By Hannah Yaritz, Individual Philanthropy Coordinator
Food! We eat a lot here at Denver Zoo, and we aren’t just talking about people - one elephant can eat up to 150 pounds of hay a day!
Buying and eating food that is grown in our own communities is important to Denver Zoo. We want to ensure that our animals are receiving top-quality foods and that we are taking care of the environment at the same time. Buying local food reduces the use of fossil fuels. Produce and other food coming from Mexico or even California get to our groceries by planes, trains and automobiles and pollute the environment at a significantly higher rate than our very own Palisade Peaches. When we buy local produce, we also know that the money we spend stays in the community – which helps to boost the economy for a successful future. And, when we support local business, they support us! Local business owners love community support and they do a lot to give back too – like supporting local events and donating to local nonprofits.
Our mission is to secure a better world for animals and as part of that, we strive for environmental sustainability too. Animals, and people, shouldn’t live in a world that is polluted, which is why we are working to ensure an environment that is healthy for everyone – and that includes supporting our local farmers and community. We grow produce on Zoo grounds that is food for our animals, and also used in our restaurants. Our concessionaire also works closely with local farms to make sure that we are getting top-quality products for our visitors. For our annual fundraising event, Do At The Zoo, we actively worked to get local restaurants to sample their food at the event. In fact, 90 percent of the restaurants that attended were locally owned and operated!
We hope that you, as our visitors, our neighbors and our friends, will also support local food. Here are some ways that you can have an impact:
- Plant your own garden
- Work on a community garden. There are lots around Denver and Grow Local Colorado can show you how you can get involved.
- Purchase food at grocery stores that is grown right here in Colorado – peach season is right around the corner!
- Farmers markets have a great selection of local products and produce, stop by one today! This website is a great place to get started in finding a market near you.
- Make meals with your favorite local products and produce. Denver Zoo teamed up with Door to Door Organics in 2011 and created a cookbook that focuses on eating healthy food – get a free copy here: https://blog.doortodoororganics.com/colorado/2013/10/rezoopies/
- Dine out at great local restaurants. Do At The Zoo hosted a sampling of restaurants to get you started. If you couldn’t make it to Do At The Zoo, don’t fear! Eat Drink Denver is a guide for local food and drinks and it even shows special deals and events!
- Shop at local businesses. Aside from food and restaurants, there are a lot of great local businesses that need your support too. Colorado Local First can help direct you to the places to go to get the things you need.
By taking action you can help to secure a better world for animals. The path to fulfilling Denver Zoo’s mission lies in successfully engaging guests, inspiring their connections with animals and motivating them to take conservation actions. Please help us make a better world for animals.