November 2, 2017

Welcome to the Press Room!

Welcome to the Borderlands online Press Room. Our team loves to work with news media across platforms to tell the stories of our produce rescue and community outreach programs in order to build awareness. Borderlands is dedicated to rescuing produce and distributing that produce through our programs. We receive no government funding.

Founded

Since 1994, Borderlands has rescued 599,000,000 pounds of produce and distributed more than 547,820,00 million pounds of fresh produce to families.

Our Vision

To keep as much produce out of the landfills as humanly possible, helping our environment and distributing this produce to those in need, helping our community.

People (and animals) have the right to eat nutritiously; it’s the most basic of needs. 

Our Mission

The mission of Borderlands Produce Rescue is to rescue produce and in turn improve the quality of peoples lives, by addressing their most basic of needs – accessibility to nutritious fresh produce and living in a healthy environment.

  • Rescuing Unwanted Produce Before it Ends Up in Our Landfills
  • Provide Affordable Fresh Produce to Anyone in Need – No Qualifying
  • Build Partnerships that Create Produce Rescue Awareness
  • Lead to Achieve Our Vision of Rescuing Produce for Generations

Borderlands is able to accomplish its vision by working in conjunction with our many generous donor partners, social clubs, churches, civic organizations, food banks and national hunger relief organizations to make sure communities have access to our rescued produce.

How We Do It!

“We Rescue Produce!” All of which is either excess produce from distributors (donor partners), “ugly” produce that grocery stores won’t put on their shelves. The produce would have otherwise ended up in a landfill, where distributors would have to pay to get rid of it. We have rescued more than 39 different varieties of vegetables and fruit– from over 120 donor partnerships. Less than 1% of the donations are non-produce items such as milk, canned soup, cereal and other non-perishable items. Often times, at least 10% to 15% of the produce Borderlands is able to rescue is unusable, and is in turn sent to either local farmers as animal feed or trucked to the San Xavier Reservation for the University of Arizona compost Cat Program. Borderlands rescues roughly 30 – 45 million pounds of produce each year.

Located about 1.5 miles away from the Mexico border, Borderlands has two 13,000-square-foot warehouses which serves to receive and distribute the produce through programs including:

“Veggies R’ Us” – Our warehouse market is open to the public Tuesday through Friday. Anyone can get a shopping cart full of produce for a $5 donation. On Mondays, the warehouse is open for nonprofit organizations to come and take up to 10 boxes of produce for free.

“Produce on Wheels Without Waste” or P.O.W.W.O.W. as it is affectionately called. – Produce is distributed at each our weekly pop-up produce markets around Arizona by volunteers. These sites are hosted by community organizations, churches, civic organizations, schools and universities, just to name a few. For $12 participants receive 70lbs of fresh produce. We typically provide a produce list with the quantities of each item participants can shop for, this ensures that everyone receives the same mix of produce.

Our P.O.W.W.O.W. After Hours program works with area non-profit organizations who, once registered with Borderlands, are able to pick-up up to 10 boxes of each variety of remaining produce from the pop up markets and is only open at the completion of each of our weekly market sites and only after our participants have had a chance to shop.

“Produce Travels” – 23 other U.S. States receive produce from Borderlands.

“Veterans Exact Thanks (VETs)” – We launched this project as a way to directly support veterans in our communities who are unable to make ends meet, and are in need of food assistance. Each month throughout the season we’ll be displaying our VETs Boot and the P.O.W.W.O.W. markets with the goal of having supporters fill it to the brim with non-perishable goods. All of the items donated will be provided directly to veterans serving programs in Arizona.

“Animals Love Veggies” – When Veggies perish we feed animals nutritiously. We partner with local ranchers and compost programs “Produce Recycling” – to donate produce not of quality for human consumption.

In 2017,  3,032,118 pounds of produce that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill went to these two programs.

We are proud to say: less than 1% of the produce we rescue is eventually disposed of in the local landfill.
Our goal, every season, is to have a zero waste year.

“Arizona Department of Corrections Job Site & Arizona After” – Since 1996, Borderlands has partnered with Arizona Department of Corrections to employ 11-12 inmates that work at the warehouse. The inmates help out with everything from unloading trucks and sorting produce to packing the trucks that go out to weekly pop-up markets (P.O.W.W.O.W.) and packing shopping carts for the Veggies “R” Us program. Borderlands offers inmates a wide array of certificates and the opportunity to learn several different positions in our warehouse, from working the floor to learning about the distribution process.

Inmates placed at Borderlands have the opportunity to take part in every aspect of our work, everything from the day-to-day operations at our warehouse, all the way to the distribution process. In addition to hands-on training, Borderlands also creates opportunities for inmates to share their own skills and creativity. The hallways and walls of the offices in the warehouse are installed with artwork – all of it by inmates.

 

Non-Profit Status

501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit donations to Borderlands are tax-deductible and is an approved Arizona Charitable Tax Credit organization (Diabetes Prevention and Aid Fun dba Borderlands Food Bank).

Non-Discriminatory

Borderlands Produce Rescue is committed to implementing inclusive practices in the workplace and throughout our programs. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, age, ethnic background, sex, disability, size, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Press & Media Inquires

“Schedule with Yolanda

To schedule speaking engagements, interviews or fact checking, please call: 520-980-2367

If you are a member of the media and on deadline, please contact:

Paul Kwan, Director of Programs 
paul.kwan@borderlandsproducerescue.org or call 623-261-9041

Borderlands

Yolanda Soto
Yolanda Soto
President and CEO

Yolanda’s Story

I was a single MOM with 5 children to support had just lost a job #metoo and needed to work!

Sight unseen, not knowing what a food bank was, I interviewed for the position as Executive Director and was hired immediately. Social Justice has always been my forte.

Borderlands was a traditional food bank, giving out government commodity product, something I worked on immediately to change.  Families needing help should not have to show proof of need and so we jumped over that hoop.  Secondly the most basic of human rights is food, but we decided it was nutritious food and living in the center of the produce industry the decision was made to rescue fresh produce that was unsaleable get it to families and help stop food waste. At that point Borderlands was BORN!

What Else You should Know

Rescuing 30 – 40 million pounds of produce and then coordinating the distribution of that producetakes monumental effort from the handful of employees who staff Borderlands.

We are currently soliciting participants at the P.O.W.W.O.W. pop-up markets for volunteers for a number of our programs; including social media and grant writers for the stay at home type and pop-up market “Head Honchos” for those who love being in charge who have some friends to do a little heavy lifting.

What We Need

2018 has started off with a bang, unfortunately some of our important equipment has decided to take a siesta. Needless to say, when you move as much produce as we do there will be breakdowns. This year Borderlands has been hit considerably hard with equipment failures and is in dire need of some functioning key heavy equipment. Our forklifts, lift gates, ride along pallet trucks and electronic pallet jacks are on their last legs or not functional at all. Some items can be repaired but most need replaced. Repairs and or replacements are both very expensive. All this equipment is crucial for use in rescuing and distributing our produce. Please help… Thanks for listening!

Our Videos

NPR – Commentary by Yolanda Soto

Documentary – “Man in the Maze” 

Borderlands Food Bank Talberg Foundation

ACTV Presents Produce on Wheels Without Waste

Tackling Food Waste With Five Leaders in Sustainability

In the News

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