Community Food Share was founded in 1981 as a local solution to a growing problem: hunger. At the same time that so many people in our community were struggling to feed their families, food waste was growing to unprecedented levels — creating one of the biggest hypocrisies in our food system. It’s a reality that still exists today.
To address both sides of the issue, food banks like ours have spent decades innovating beyond band-aid solutions to feed people in need while also effectively reducing waste and investing in sustainable food sourcing that keeps people (and the planet) happy and healthy.
Back in 1982, one year after Community Food Share’s founding, we created the first-ever gleaning program in the state of Colorado. Crews of volunteers headed out to local farms to harvest surplus crops that would otherwise never make it to the dinner table, rescuing thousands of pounds of fresh produce. By the mid-eighties, Community Food Share gleaned more than 40 tons of produce each year.
Around the same time, we broke ground at our first community garden at McKenzie Farm in Boulder. The plot was used to grow food for our Partner Agencies and distribution programs. It also served as a hub for teaching community members how to plant and harvest their own gardens — giving people experiencing hunger the tools and resources they needed to grow their own food.
Now, during our 40th year of service, we’re going back to our roots. In 2021, Community Food Share hired an offsite farm coordinator to manage three plots. We returned to McKenzie Farm and began cultivating plots at the Boulder Public Library and Community United Church of Christ. Our first summer harvest produced thousands of pounds of fresh veggies that were quickly distributed to people in need throughout Boulder and Broomfield Counties.