UpRoot Colorado

A nonprofit organization

$375 raised by 2 donors

4% complete

$10,000 Goal

We harvest surplus food from farms, orchards, and backyard fruit trees to reduce agricultural surplus and increase nutrition security throughout Colorado. Our volunteers reconnect with the life-sustaining power of food, moving us toward a food system in which farmers are valued for who they are: a cornerstone of our society.


From our farm partners:
"Working with UpRoot has really allowed us to think outside the box and grow our farm operation in a community focused way. Sometimes we are not able to harvest or find markets for some of our farm products. With the help of UpRoot we are able to simultaneously bring community members and volunteers to the farm, ensure all food grown is harvested and consumed, and provide our business with a tax incentive to donate the produce. Working with UpRoot is a benefit to everyone in the community."
Jim Dula
Farmer, Erin's Acres Farm

"Now that I know how convenient it is to have UpRoot collect food that we are not able to sell, I am recognizing how many gleaning opportunities we have on the farm. Before working with UpRoot, it seemed almost impossible to reserve the time and energy to get unsellables to a good home. I'm so happy UpRoot has come to the valley and provides a valid option for farmers to seamlessly prevent food waste and get fresh food to folks that need it most."
Harper Kaufman,
Farmer and Owner, Two Roots Farm

From our hunger relief partners:
"LIFT-UP pantries participated in a statewide pantry survey, we learned the top two items that our clients are looking for are protein (i.e. meat) and fresh produce. We have heard from many of our families that getting fresh produce from our shelves to give their families means so much to them, they appreciate being able to feed their families healthy food. LIFT-UP wants to continue to have fresh fruits and vegetables to hand out to our clients, so collaborations with organizations such as UpRoot are very important to us. It is with their help and resources that we are able to provide fresh produce."
Kimberly Loving
Former Executive Director, LIFT-UP

"As representatives of the Garfield County FuN Group (Food and Nutrition Workgroup) we'd like to offer our full support to the work of UpRoot... We have been working with partners in our community on the issue of food access for many years. UpRoot has structured their tasks such that they are expanding our own and others' existing work in an important way and not duplicating efforts. We are so thrilled at the connections they are making to improve food access, reduce food waste, and to unite our community partners around this critical issue."
Christine Dolan, RD
Nutrition Program Manager, Garfield County Public Health

From our volunteers:
"Seeing the transformation that happens with food being grown is super nourishing, just being a witness to that. It's spiritual, but also practical."

"It has given me awareness of how farmers struggle and...these issues that you don't often know about when you see food on the shelf."

"When you've gleaned your own food, you're more mindful about consuming it. ... From working all day, it feels like the reward... truly earned. This is a good day's work, or, this is such a beautiful experience, I'm so grateful. There's actually some kind of love when you're consuming the food."

Giving Activity


UpRoot increases the nutrition security of Coloradans by harvesting and redistributing surplus, nutrient-dense food while supporting the resilience of farmers.

Background Statement

The seeds for UpRoot were planted in the Fall of 2016 with two gleaning events set up on two unique farms in order to provide produce for Feeding the 5000 Front Range, a food-waste-awareness event held in downtown Denver in October 2016.

At Grant Farms CSA in Wellington, Colorado, six adults and seven children harvested roughly 1,000 pounds of produce in four hours. At Chatfield Farms, 10 adults harvested approximately 500 pounds of produce in about two hours.

At both farms, significant amounts of edible produce remained in the fields (due to factors that are often beyond the farmers' control). In fact, ReFED estimates that more than 33 billion pounds of edible produce remains on U.S. farms each year-less than five percent of this loss is currently being recovered.

Colorado is a state with 11 million acres of cropland and there are existing examples of organizations both throughout the country and in Europe that implement sustainable, year-round gleaning operations.

From October 2016 - December 2016, the UpRoot team researched and connected with gleaning organizations from the UK to New England to the Pacific Northwest to compare organizational models and best practices in order to create a flexible model to serve region-specific areas of Colorado.

From 2017-2020, our Volunteer Gleaning Corps harvested more than 66,000 pounds-more than 450,000 servings-of nutrient-dense surplus produce, diverting these locally grown protective foods into area hunger-relief agencies. In 2021, we have gleaned and diverted to our hunger-relief partners more than 300,000 servings to date.

The Farm & Food Mobile Workforce pilot project -- a collaborative effort of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RFMU), Veterans to Farmers, the Good Food Collective and UpRoot to bring on-demand, supplemental and efficient labor to Colorado's producers-has harvested, to date, more than 900,000 pounds of commodity (i.e., cash) crops for farmers and ranchers.

In 2020, we were awarded our Letter of Determination and we continue our work to glean surplus protective foods, to champion and better support Colorado's smallholder and family farms, to increase the nutritional security of Coloradans and to reinstall cultural food wisdom throughout our communities.

Organization Data


Organization name

UpRoot Colorado

other names


Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, Environment, Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy


PO Box 1952
Carbondale, CO 81623

Service areas

Boulder County, CO, US

Delta County, CO, US

Denver, CO, US

Garfield County, CO, US

Pitkin County, CO, US



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