About Us

Our Mission

Fresh Food Connect  aims to create a more healthy, sustainable, and local food system by creating a market for homegrown food.  

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 seeks to give this food the market it deserves, in turn making our food systems more local and less wasteful. 

Fresh Food Connect licenses its technology to urban agriculture and food rescue organizations who use the mobile-app to coordinate the aggregation of home grown produce to be donated, sold, or used to otherwise create positive change in the local operator's 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 picking up produce from the growers location when the grower indicates they have food.

Staff

Helen Katich, CEO

Helen is committed to serious work without taking herself too seriously. She has dedicated her career building organizations and participating in efforts that work towards equity, primarily with a focus on food systems.  Over the last ten years, Helen served as a Co-Founder and Board Member of Boulder Food Rescue, Co-Founder of Seattle Food Rescue, Director of Food Rescue Alliance, Program Manager at Metro Caring, and now has the pleasure of leading Fresh Food Connect.  She is a passionate traveler, with most of her recent months eating her way through Oaxaca, Mexico.

Laura Lavid, Community Engagement and Marketing Director

Laura has almost 20 years experience in community based food work, including Denver Urban Gardens, American Community Gardening Association, Florida Organic Growers and Sprout City Farms. She recently joined Fresh Food Connect as the Community Engagement and Marketing Director and is excited to provide more opportunities to connect food and community nationwide. Outside of work, you’ll find Laura in the garden or in the kitchen finding new ways to prepare vegetables.

Board of Directors

 

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.

Michael Buchenau 

Michael is Denver Urban Garden’s former Executive Director and current Senior Advisor & Landscape Architect. Michael holds a Masters in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University, and prior to joining Denver Urban Gardens (DUG), he worked in the private sector as a landscape architect managing numerous large-scale projects including environmental management plans for Pike’s Peak Highway, Mount Rainier, Yellowstone, Yosemite and Denali National Parks. In his role at DUG for the past 26 years, Michael has overseen the planning, design and construction of the organization’s expanding network of over 185 active community gardens throughout Metro Denver, with another dozen new projects either under construction or on the drawing board in 2020. Michael has been helping to lead multiple research studies in partnership with the University of Colorado School of Public Health, to explore the potential of community gardens to impact community health. A recipient of the Colorado Public Health Association’s Florence Sabin Award in recognition of his leadership in improving public health in Colorado, Michael also has served on Denver’s Sustainable Food Policy Council, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s Seeds Task Force, and Denver Water’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee. He is also a founding board member of DUG’s partner organizations – Groundwork Denver and Fresh Food Connect. Michael is a native of Denver, and loves to spend time gardening, skiing, hiking and fly-fishing with his wonderful wife Krista, and amazing children Hannah, Allie, Sam and Nicholas!

Cindy Chang

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.

 

Jack Fritzinger

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.

Emily Olsen 

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.

 

Why

Technology has turned car owners into cab drivers and homeowners into hospitality managers. Likewise, Fresh Food Connect works to turn gardeners into farmers by creating a market for homegrown food that may otherwise be left to waste. 

Fresh Food Connect is…

  • creating a more localized food system, which reduces food miles, and requires less fossil fuels for distribution. 
  • decreasing hunger and food insecurity by increasing the amount of nutritious available produce for those most in need in the community.
  • reducing food waste, a major global contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. 
  • creating social benefits by increasing access to healthy food and connecting community members.
  • easy to operate on a small budget and is now offering its technology nationally!


Facts about food waste:

 

Where We Work

Colorado


Boulder Food Rescue
Children's Farms in Action
Colorado Springs Food Rescue
Denver Food Rescue
Ekar Farm
Good Food Collective
Groundwork Denver
Kaizen Food Rescue
Longmont Food Rescue
Metro Caring

 

Wisconsin


Groundwork Milwaukee

 

 

FAQs

Why are we changing from the web-app to a mobile app? 

We have learned a lot over our four years of operation, and want to make the best system available to both our dedicated nonprofit partners and our talented gardeners. The new mobile app was created to serve the needs of all our stakeholders better by streamlining the back-end operations and making the gardener experience easy and seamless. Additionally, the new technology will allow us to expand our network of gardeners and partners throughout the country giving more community members an opportunity to share their backyard bounty!

What do I need to do during the transition?

All of our Fresh Food Connect gardeners need to download and sign up with the mobile app, even if you have signed up on the web-app. The app is available here and will only take a few moments to get set up. Once you are signed up, you can start donating!

Can I still use the web-app?

No, moving forward Fresh Food Connect will only be available through the mobile app.  Please let us know if you have any questions or need assistance with downloading. 

How do I use the new mobile app?

The app is easy to use but if you run into difficulties, check out these user guides and feel free to email us with questions at info@freshfoodconnect.org.

How does this change impact how the program operates? 

The transition from the web-app to the mobile app will allow our partners to run the program more efficiently and improve the ease in which gardeners can participate.  There are no programmatic changes...you will still enter your donation information, the operator will pick up the produce, and distribute it to those in most need in your community.

    Contact Us

    info@freshfoodconnect.org