The Work of Borderlands Starts with Produce Rescue
Fighting Food Waste on the Border: Great Big Story
Every pound rescued is made available to millions across Arizona, Northern Mexico and 19 other states. Borderlands was recently featured on the Great Big Story, they took close look at how we rescue and distribute so much fresh produce.
Rescue NOT Landfill
All of the produce distributed by Borderlands has been rescued before it could be sent to area landfills. In 1994 we first realized that any produce not purchased by retailers, from produce distributors, was just dumped in the landfill as it is too costly for distributors to transport back to the growers. Witnessing this waste first hand helped form the beginnings of what is now Borderlands.
For over 22 years Borderlands has been educating the produce industry, that it does not have the right to dump fresh produce. Being based out of Nogales, Arizona, just miles from the port of Entry responsible for over 60% of produce consumed in North America, affords Borderlands with the opportunity to rescue millions of pounds of unsold produce every year.
Processing and Re-Distribution
Each day we gets calls from area distributors with produce available for donation. Borderlands' trucks make the daily trip of picking up and unloading thousands of pounds of fresh produce. Once at the Borderlands warehouse all produce is sorted depending on how long it has before spoiling, and organized for distribution through one of many Borderlands programs.
Monday organizations are encouraged to stop by our Nogales, Ariozna warehouse to pick up fresh produce for their and their clients use. Tuesday through Friday, locals are encouraged to stop by our Nogales, Arizona warehouse to shop for fresh produce. Every year, through our Produce on Wheels With-Out Waste (P.O.W.W.O.W) program we distribute over 6 million pounds of fresh produce at local markets around Arizona.
Produce Rescue: Frequently Asked Questions
Is the rescued produce fresh?
We’re glad you asked, this is the most surprising thing for us, the fact that anyone would throw away such fresh, often even organic, produce. Everything we distribute is completely healthy, and edible, it is only headed to the landfill because the distributors couldn’t sell it.
Why is fresh produce taken to the landfill, and not sold?
According to distributors and growers, the reason why so much of their produce is either left in the field to rot, or just taken to a landfill is because consumers won’t buy it. According to them, the standards set out for what consumers will buy is much higher than just ensuring the produce is edible. Much of the rejected produce we handle simply suffers from cosmetic damages such as rain stains, or discoloration, and so, if not for Borderlands, that produce would be left to rot.
Borderlands website only talks about produce, does Borderlands offer anything else?
This is one of the reasons why we like to think of ourselves as a different kind of food bank, we distribute nothing but the fresh produce we are able to rescue. We recognize there are a great number of food banks out there working to meet the needs of families through non-perishable goods. However, given our close proximity to a large port of entry and the large amount of produce in our area, we are solely focused on providing families with fresh produce.
Do I need to qualify for food assistance to get help from Borderlands?