Forty percent of the food in the U.S. goes to waste. Let’s sit with that for a minute. Almost half of what we produce is going to the landfill. Meanwhile, over 50 million Americans live in food-insecure households. Ouch.
There are changes we can make in our own lives to adjust those numbers. By looking with a critical eye at what gets thrown away and reducing our own food waste we can raise awareness about the issue. We can also contribute to, volunteer with, support, and start organizations that save food from landfills and get it into the hands, and stomachs, of those going without.
Boulder Food Rescue is one such project. Powered 90% by bicycle--that figure only drops to 80% during Colorado’s freezing winters--BFR picks up food that would otherwise end up in dumpsters and distributes it to over 40 organizations including soup kitchens, low-income schools, elderly homes, low-income family units and homeless shelters. In the last year and a half, the organization has rescued over 250,000 pounds of food.
Boasting a team of over 120 volunteers, BFR has its system down to a science and those involved with the project would like to see their food rescue model adopted by other cities. They’ve created what they call The Package Deal; a step by step guide to starting a food rescue program complete with tips, resources and materials. Issues addressed include coordinating with stores, building a team of volunteers, finding recipients, utilizing the media, finding bikes and equipment, and creating a plan for long-term success.
An inspiring example of what’s possible with some planning and a lot of human-power, BFR is transforming its community and demonstrating the potential of resource sharing, starting with the food we eat.