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UpRoot Adds 782 lbs of Fresh Produce to Local Food Pantries

Raleigh Burleigh/KDNK

UpRoot Colorado has already donated 782 pounds of fruits and vegetables to local food pantries this season. KDNK's Raleigh Burleigh spoke with Westslope Director Ciara Low to learn more.


Thanks to donations from Two Roots Farm, Rock Bottom Ranch, Wild Mountain Seeds, backyard fruit tree owners, and volunteer gleaners, UpRoot Colorado has contributed 782 pounds of fruits and vegetables to local food pantries within the first four weeks of their season. Based on USDA nutrition data, this is equivalent to nearly 5,500 servings of nutrient-dense produce.


Co-Founder and Western Slope Director Ciara Low describes the organization's mission as threefold, “to measurably reduce surplus agriculture in Colorado, support the economic stability of farmers and increase the nutritional stability of the state's residents.” This mission is achieved with operations from Aspen to Parachute as well as the Northern Front Range.


Even with limited group-sizes, as part of the organization's response to COVID-19, Ciara assures KDNK News that there will be no shortage of volunteer opportunities for harvesting surplus and taking home some of this season's bounty with multiple gleans per week.

In addition to limiting group sizes to maintain social distancing, UpRoot Colorado has developed special protocol for the safety of volunteers during this pandemic. This includes making available a hand-washing station on-site, requiring that participants sign a waiver acknowledging CDC recommendations, requiring masks, and asking that volunteers not carpool unless with members of their household.

Beyond organizing gleans, UpRoot is a founding member of the Safe and Abundance Nutrition Alliance. This regional organization spans Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle Counties and works with public health departments, nonprofits and stakeholders to provide nutrient-dense food for all community members regardless of their socioeconomic status. Meanwhile on the Front Range, UpRoot partners to provide a mobile workforce to farms with surplus produce. These contract farm laborers move as needed.


UpRoot Colorado is currently seeking to purchase six orchard ladders. More information, including registration for upcoming gleans, can be found here.

Raleigh Burleigh was raised in the historic floodplanes of Satank. The Carbondale Rotary Club sponsored him as a youth ambassador to Chile the year before his graduation from Roaring Fork High School. He studied International Affairs and Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder then applied those studies traveling throughout South America the following year. Returning to Carbondale thereafter, Raleigh acquired an internship with KDNK News which led to the opportunity to serve as News Director from 2017 to 2019. After another trip to South America in early 2019, Raleigh Burleigh drew deeper into the confluence as Program Director at KDNK. Now Raleigh is happy to serve on the KDNK Board of Directors. Raleigh is now the Editor of Carbondale's weekly newspaper the Sopris Sun.
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