This segment was recently featured on Channel 8 News. The clip interviews a member of our rapid response team, Josh McNulty, while on a food rescue shift. It features the behind the scenes sorting process at the grocery store and biking the produce around town, as well as a brief interview with our Executive Director, Hayden Dansky.
Boulder Food Rescue just released a Participation Framework!
After several years of conducting participatory research on participation in food systems, we wrote this framework to help nonprofits look at their own internal systems and change structures to allow for the people they work with to have a voice at many levels of the organization.
It goes beyond the basics (which are still often lacking – does your meeting have childcare? food? transportation? what language is it in? what time and day is it?) to really seeing how internal structures (and often a time capacity) leave out integral voices needed to make an organization thrive. We believe food access is contingent on breaking down traditional systems of charity work and lines between who is serving and who is being served.
Although focused on food access, this guide is written to support all nonprofits and other human service organizations to analyze their own systems and to better understand how they can become more participatory. We believe that as we all start including the voices of people most affected by our work in the work, access to services will increase, and ultimately, people will feel more affirmed and respected, and will be better supported and resourced towards enacting community change.
It is in English and Spanish and available to download here. Feel free to share with your networks!
We will also be creating a toolkit, hosting a series of workshops, and publishing a report on food access in the upcoming months, so stay tuned!
Vanessa Dayton is a homeowner in Rural North Boulder, and she has been one of the first donors to give her excess urban garden harvest to BFR’s newest program, Fresh Food Connect. She has many garden beds with organic vegetables, fruit trees and herb bushes all across her property. In the back of this beautiful sanctuary, there’s a pond with breeding ducks that regularly lay dozens of eggs. These eggs can catch a pretty penny for friends and farmer’s markets alike, and she still makes weekly donations to this program over the summer. Last year Dayton replaced all of her grass with clover fields as food for the new beehive that she tends to in her backyard.
According to a 2014 study published by the US Department of Agriculture, 150,000 pounds of food is thrown out of US households every day. At the same time, hunger is still a major problem in the United States. In Boulder, one out of every eight people and one out of every five families face food insecurity. Hayden Dansky, Executive Director of the non-profit Boulder Food Rescue, tells KGNU’s Sarah Dalgleish that the organization aims to tackle both problems at the same time.
“Our mission is to create a more just and less wasteful food system. We collect food that would otherwise be wasted from grocery stores and take it directly to low-income communities across Boulder. The food we focus on is healthy produce that is soon to expire.”
The food is transported from donors to recipients using bikes with large trailers designed for the purpose of holding heavy boxes of produce.
“Often food is getting thrown away blocks from where people need it, so it makes sense to bike it,” Danksy says. “The cool, unintended benefit of having a bike-based organization is now we have a community of volunteers who love biking. It actually increases civic engagement and people’s ability to plug into the organization—I think we have a lot of people who are involved in Boulder Food Rescue who wouldn’t have driven.”
Dansky explains that while food waste and food insecurity are complex issues, there are things each person can do to help contribute to solutions.
“You can do anything from planning your weekly meals to moving food in the back of the fridge to the front. These little things that each individual can do will actually make a really big difference in terms of minimizing food waste in this country.”
To learn more about BFR, you can visit their website www.boulderfoodrescue.org.
Our new friend, Ryan Van Duzer, captures a virtual food rescue shift headed from Sprouts to a No-Cost Grocery program, by bicycle! Learn more about our programs and all those involved on a shift.
A little more about our impact:
In 2018, we redistributed 564,973 pounds of food, which equates to approximately $2,073,451 worth of groceries. This amount would feed 216 families for an entire year or 2,591 families for a month. Our cohort of 150 volunteers re-distributed an average of 1500 pounds of produce 12 times a day from 20 local grocery stores and restaurants and hauled it to 38 recipient agencies, mostly by bicycle.
These recipient sites include shelters, schools and food pantries, as well as 26 No-Cost Grocery Programs at low-income housing sites. This program encourages resident-leaders to distribute food in their own communities and creates participatory systems that bypass barriers in accessing food.