We envision homegrown food within reach.

  • Our Mission

    To grow a more local and resilient food system by connecting gardeners with their communities.

  • Our Story

     In 2016, a group of forward-thinkers came together to pilot a new idea that would become Fresh Food Connect. They asked the question: If gardeners had an easy avenue to participate in hunger relief efforts, would they?" The answer was resoundingly YES! Read more about our full story here .

  • Our Impact

    As of December 2021, Fresh Food Connect partners with 58 hunger relief nonprofits, or "operators" in 20 states that engage over 2,000 gardeners by accepting donations of homegrown produce from 1,500+ zip codes and redistributing to community members experiencing food insecurity. Learn more by reading our most recent impact report here.

Connecting the Local Food System

We're helping local gardeners connect with hunger relief organizations around the country

About Fresh Food Connect

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 was started in 2016 as a pilot project between Denver Food Rescue, Denver Urban Gardens, and Groundwork Denver in Denver, Colorado to collect excess garden produce grown by community members to then be distributed to individuals and families facing food insecurity in the immediate community. The success of the pilot to engage backyard and community gardeners in hunger relief efforts led Fresh Food Connect to grow into a standing organization operating nationally.

Fresh Food Connect licenses its technology to hunger relief organizations who use the mobile app to coordinate the aggregation of homegrown produce to be donated and used to create positive change in the local food system. Individual gardeners sign up on the Fresh Food Connect app to donate their backyard grown produce that would perhaps otherwise go to waste. Fresh Food Connect conveniently helps solve “the zucchini problem” by directing surplus produce from garden to hunger relief center, either through a pick-up or drop off model, depending on local operations.

Our Team

Fresh Food Connect is home to people who are tackling food insecurity by linking home gardeners with food rescue organizations. Contact them to learn more:

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    Kayla Birdsong
    Chief Executive Officer

    Kayla joined Fresh Food Connect in the summer of 2021 as CEO and is looking forward to using her experience to scale Fresh Food Connect nationally.

    Kayla has dedicated her career to innovative solutions to improving food access and security in the nonprofit sector.

    In her recent eight year tenure at The GrowHaus, where she served as Executive Director for four years, she collaboratively built up a food system in a food desert in NE Denver including elements of farming and production, food aggregation, distribution, retail, education and community outreach.

    Since 2018, Kayla has served on the board of advisors for Planet2Plate, a NY social enterprise launching a food incubator in Milwaukee.

    Kayla studied business management, has a certificate in Permaculture Design, and speaks Spanish.  

    Her dog Beanie is her best friend, and she loves meditating and vegetarian cooking.

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    Naomi Hansen
    Marketing Director

    Naomi joined Fresh Food Connect as Marketing Director in 2022 to expand the reach and impact of Fresh Food Connect and its Operators. 

    Prior to joining Fresh Food Connect, Naomi founded a consultancy supporting food system change agents, and served as Marketing Director for Planetary CARE, a regenerative agriculture startup. 

    Naomi’s passion for food systems change stems from her many years as a senior leader in marketing and innovation at Dole Packaged Foods, where she gained a deep understanding of the ways our food system is failing both people and planet. 

    Naomi holds an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from the Wharton School, and a BSBA in Marketing and International Business from Georgetown University. 

    A proud mom of 2, Naomi loves getting her kids out hiking, climbing, and digging in the dirt around her native plant and veggie gardens.

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    Laura Lavid
    PRODUCT & OPERATIONS DIRECTOR

    Laura joined Fresh Food Connect in 2019 as the Product and Operations Director and is excited to provide more opportunities to connect food and community nationwide.

    Laura has almost 20 years of experience in community based food work, including Denver Urban Gardens, American Community Gardening Association, Florida Organic Growers and Sprout City Farms. 

    Outside of work, you’ll find Laura in the garden or in the kitchen finding new ways to prepare vegetables.

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    Summer Huang
    Program Intern

    Summer is a recent graduate from University of Colorado. She believes food is a right and everyone should have equitable opportunity to access fresh and healthy produce. Summer is currently aspiring to learn more about food equity and food justice in the community. In her free time, Summer loves spending time with her seven-year-old son, playing in the park, and watching movies.  

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For Job and Internship Opportunities

Board of Directors

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    Turner Wyatt
    President

    Turner is an award-winning social entrepreneur focused on consumer-based solutions to food waste. Turner is co-founder and Board President of Fresh Food Connect. He currently serves as the CEO of the Upcycled Food Association, and was previously the Executive Director of Denver Food Rescue, and member of the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council.

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    Cindy Chang
    Member

    Cindy is Groundwork Denver's Executive Director and has been serving Groundwork Denver in various roles since 2010, including as a volunteer, Board, and staff member. Cindy has a background in nonprofit management, philanthropy, and has a deep passion for the environment. She earned a Masters in Business Administration from the Yale School of Management and a Masters in Environmental Management at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She also has a B.A. from Tufts University.  In her free time, she enjoys yoga, walking, and her two cats.

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    Jack Fritzinger
    Member

    Jack is an entrepreneur whose passion for business development has taken him around the world. From non-profits in Colombia and South Africa, to telecommunications in Boston and biotechnology in Baltimore, Jack loves building relationships to help high-impact startups grow. Currently, Jack runs Timberline Strategies, a consulting firm aimed at building enterprises at the intersection of economic opportunity and social-environmental good. With its combination of food systems innovation and technology, Fresh Food Connect is a perfect fit, and Jack is enthusiastic about making a difference both with his skill set and the lettuce that he's learning to grow in his garden.

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    EMILY OLSEN
    Member

    Emily is equally as passionate about finding the best slice of pizza as she is about making sure that it has a positive impact on our environment. Through her work in food access Emily has become increasingly interested in ensuring that our food system promotes the health of people, communities and our planet. With a background in health equity and food justice she has worked with communities across the country to create their own healthier futures. She helped found Fresh Food Connect while working with Denver Food Rescue. Currently she is the Director of Cloud City Conservation Center in Leadville, CO. Ultimately Emily believes that our own individual health is not separate from the health of our communities or our planet. She loves nothing more than a day skiing or running in the mountains followed by pizza topped with veggies from her garden, and making sure that neither her adventures or her food had a negative impact on the environment or the communities connected to it.

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    Andrew Conklin
    Member

    Andrew is an entrepreneurial technologist with over 15 years of systems architecting, data modeling, application engineering, and customer success across startup, nonprofit, and enterprise government sectors. Andrew believes the best way to value life is to be in service to others, and particularly focuses on health and environmental issues. He serves on the Practitioners Board of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM.org), likes to play Squash, and enjoys getting his hands dirty in gardens under the sun.

Tax Information:

Fresh Food Connect is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Fresh Food Connect's tax identification number is 82-5180956. 

  • Mailing address

    PO Box 181582, Denver, CO 80218
  • Email

    info@freshfoodconnect.org