Greetings BFR community, our team here at Boulder Food Rescue has been closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation of COVID-19 as it affects communities across the U.S. We’d like to provide you with some updates of actions we’re taking and how you can help us mobilize.
April 2, 2020
We have been doing community-led resiliency work for a long time – the current crisis only exemplifies why this work is so important. As things progress, we expect our work of going into communities to distribute food will be more and more necessary. The infrastructure we have in place already allows us to bring food to people who are immobile and/or cannot afford to stock up on food while in weeks or months of quarantine.
Throughout this pandemic crisis, we have witnessed our diverse and unique community band together in mutual aid. Our team has adapted to the crisis by changing logistics to include higher sanitization and hygiene precautions, as well as no-contact food drops between courier volunteers and grocery program coordinators.
Community leaders create their own food access programs and distribute the food amongst themselves. These people already know who needs the food most, who is most vulnerable, and how to get food to them. Furthermore, these community leaders are ready to change the programming to be as safe as possible. When asked to take on extra responsibilities to bag food ahead of time, in order to have quick and safe distribution, they were ready.
We’ve been in coordination with public health officials and have been encouraged to continue delivering food to our No Cost Grocery Programs. When folks will not be able to go out to access other services, they will be able to access this healthy food in their communities. We care deeply about our community and will continue to serve the most vulnerable populations in the safest way possible.
While our team is monitoring and preparing, we continue to work towards ensuring that all community members feel honored, welcomed, and protected. We have encouraged all community members and BFR volunteers and staff, both in and outside of BFR activities, to practice important health and safety precautions, which is always important to keep us all well. Each individual and each community is able to assess their own risk and notify us of their needs. We have always ensured safe food practices and will continue to do so as we prioritize this crucial work.
Update: Monday, March 16, 2020
Hi BFR Community,
First and foremost, we hope everybody is doing what they need to in order to stay healthy and take care of yourselves and your families. We also want to thank everyone who has reached out and offered support. Now is the time more than ever that we need to continue to rely on each other and offer mutual aid.
BFR has been doing community-led resiliency work for a long time – the current crisis only exemplifies why community-led healthy food access is so important. As things progress, we expect our work of going into communities to distribute food will be more and more necessary. The infrastructure we have in place already allows us to bring food to people who are immobile and vulnerable. In order to continue getting healthy food to people who need it most, we need your help. Here are the ways you can support BFR currently:
- Donate Financially: These funds will go directly to supporting new logistics and the work on the front line over the next few months. In order to be effective and strategic (especially as things continue to escalate), we need to raise $45,000. Funds will go to:
- Supplies needed to ensure the safety and hygiene of the communities we serve within our No Cost Grocery Programs
- Logistics coordination and materials needed for rerouting food
- Supporting Grocery Program Coordinators to create new community-driven models that distribute food to individuals homes
- Rapid Response team who covers emergency shifts
- Volunteer: If you are able-bodied and less vulnerable, please help support on an ongoing or one-time basis. We need help with BFR shifts and will do the training online. We also need help delivering sanitization supplies which can be one-time. To volunteer, please email [email protected]
- Donate supplies: These are obviously in short stock, but if you have more than you need, you can donate any of these supplies by dropping them off at a drop box directly at our office, located at 5749 Arapaho Ave, Boulder, CO 80303.
- Hand Sanitizer
- Plastic bags / reusable grocery bags
- Toilet paper
- Share this information: This is for everyone whether you can give or not! Helping to spread the word will help us raise what we need. Can you please share this email and our posts on Facebook and Instagram?
If you want to donate canned goods, please drop them directly with our partner who is creating emergency food boxes:
- EFAA: 1575 Yarmouth Ave. Boulder, CO 80304
The community work at Boulder Food Rescue has and always will focus on health equity and mutual aid. Now more than ever we are committed to making sure that those with fewer resources are not more at risk. This food justice movement is about inclusiveness and remembering that our community goes beyond the people we directly know. Community includes our elders, our sick and immobile, our wage-workers, our undocumented people, our LGBTQ population, and everyone more vulnerable to the immediate impact of this pandemic. If some folks have access to food, we should all have access to food. Boulder Food Rescue will ensure that happens.
Some folks have already been laid off. As this pandemic progresses, more and more people will be out their jobs and experiencing economic insecurity. We know that food insecurity is a direct result of economic insecurity. The more that we can band together in mutual aid now, the better equipped we will be as we get through this.
On behalf of the Boulder Food Rescue Staff, Volunteers, Participants and general community,
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.
Written by: Ben Robinson
Over the past few years, the term “food sustainability” has become something of a buzzword. The phrase dominates environmental activist circles and is frequently thrown around at farmers’ markets, often without much ensuing explanation. But if we’re serious about making a better future for our food, people, and the environment, we need to unpack what food sustainability means and explain how it relates to our efforts to build a more just and sustainable world.
Food sustainability is about watching what we shop for and eat – but there’s more to it. Cultivation, packaging, and delivery are also critical factors in maintaining a viable system of food production and consumption.
Sustainable farming practices, for example, aim to avoid damaging natural resources and also seek to minimize carbon production throughout the process. Further down the supply chain, grocery stores have the opportunity to facilitate sustainable consumption practices and reduce waste. Some have begun to sell near-expiration produce at discount prices, and larger chains like Trader Joe’s are cutting down on plastic packaging. It’s also important to think about where food comes from before you buy, and independent retailers with plenty of locally sourced fresh fruit and vegetables do some of the thinking for you.
There are also many organizations working hard to increase access to healthy food, broaden sustainable cultivation and consumption practices, and persuade politicians to make important changes. The Fair Food Fund Network invests in entrepreneurs seeking to improve community health through sustainable food production. Organizations like Food Policy Action focus on the explicitly political dimensions of the issue by influencing legislation and educating the public on how Congress votes on matters ranging from feeding the hungry to supporting family farms.
The quest to improve food sustainability comes down to a simple equation without an easy solution. We must strike a balance between economically and environmentally viable production on one hand, while allowing for and incentivizing workable consumption practices on the other.
In the coming posts, I’ll write more about the organizations, lawmakers, and activists working to make Colorado’s food future work for people and the environment. We’ll also learn how the Boulder Food Rescue’s initiatives fit into the larger goal of furthering food sustainability and how you can play your part in making Colorado a better place to eat and live.