Editor’s note: The following guest blog is contributed by Blair Young of the Cultivation Center (bio at bottom of page).
Earlier this year we had the privilege of working with Hana Dansky, the founder and executive director of Boulder Food Rescue and Kyle Huelsman, a co-founder and executive director of the recently formed Food Rescue Alliance as they navigate fundraising, event planning and board development during a major restructuring of their organizations. Among the many pleasures of collaborating with Hana and Kyle two things struck me. One is how two very different people can partner so amicably to forward their mission. The other, how they shared an acute sense that their commitment to their grassroots values could be compromised at any turn as they grow. In my work with nonprofits I have interacted with many that I describe as “old guard” or transitioning (i.e. operating in a traditional manner but ready for disruption). These local food rescue organizations are anything but that: They are young in their short history, their leadership and their attitude. Most impressive of all, in spite of their carefully protected integrity, both Hana and Kyle are open to being challenged– which made them really fun to work with. I look forward to watching their organizations develop in concert and hope that hearing more about them piques your interest in their work too.
CC: Tell me about what motivated you to become an innovator in the food rescue movement, particularly combining bike transportation to move people and product.
Hana: I became passionate about the issue of food waste originally from an environmental perspective. The amount of energy that gets put into our food being grown, picked, transported and stored is immense, nearly half of which ends up being wasted. By rescuing this food we are not only reversing the energy consumption but no longer contributing to an unjust capitalist food system. So the first step we took was finding out how the current food redistribution system works, recognizing the gaps and problems with that system, and then coming up with a solution to address those problems.
By using cars to transport the food we would be using extra energy in gas consumption that we don’t need to use. Food gets thrown away literally blocks away from people who need it. Calorie for calorie, one gallon of gas is the equivalent to about 200 pounds of apples. Although ethical variables from both sides of this equation are left out (i.e. extra energy wasted and social injustices in the food system vs. a war on the middle east for oil) its an interesting way to look at food redistribution. A simpler way to look at it is, if we can bike it, we should.
To read the rest of this post on Cultivation Center’s blog, please click here.
About the Author: After spending 17 years building a career in the non-profit sector, Blair now serves as the Communications & Connections Director for Cultivation Center. She is also co-founder of a social impact company that develops online products to bring people with common causes and affinities together in meaningful ways during a digital age. Blair graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder with a degree in Women’s and Gender Studies.
Blair serves on the Board of Directors of the non-profit International Midwife Assistance. In her otherwise (fairly) organized world, Blair loves to make a mess in the kitchen while baking and cooking with her 3 year-old daughter.