Frequently Asked Questions

Borderlands Produce Rescue

Is the rescued produce fresh?

We’re glad you asked, this is the most surprising thing for us, the fact that anyone would discard such fresh, often even organic, produce. Everything we redistribute is completely healthy, and edible, it is only headed to the landfill because the distributors couldn’t sell it.

Our non-profit, Borderlands Produce Rescue picks up produce direct from the distributors warehouse, prior to it being sent to the landfill.

Why is fresh produce taken to the landfill, and not sold?

Although the produce industry does an excellent job of selling a high percentage of what is grown because it is a consumer driven market it is impossible to predict with certainty exactly what the consumer wants so there will always be a small percentage of unsold product. 

This is where Borderlands Produce Rescue comes in; we educate the produce industry that it doees not have the right to dump good, nutrious produce. Instead we tell them to call us and we will rescue it and make it available for redistribution through our programs.

Borderlands Produce Rescue's website only talks about produce, does Borderlands offer anything else?

This is one of the reasons why we like to think of ourselves as a different kind of non-profit, we distribute nothing but the fresh produce we are able to rescue. We recognize there are a great number of food banks out there working to meet the needs of families through non-perishable goods. However, given our close proximity to a large port of entry and the large amount of produce in our area, we are solely focused on providing families with fresh produce.

Did you know, 60% of all winter produce consumed in America comes through our Nogales, AZ, Port of Entry with Mexico?

Do I need to qualify for food assistance to participate in Borderlands Produce Rescue programs?

No. We do not have any income or residency requirements. Our mission is to rescue produce and curb food waste. The more produce you take home, the more room we have in our warehouse to rescue another million pounds!

In order to receive any of our produce all you have to do is attend one of our distribution sites.

Borderlands' Produce on Wheels With-Out Waste (P.O.W.W.O.W.)

Do you need volunteers?

Yes, all of our Borderlands' P.O.W.W.O.W. locations are only possible thanks to volunteers. Our program is a community outreach initiative, meaning we need volunteers to help us set-up, pre-box, clean-up, traffic-control, load cars and so much more.

Sign-Up to Volunteer at a Borderlands' P.O.W.W.O.W. Event

If you volunteer for at least 3 hours (one shift) we give you a complimentary produce box as a thank you!

Why aren't there year round Borderlands' P.O.W.W.O.W. markets?

Nearly all of the produce we rescue is grown in Mexico. The produce season, and where in Mexico produce is grown, varies from season to season. From November through May/June much of the produce consumed in all of America & Canada comes through our Nogales, AZ, Port of Entry with Mexico. During this time there are hundreds of produce distributors operating in our city.

As we approach July and August, through October, a majority of produce distributors close up shop and move their operations to San Diego. This happens because they follow the produce, since at this time of year much of it is being grown in Western Mexico. Only about 5% or 10% of the produce distributors remain operational, in Nogales, AZ.

During our off-season we do still rescue produce, often much of it is greenhouse grown, however it is never enough to be able to maintain regular redistribution locations. During our off-season we typically host pop-up market locations as we have produce available for redistribution.

Do I Have to Register to Participate in Borderlands' P.O.W.W.O.W?

No registration of any kind is required to participate in our Borderlands' P.O.W.W.O.W. events. We do not require any sort of income or residency requirements either. Participation is SUPER easy; just come out to one of our events, make a donation to support our non-profit, and we'll give you a thank you box of produce!

We do however suggest you sign up for our newsletter to get updates and reminders.

Do I bring my own boxes or bags?

No, we reuse the boxes the produce comes in. However, we do appreciate donations of boxes or bags for future use.

If you have extra grocery bags (we all do!) you want to get out of your pantry, we definitely do appreciate those. If we ever give you your produce box in a black plastic crate, we would love to get those back to use again.

What if it is too much produce for me?

Good, that means we are doing our job right! We purposefully give you more produce than one person, or one family can use. The purpose of our Borderlands' P.O.W.W.O.W. program is to serve as a redistribution; namely, encouraging you to share your box with friends, neighbors or others.

Many of our supporters will share parts of their bounty with local pantries, soup kitchens, elderly or disabled people who are unable to leave the house themselves. We are limited as to the number of locations we can redistribute produce at, and so we depend on each of you to make sure the produce is being shared within your community.

Do I need to take all varieties of produce offered?

If you participate in one of our drive-thru locations you will have to take the whole box with all of the varieties because we pre-make all of the boxes. If you participate in on of our farmer's market locations, you can opt to take less than the quantity we offer, or opt out of taking a particular variety. Just remember, we do not allow for substitutions!

Regardless, we encourage you to take everything being given and just share what you do not use with others. The purpose of this program is to serve as a redistriution event, and there is always someone in need of fresh produce.

May I substitute one variety for another?

We do not allow for substitutions because we need enough produce for everyone. Each up to 70lb produce box includes a particular amount of each variety, for each supporter, in order for each person to get some of everything.

Do you only accept Cash?

Yes. We only accept cash contributions during our Saturday Borderlands' P.O.W.W.O.W. events.

We do offer a limited number of DUTA (box reservations) at several of our locations, and that is processed through an online donation.

How can I find out what varieties of produce you are offering and the locations for the week?

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, visit our Facebook page or click here every late Thursday or Friday afternoon for varieties offered.

What are the hours for Borderlands' P.O.W.W.O.W. events?

Our hours change throughout the season:

  • November - March: 8:00am – 11:00am
  • April & May: 7:00am – 10:00am
  • June-October: 6:00am - 9:00am

Do I have to show up early?

It is at your discretion, however it is first come first serve. If a location runs out of produce we will leave the location early.

Are organic produce available?

Yes, however we will never be able to tell you which location will have organic produce available. Often we will rescue the same variety of produce from 2-3 different distributors with some of it being organic and others not. So we are never able to say which location will get which batch of produce.

Is produce available for composting?

Yes. We will typically have 5% perished produce at each of our Borderlands' P.O.W.W.O.W. locations. Each morning, hours before we are open to the public, volunteers will arrive and begin pre-boxing supporter boxes. As volunteers do this they will sort out any perished produce and set that aside.

When you come to pick-up your up to 70lb produce box, just ask a volunteer if there is also any perished produce for pick-up. We do not request a donation for perished produce, and encourage you to take as much as your animals or gardens need!

Our mission is to supplement meals in Arizona communities with fresh nutritious rescued produce while reducing food waste and methane gas from landfills