Reshaping Emergency Food Assistance with Turner Wyatt | Denver Food Rescue

“We’re a health equity organization before we’re a food security organization so we’re not going to deliver someone a totally unhealthy meal just for the sake of filling their stomach.” – Turner Wyatt

Increasing healthful food access is an effort that has grown in prominence over the last few years. It’s a complicated issue. So many factors influence healthful food access – the built environment, food costs, shelf-life, government regulation, nutrition, even social norms and stigmas.

Denver Food Rescue is a young organization meeting the challenge of expanding healthful food access with a unique operating model featuring bicycles, fresh local produce and a “no-cost grocery” concept. In 2015, they delivered enough food for 175,000 healthy meals with a focus on health, not just calories. “Denver Food Rescue is a health equity nonprofit that uses an innovative bicycle-based delivery system to increase the nutritional value in the emergency food assistance system.” And while reducing food waste is not their primary goal, Denver Food Rescue makes a big difference on that front, as well, rescuing 210,000 pounds of food last year. Plus they’re making big strides by employing technology to expand their reach and getting the attention of some big-time donors.

*Correction: In my introduction, I incorrectly stated that Denver Food Rescue rescued 175 meals last year, not 175,000. Apologies!

  • Why their original operating model from Boulder had to adjust to Denver
  • How low-middle income people fall into a healthful food access gap
  • Why being resident-led in their neighborhoods sets them apart
  • Why linking food waste reduction with hunger relief can be problematic for low-income communities
  • How this model, by its very nature (i.e. bicycles), encourages food localization
  • Why they see themselves as a “health equity” organization over a “food security” organization
  • How you can “Plant An Extra Row” to help those in need to access fresh, local food

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