Since being founded in 2013, Food to Power — a local organization addressing issues of food insecurity and lack of accessible nutrition — has grown into a multifaceted operation with increasing opportunities and offerings.
“When we started, we were called Colorado Springs Food Rescue,” says Food to Power’s director of communications, Jessi Bustamante. “At the time, our work was focused around the just-in-time food rescue model — and food recovery is still a large and really important part of our mission.”
However, Food to Power’s work has expanded through different types of food access programs, with an increased focus on education, teaching people to both grow and cook food — along with advocacy elements and research into systematic inequities across Colorado Springs.
“As our work grew, the name Colorado Springs Food Rescue no longer represented everything we are working on and endeavoring towards,” explains Bustamante. “It was time to change it to better reflect the breadth of what we do, and we arrived at: Food to Power.”
Along with a new name, Food to Power has also recently opened the city’s first-ever neighborhood food center called Hillside Hub, located on over three acres of land in southeast Colorado Springs. The innovative food facility includes fresh food, grocery distribution, education workshops and extensive urban farming of tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, collards, carrots, squash and more. Additionally, Food to Power offers monthly tours of its facilities and grounds.
“A good chunk of work goes towards creating compost from food scraps to enrich the soil and create a closed loop: we grow food from the ground and then when the food scraps are ready, it goes back to the ground rather than a landfill,” says Bustamante.
Much of what Food to Power does is powered by local, generous volunteers.
“As I continue to get to know our community and its residents better, it’s interesting to see what different groups bond over,” says Bustamante. “I’ve done a lot of grassroots-level work, and I definitely see a lot of bonding around causes. There’s a lot of positive activism here, and I am proud to say that.”
Facebook and Instagram: @foodtopower