UpRoot Colorado Uses Excess Farm Crops to Combat Food Insecurity
Food insecurity is an unfortunate but very real crisis for many across the country. In the Colorado area alone, one in three Coloradans are food insecure according to 2021 data. To combat not only food insecurity, but nutrition insecurity, non-for-profit organization UpRoot Colorado was created to divert surplus crops in a process called “gleaning” and redistribute the quality food to local food banks and pantries.
Many crops grow edible, delicious and nutrient dense food that isn’t harvestable or sellable for many reasons such as high cosmetic standards for produce, insect or weather damage, agricultural labor shortages, or even low-market prices vs. high-harvest costs that make harvesting financially unsustainable for farmers to harvest everything they produce. UpRoot contains 1,200 volunteers to help harvest these surplus crops at “gleaning” events across Colorado. Since 2017, the organization has diverted and redistributed 104,569 pounds of locally grown food to local hunger-relief agencies, the equivalent of 894,439 servings of delicious nutrient dense food to those in need!
UpRoot believes access to healthy food is a basic human right and currently works in 10 Colorado counties, partners with 40 local farms and 21 food agencies. In the long term, their mission is to boost nutrition and food security, minimize crop surplus and bolster the economic durability of the local farming community.