Rescue fresh, healthy foods
DFR currently partners with over 50 retailers such as grocery stores, wholesale distributors, and farmers markets to provide regular food rescue services focused on fresh edible produce and highly perishable items that would otherwise end up in landfills. Even backyard gardeners can donate their excess produce through Fresh Food Connect. These donations go to support our weekly No Cost Grocery Programs around the city.
Volunteers are at the heart of our work picking up beautiful, edible whole fruits & veggies that would otherwise be discarded from food vendors across the city and delivering it to neighborhoods that have less access to fresh, healthful foods. Our hyper-direct re-distribution model allows us to rescue more produce, and we utilize bike-power to keep our financial and environmental costs down. Plus bikes are more fun! Last year our volunteers saved over 8 tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere while riding for DFR!
Distribute the healthy foods to Denver neighborhoods
Direct distribution (from food donor to food recipient) ensures that high-quality, perishable foods make it to our community partners quickly. This model not only gets the freshest & most healthful of foods to neighborhoods that experience barriers to fresh produce, but also reduces food waste saving more good food from the landfill.
Denver neighborhoods distribute this food to their residents through No Cost Grocery Programs (NCGPs), which are resident-led programs where community members can “shop” for the fresh, healthy food at no charge, with no paperwork and no questions asked. NCGPs are co-created with existing community organizations like schools, recreation centers, and nonprofits that are already established and trusted within the neighborhood, decreasing transportation barriers. Residents of the NCGP community lead the distribution of rescued food, and many also help with food rescue shifts. This participation decreases stigma of traditional food pantries, empowering each neighborhood to create a program that is appropriate for their culture & community.
Since our mission is to improve health equity WITH Denver neighborhoods, it is important that we not only support communities in creating and running No Cost Grocery Programs, but that they also have a voice in how Denver Food Rescue runs. To this end, Denver Food Rescue has a resident-led community board, with a representative from each neighborhood we serve on our Board of Directors. These community members guide the organization and make major decisions regarding our operations, finances, and strategic direction.
Advocate for better food systems
At Denver Food Rescue, we believe that direct service is important as it meets the immediate needs of our community. However, one of the necessary components of long term social and environmental justice change is policy. We’re committed to achieving health equity in Denver and so we support policies that are evidence-based for improving health equity outcomes.
Most recently, we supported the Ordinance 302: Healthy Food for Denver Kids initiative, which was passed! This new law now provides additional funding to healthy food access and education programs for children in Denver.