Sustainable, Just-In-Time Food Rescue

photo courtesy Ethan Welty,

Five friends who made a difference

Never underestimate the difference a small group of committed people can make.

Case in point: Boulder Food Rescue began when five friends from CU-Boulder put their heads together to change the startling fact that 40 percent of Boulder County food is wasted while roughly 17 percent of our residents lack food to eat.

These five committed individuals and founders of Boulder Food Rescue are Caleb Phillips, Becky Higbee, Nora Lecesse, Helen Katich and Hana Dansky.

Their effort had the most innocuous beginning. In one of her college classes, Hana Dansky learned about food waste in the U.S.

“I remember talking to Caleb about what I was learning and he got really into it,” says Dansky.

Caleb, Becky Higbee and Rhonda Hoeningman, Boulder Food Rescue’s current board president,  decided to do extra research to better understand food waste and food insecurity in Boulder County. “They found that there’s enough food going to waste to feed every food insecure person in this county,” says Dansky, Boulder Food Rescue’s executive director.

But because much of the food going to waste was perishable fresh produce, the food redistribution systems at the time could not utilize it. By the time the food was picked up and taken to a warehouse, sorted, and then redistributed to shelters and homes, it would have become inedible.

Creative solution  

“We needed a creative solution to redistribute it,” recalled Dansky. “The starting of Boulder Food Rescue was very organic and grassroots.”

They also discovered that food insecurity is hidden in the cracks of marginalized communities. Since many of the affected may not access food banks, Boulder Food Rescue began donating fruits and vegetables to unique places that do not traditionally handle food, such as low-income housing sites, elderly homes, preschools and daycare centers.

Now in its fourth year, the organization has grown from five friends to hundreds of volunteers all around the community, picking up food 15 times a day, every day of the week, by bicycle.

Food Rescue Alliance

And they are helping other food rescues in other cities get started as well. The organization’s Food Rescue Alliance has facilitated organizers in a long and growing list of cities around the Rocky Mountain region, the U.S. and the world. These cities include Denver, Colorado Springs, Jackson Hole, Seattle, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta and Managua, Nicaragua.

“We learn from each other,” says Dansky. “Each organization has a focus on healthy food, direct redistribution and participatory work, yet, we all look a little different.”

Here’s how you can get involved:

So Go

  • Feast & Fermentation
  • Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015
  • 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Boulder History Museum
  • 2205 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado
  • Tickets $45; $35 for groups of 10

Ticket donations for Boulder Food Rescue clientele are welcome.

Get tickets here: 

Facebook Event Page:

BoulderSource is honored to highlight the good work of Boulder Food Rescue this month, as we celebrate all-things-food in and around Boulder.

Feast of Fermentation