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Case Study: Foraged Feast

Jordan Bracy


The research problem at hand for our Flagstaff Foodlink and Community and University Public Inquiry pod is to create an interactive and easily accessible fruit tree map for Flagstaff, Arizona to increase equity and reduce food waste. This problem is important because of the large amount of people in Flagstaff who are living below the poverty line without enough resources available to them. Approximately one third of the children living in Coconino County live in conditions below the poverty level (Vanek, 2015). There are hungry people and children and they require help as soon as possible. This is why sources of aid are necessary for the people of Flagstaff  (Vanek, 2015). With this map available to everyone, they will have another place they know they can reliably obtain their produce from in the right harvesting conditions. Our Flagstaff fruit tree map functions to help everyone who wants an equitable option for their produce. Much of what I had already known before learning more about Foraged Feast was knowledge that I had learned through Foodlink. However, there is much to be learned from looking at the work of others who are also working towards giving people a more equitable life. Looking at other methods that nonprofit organizations such as Foraged Feast use can give us a better understanding of community-based gleaning and reflect on the drawbacks and successes of these different organizations. Some examples of useful methods used by Foraged Feast include gathering food from sources other than public trees such as trees of homeowners and farmers markets and having multiple social media pages that can be used to connect their organization with others in the community.


According to their website, Foraged Feast is a nonprofit organization located in Denver, Colorado that collects locally grown food that would otherwise go to waste. This initiative had begun when one of the founders of Foraged Feast, Tracy Lowery, visited Ethiopia with her husband to adopt their first children. Seeing the extent of how someone lives below the poverty line during her time in Ethiopia was difficult for her. But then had found that food waste and lack of food access was happening in her own community. This caused her to create Foraged Feast and start assisting those who are struggling economically at a local level. Foraged Feast accomplishes their goal by gleaning from fruit trees, collecting food from farmers markets, and from local farms and wholesale distributors (Foraged Feast, 2019).

The biggest constraint for this organization is the seasonality of harvesting food in their locale. This is demonstrated by their website in which the most recent volunteer opportunity had ended in November, that was three months ago. The next available harvest for certain produce will be available around the time of June according to the Colorado harvest calendar (pickyourown, 2019). This means that those in need will have to wait even longer before they’re donated food by Foraged Feast. However, this constraint is less of a setback due to their partnerships with: Food Bank of the Rockies, Miller Farms, Boulder Food Rescue, and other organizations helping them. These different partners are consistently giving people food throughout the year through donation, affordable produce marketing, and food waste redistribution. This makes seasonality less of an issue for Foraged Feast to keep up with the demand of food needed by their community. Another constraint that the organizers have faced is the lack of activity on their social media. Facebook is the biggest social media website worldwide (Gordon, 2018). Foraged Feast has not made a post about their work for over two years. Their twitter is not very promising either with the most recent activity being three years ago. Connecting with members of the community through more than just their homepage causes Foraged Feast to run short in getting people involved with their work.

Some methods used by Foraged Feast include gathering unwanted or excess food from different locations with the help of volunteers. These locations include trees on private and public property as well as recovering excess produce from local farmers to give to what they regard as those in the community that are “underserved”, meaning those who are living below the poverty line and/or do not have the appropriate resources needed to maintain a continuous food supply on their own. For the private trees that are gleaned, Foraged Feast allows people in their community register their private property trees to be gleaned by Foraged Feast. Foraged Feast also teams up with organizations to accomplish their goal, such as Wells Fargo, who donated $3,000 for Foraged Feast to continue their work. They also allow people to donate to them online through their Paypal. This flow of income for Foraged Feast does not become pocketed by them as they are a nonprofit, it allows them to pay for expenses that gleaning may cost them such as the gas required to go around town to different locations. There are also tools such as the baskets that are purchased to keep the produce in as they often fill their volunteers’ trucks up completely. Donations also make it possible for Foraged Feast to continue their classes that they give to people about gleaning and preservation. Their volunteer events and classes are posted on their homepage and on their Facebook in which they are able to notify those in their communities of available projects for people to participate in.

The intended outcome of these initiatives are to both develop a stronger community by having people come together and work cooperatively, and to make sure that the people in the community who need food are reached out to. On their website Foraged Feast states that they do this “because we care, and sharing feels good”. This can be interpreted as Foraged Feast wanting everyone to care about their goal too, and for those people who choose to participate to feel good about themselves for participating in community-based gleaning rather than allowing the people in their community who are living in undesirable conditions to continue going hungry and having a worse quality of life than they already do.


Looking at this organization’s  goals, values, and initiatives has made it easier for me to understand why gleaning projects are started. For the founder of Foraged Feast, Tracy Lowery, it was seeing the struggle of those without food access in her own community.

I was also able to understand the limits of an organization’s methods. There are seasons in which food can be collected from those willing to give or from trees whose food that may go to waste because of the different harvesting seasons for different fruits that should always be monitored. This means that as much as an organization wants to provide food for people in their community all the time, it cannot happen from foraging alone. This is where the need for partnerships with other organizations comes into play. When Foraged Feast is unable to provide food themselves during the harvesting season, they turn toward other organizations who they have connections with to assist them. These organizations make it possible for food to be available to people all year even if tree gleaning is out of the question for a few months. There is also the ability for Foraged Feast to have recurring donations from local farmers markets that also allow for them to keep sharing as much food with their community as they can.

What was also taken away by this is the requirement of continual online activity needed for organizations to keep their community involved and notified. Foraged Feast is exceptional at incorporating different methods into their project such as classes, volunteering, and allowing for public and private locations to be gleaned. However, they fall short in keeping their organization relevant due to their lack of activity on their website and on other forms of social media. This has helped me realize the value of not only starting a project dedicated to helping others but staying active in continuing this goal through different forms of communication such as social media.

Notable aspects within this organization are similar to that of Flagstaff Foodlink when looking at the drawbacks as well as the purpose of gathering from places where extra food is available. Just like Foraged Feast, Foodlink is also dedicated to making sure that people have an adequate supply of fresh produce available to them by accumulating fruit that would otherwise go to waste. The need to understand the demand of continuing the project after it has been started is also an issue to be considered. For Foraged Feast, it is continuing to stay up to date on their website and social media as well as possibly incorporating more projects aside from classes and volunteering for people to participate in. For Foodlink, it is the same process. Both organizations want to get people involved with the community by practicing in gleaning initiatives by reaching out to them and with social media being a great outlet for that, there should be emphasis placed on it. Gleaning is great for helping people, but there could be other ways to go about targeting food waste that Foodlink has not started yet. For instance, the CUPI pod that has partnered with Foodlink are in the process of creating a map of all different sources where people can glean. Maybe stretching out the sources to say more food donors like gardens, nurseries, etc. could benefit Foodlink in their goal to fight food waste and promote more food access to people.

There is also the the difficulty of relying on gleaning as the primary source of donation of food to people. There will not always be trees full of fruit for volunteers to pick and it is important for that to be noted by Foodlink if they want to help their community with access to food throughout the year.

There is not a designated audience for Foraged Feast or Flagstaff Foodlink. Both organizations want to make sure that their community getting access to healthy and affordable food. Neither organization makes any specification as to who they want to volunteer. They both want everyone who is able to practice gleaning initiatives or any other volunteer event held by them to do so.


After researching this organization based on their website and social media there are a few conclusions that can be made. The first being that for one nonprofit organization to continue to thrive, it may be beneficial to examine other organizations with their interest to understand what they’re doing right, or that could be worked on. In this case, there wasn’t much of a difference between what Foraged Feast was doing in comps to Foodlink as Foodlink does stay up to date on their website and social media and they have more events outside of gleaning for people to participate in. However, it is possible that Foodlink could also add a video of the founders introducing themselves and talking about their organization just as Foraged Feast did since people like quick introductions rather than bodies of text. Communication is also key to getting people involved with an organization’s initiatives. An example of this is the use and constant updating of social media to inform people of what an organization is working on and anything new that is coming up for people to be excited about. If an organization is not talking to the people in their community effectively, they will have less community trust, less volunteers, and be further from achieving their goals.


Colorado Harvest Calendar. (2019). Retrieved February 25, 2019, from

Foraged Feast – Facebook. (n.d.). Retrieved February 25, 2019, from

Foraged Feast – Twitter. (2016, October 07). Retrieved February 25, 2019, from

Gordon, K. (2018). Topic: Facebook. Retrieved February 25, 2019, from

Lowery, T. (n.d.). Foraged Feast. Retrieved February 25, 2019, from

Vanek, C. (2015, July 23). High childhood poverty rate in Coconino County affects overall well-being. Retrieved February 25, 2019, from


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