Giving Compass' Take:

The Colorado Springs Food Rescue (CSFR) engages its community in building a holistic food redistribution model that utilizes a food donation pickup program. 

• How can your giving engage your community? How can donors help strengthen food donation initiatives that are central to community development? 

• Read how urban agriculture can improve food security in US cities.

Access to safe, affordable, and nutritious food continues to pose a challenge for many communities across Colorado Springs, CO. According to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a relatively high number of residents live more than one mile from a supermarket in low-income and low-access census tracts. The Colorado Springs Food Rescue (CSFR) aims to tackle local food insecurity and neighborhood health inequity through a holistic food redistribution model.

The CSFR began in 2013 as a group of volunteers who used bicycles to gather food from donor businesses, redistributing it directly to local nonprofits. Now, CSFR offers an extensive program which operates across three main areas; food access, food production, and food education.

The integrated program works across the local food system with initiatives such as No-Cost Groceries, a program which partners with food insecure neighborhoods to redistribute fresh surplus food. As 1 in 9 people struggle with hunger in Colorado, CSFR also places an emphasis on programs which target food production. Fresh Food Connect is a backyard garden and produce donation program with 59 gardeners, while Soil Cycle is a residential compost pick up service which currently has over 150 members.

The Food Systems Leadership for Youth program helps students learn to manage a no-cost grocery program for over 2,000 underserved people. The CSFR has also partnered with academic and municipal institutions to conduct research and assess how to remove barriers to fresh food across Colorado.

CSFR is part of a collective of food rescue groups called the Food Rescue Alliance. The Food Rescue Alliance sees residents as leaders in the development process rather than targets of an intervention.

Read the full article about Colorado Springs Food Rescue supporting community-driven change by Pauline Munch at Food Tank.