In the land of more than plenty, throwing what we no longer want into the trash, including good food, is a mindless task. The trash receptacle makes all of it disappear so that we do not have to look at it or think about where it goes. Dumpsters everywhere are filled with good food that could go to “feed people, not landfills.” Through garbage services and landfills, our culture has created the infrastructure to hide our “waste” from ourselves, but what if it was right in our faces? Would it be easy to disconnect from the waste I create then? Or would I be more connected because fresh, delicious morsels would be littering the street, literally?! Either way, I am on a mission to reduce my food waste through composting, gardening, advocacy, rescuing food as a volunteer, and learning about the contradictions of our food system from food justice experts like Hana Dansky of Boulder Food Rescue.
In Boulder Colorado, what originally started as a group of friends bringing dishes made of rescued food to dinner parties, overtime transformed into an environmental ethics project on consumption, the beginning of a Food Not Bombs (click!) chapter in Boulder, and eventually the groundbreaking nonprofit Boulder Food Rescue (BFR). In order to meet their mission of creating a more just and less wasteful food system, BFR facilitates the redistribution of “just-in-time” food (food that is good to eat, but is perishable, and will soon be thrown out by grocers, farmers, stores, etc.) from landfills to organizations that feed people experiencing hunger, homelessness, and other social problems. BFR is filling gaps left behind by larger hunger relief organizations such as Feeding America and Food Banks. In addition to directly rescuing fresh, nutritious food from grocers, BFR is transporting this food to individuals, groups, and organizations mostly via human powered means. Over 80% of deliveries are made on bikes with trailers! With over 40 donor organizations, and more than 11 food pick-ups every day, BFR rescues 1300 pounds of food per day in Boulder alone – this equals 450,000 pounds of food rescued to date! This is only in one city! Imagine if this was a statewide or nationwide system!! Oh my.
Boulder Food Rescue educates the community about food waste and food justice, as well as spreads awareness, advocacy, and support for other communities in developing food rescue systems. The Food Rescue Alliance acts as a parent-organization so that BFR can facilitate sustainable food rescue and redistribution in other cities. The incredible guidebook and ROBOT Food Rescue database are templates that any group, organization, and city can use to start their own bike-powered food rescue programs. In fact, The Growing Project has used this model to build the wonderful Food Finders program so that passionate people in Fort Collins can sustainably rescue and redistribute food! To learn more about Boulder Food Rescue or to get involved with the organization click here!
Feeding the 5K