Food is Free ABQ- The Space
The Space was created to support the mission of Food is Free Albuquerque and entrepreneurs in our local community. Resources, workshops, knowledge, seeds, growth & local products.
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Cottonwood Mall is proud to be the home of several different non-profit organizations. One of these groups is Food Is Free, a global movement geared towards harvesting crop surpluses and redistributing that food to community members who need it most. Erin Gamson, who helped get the Food is Free Albuquerque (FIFABQ) chapter off the ground in 2014, talked about what the inspiration behind FIFABQ was: “We had too many apples,” she laughed. In Albuquerque alone, “there is easily between one and two million pounds of food that grow on backyard fruit trees every year.” Sadly, a large portion of these home-grown crops go to waste, usually because they are not harvested in time. FIFABQ has a solution to that problem. “We can schedule a time at your convenience, and come pick the fruits and veggies out of your garden for free,” explained Trista Teeter, who also helped FIFABQ get started. “We then take that food and redistribute it to people who we know can use it.” As Erin puts it, “It’s not a matter of ‘is there enough,’ it’s a matter of distribution.”
Hand-harvesting home gardens is not the only service FIFABQ provides, however. In 2020, after holding a seed share in the north parking lot of Cottonwood Mall, FIFABQ were offered a spot in the mall for them to set up a more permanent location. Since the creation of “The Space,” as their shop has been dubbed, FIFABQ has held seed shares, community events, and distributed thousands of plants, ready to be put in your garden.
“We want to make sure people can have that opportunity to grow their own food,” said Trista. “It’s such a fulfilling experience to eat something that you grew in your own backyard.”
Their commitment to providing food for free has led to a unique pricing system in their store. “We just ask people to pay whatever they feel like,” said Erin. “When’s the last time you went to a store and let your heart say how much something should cost?” This philosophy has definitely garnered attention, and repeated traffic, from visitors. The Space also offers crafts for children (or anyone who feels like being creative), and a library corner designed to help anyone who is looking to unwind after a long day.