyn. Emily believes that food is one of the simplest and most joyous aspects of life, and she joined Local Roots because she wants to share that enthusiasm with her fellow New Yorkers.


Jon Katz
Sourcing & Operations Manager

Jon joined the Local Roots team in 2018 after many years of working in the sustainable agriculture movement outside his native New York City. Jon is passionate about growing, distributing, and eating local food.



Kevin Levine
Operations Lead

Kevin joined the Local Roots team in 2018 after working in the film industry in and around NYC. Growing up, he learned cooking, baking, and sustainable organic gardening from his mother, and decided to pursue a career in a field he was passionate about. Kevin enjoys experimenting in his kitchen and homebrewing, as well as tending to his small backyard peppermint plant.