According to the Washington Times, landfills are the final destination for approximately one quarter of the food grown in the United States for human consumption. If that doesn’t startle cooking school students, then the bottom line may. The same source has also indicated that $161.6 billion is lost through the 430 billion pounds of food thrown out in the U.S. each year. While alarming, this news may be causing a bit of good in Boulder, where the efforts of a few volunteers to start a food rescue program for the less fortunate is beginning to take impressive shape.
Boulder Food Rescue was founded by Hana Dansky and a small contingent of her classmates in August 2011. The group had been researching food waste in Colorado for a college course when they came to realize the incredible value of imperfect produce. They began organizing volunteers to pick up slightly imperfect (asymmetrical, spotty, overripe) produce from grocery stores that would otherwise be thrown away. The group designed a network of soup kitchens, shelters and food pantries and began delivering vegetables to them via a network of bikes with affixed trailers.
The people of Boulder have come out in droves to back the idea, with Boulder Food Rescue now boasting 28 donation sites and a broad network of volunteers. In fact, the organization, according to the Washington Times, has developed an estimated budget of $75,000 for 2014. In speaking with the Times, executive director Turner Wyatt indicated that the source of the program’s success is its relatively short distribution model, which allows for expedient delivery.
“Since we do direct rescue and redistribution, we can take food that needs to be eaten within the next 24 to 48 hours and get it right away to people who need it the most,” said Wyatt. “That’s one in six Americans.”