Too much zucchini? There's an app for that!

If your garden isn't already pumping out produce, it will quite soon, and you may end up with more veggies than you can handle! Colorado produce is some of the best there is, and if you find yourself with a glut of vegetables that go beyond your needs, your extended family's needs, and even your neighbors' needs, consider donating the extra to a good cause. 

In the Denver area alone, the amount of people who are going through food insecurity, particularly in light of the effects of coronavirus, has risen to almost 25 percent of the population. Local food banks are seeing very increased demand for food assistance. 

And with so much time on our hands, many people have taken their gardens to the next level, producing more than ever before. The challenge has always been to connect growers and those who could use the harvest.

Enter Fresh Food Connect. 

Fresh Food Connect (FCC), a collaboration between Denver Food Rescue, Denver Urban Gardens, and Groundwork Denver, is an innovative program that connects local growers (including backyard gardeners) with hunger-relief organizations in the area. The idea is to keep good, edible, and healthy food from going to waste when there are so many that could use it right now. 

"An increasing amount of food is grown in backyards, patios, and community gardens in urban environments across the world, yet there is virtually no market for this food aside from abandoning an overgrown gourd on your neighbor’s front step. Fresh Food Connect seeks to give this food the market it deserves, in turn making our food systems more local and less wasteful," says the FCC website. "Fresh Food Connect licenses its technology to urban agriculture and food rescue organizations who use the mobile-app to coordinate the aggregation of home grown produce to be donated, sold, or used to otherwise create positive change in the local operator's food system."

FCC cart
Courtesy of FCC (Facebook)

FCC works with a variety of food banks across the state, including Metro Caring, Kaizen Food Rescue, Mountain Roots Food Project, and so many more. It will also be expanding into Iowa and Wisconsin within the next year. 

While it started as website-based, FCC launched a brand-new app in spring of this year, which has made the process so much easier and encouraged the program to spread. In fact, in addition to providing produce to food banks across Colorado, it will be expanding into Ohio and Wisconsin in the next year or so. 

Share your Backyard Bounty

"In a nutshell, gardeners download the FFC mobile App to indicate that they have extra vegetables to donate. The FFC App will map out a route for youth employees to collect the vegetables using bikes and trailers. The produce will then be donated to neighbors who may not have funds or access to fresh produce," says the FCC Facebook page.

You can download the app for iPhone or Android and get started this season! There are so many people out there that are struggling with food insecurity, and you have no idea how much of a different your extra zucchini (and you will have a ton of it) can make, not to mention anything else you were able to grow. 

For more information on FCC, please visit its website.