Top Chef Jennifer Jasinski and Local Farms to Provide 5,000 Free Lunches

Photography by Glenn Ross.

When millions of families struggle with food insecurities in home, it’s still very alarming how high the numbers are for overall food waste in the United States. Research shows that an estimated 63 million tons of food is wasted each year, and not just any food but perfectly edible produce. If those numbers aren’t shocking enough, recent studies also revealed that one out every eight Coloradans alone are food insecure.

“Overall in the country 40 percent of the food we produce is wasted. It doesn’t even make it to the shelves of grocery stores. It’s thrown away,” said Arlan Preblud of We Don’t Waste during an interview with 5280 Magazine last year. The quality is there, he says, but if a banana doesn’t match a certain curvature, it’s immediately discarded before it can even leave the

Feeding the 5000 Front Range, along with James Beard, award-winning chef, and Top Chef Masters finalist, Jennifer Jasinski, aim to provide 5,000 lunches to the Denver metro, while also bringing awareness to this, not only state-wide but global issue. Dozens of volunteers will help to execute the menu created by chef Jasinski from recovered produce — otherwise wasted — graciously provided by sponsors such as We Don’t Waste, or harvested by local farms such as the Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms and Grant Farms.

“Thoughtful, seasonal, sustainable and most importantly delicious food is at the center of all that I do. As someone who cares deeply about using and enjoying the food that I buy, cook, and serve, collaborating on a Feeding the 5000 event is both a natural fit and an exceptionally fun opportunity to raise awareness of the crucial issue of food waste in the Front Range region,“ Jasinski said.

Not only will the event use recovered produce from local venues and events to provide a delicious meal, but the hope is to provide valuable information about how to tackle this issue as a whole. Feeding the 5000 aims to bring awareness to the general public and from there, “strongly encourage” supermarkets and big businesses to stop all practices that allow the discarding of what is considered “visually unappealing” produce. This event was created to redesign the way a community perceives food while also encouraging a better understanding of the things we can do to adjust our ideals of what produce, and food in general, should look like.

Feeding the 5000 Front Range will take place Friday, October 14 from 11 to 4 p.m. at Denver Skyline Park.

Denver Food Rescue, a non-profit participating in this year's event. Photo by Kyle Cooper
Denver Food Rescue, a non-profit participating in this year’s event. Photo by Kyle Cooper


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