VIDEO: Reimagining food access
Meet the MSU Denver graduates behind Bondadosa, the Denver-based social enterprise whose innovative food-delivery model is providing fresh food to communities that need it the most.
Ricardo Rocha grew up not knowing where his next meal would come from. Now, he’s working to make sure that low-income families and elderly populations in Denver have greater access to high-quality foods through his company Bondadosa.
“Our goal is not to just solve food insecurity; it’s to solve for upward mobility and economic opportunity and development. And so for me, it’s about creating beautiful, meaningful and impactful organizations that can serve as employment opportunities for others,” said Rocha, a 2017 graduate of Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Since launching Bondadosa, a grocery-delivery service that targets Denver’s most vulnerable communities, Rocha has teamed up with another MSU Denver alum, CEO Maggie Brown, to expand the organization’s reach.
Bondadosa partners with nonprofits, for-profits and government agencies, as well as local producers and regional growers, to serve thousands of families in need every week. Recent studies have shown that Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted Colorado’s Latinos. So Bondadosa has risen to the occasion through programs such as the Colorado Food Cluster, which provides free lunches to students whose food security has been disrupted by the pandemic.
“We didn’t expect that the Colorado Food Cluster would grow this rapidly,” said Brown, a 2016 Nutrition graduate. “Within the span of a year, we moved warehouses, we more than tripled the amount of cooler space that we were using and we went from only delivering 100 cases per month in 2020 to (almost 50,000 deliveries in December),” Brown said.
Rocha and Brown aren’t stopping there. Their vision includes an overhaul of the entire food system to increase access and amplify its impact.
“Anything is possible when we talk about rebuilding or reimagining a food system,” Rocha said. “Why not build differently? Why not reimagine it? Why not re-create it?”