How BFR implements these principles:
Our No-Cost Grocery Programs necessitate participation. Grocery Program Coordinators (GPCs) are responsible for receiving, organizing, distributing and cleaning the food that BFR delivers. They are active organizers in their communities, connecting their neighbors to the food source, notifying them of changes, and distributing surveys for feedback. Each grocery program is different because it is run by the community that it exists in, making it community-driven and meeting the needs of that particular community.
The food we deliver is healthy food such as uncut fruits and vegetables, delivered by volunteers by bicycle daily. This food is most desired by the communities we serve. In fact, 89% of our participants say they prefer to receive either “fruits,” “vegetables,” or “fruits and vegetables.” Most volunteers sign up to be bike couriers and sign up to distribute food from the same donor to the same recipient weekly. Some volunteers support BFR in other capacities, which include: writing our newsletter, contributing to the blog, fundraising, joining the board, volunteering at an event, or any other thing that may be of interest to them that we need support on. Lastly, GPCs are volunteers for BFR, because food would not be redistributed without them.
We partner with 39 different recipient sites across town, which include our 28 no-cost grocery programs. The remaining sites include food pantries and meal programs in which the produce is incorporated into their current food distribution programs. This enables us to support increasing healthy options available through these nonprofits, and also build partnerships to better collaborate in addressing food access in Boulder. These nonprofit partners have also served as advisors and collaborators in our community-based research.
By allowing individuals who are food insecure to actively participate in their own systems of food redistribution, we are building trust in our relationships with these communities. This trust-building process and participatory model is the first step to addressing the larger root causes of food insecurity to drive systems change. It gives people a place to give back to their communities, which decreases barriers to accessing food. However, we have a lot of room to grow into the “systems change” principle. Given more resources, we would like to expand our advocacy efforts to include more organizing amongst these communities, advocating for the needs addressed by these communities.