Vindeket Foods, local author open dialogue about food insecurity


Photo Courtesy of Abi Eaton

Samy Gentle, News Reporter

The first time Fort Collins resident Gina Soldano-Herrle shopped at Vindeket Foods, she was worried she might have been taking the free food away from people who needed it more. That was before she realized the true purpose of the nonprofit organization: fighting food waste.

Vindeket Foods works with grocery stores, restaurants and farms to rescue food that can no longer be sold because it is past its best-by date. Instead of being thrown in the trash, the still-good food ends up at Vindeket


“Because of Vindeket, my own home has had more access to fresh, organic produce and other foods we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford.” -Gina Soldano-Herrle, Vindeket Foods volunteer

Soldano-Herrle’s experience at Vindeket inspired her to join their team of volunteers. After months of work, she was motivated to embark on her own journey to share the messages about food waste, and she began to work on writing a children’s book about food scarcity, sharing the Vindeket message. 

“I know for a fact (Vindeket Foods) feeds hundreds of people every Tuesday, and because of Vindeket, my own home has had more access to fresh, organic produce and other foods we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford,” Soldano-Herrle wrote in an email to The Collegian. 

Soldano-Herrle’s book, titled “Nia’s Rescue Box,” will be a picture book for kids ages 4-7 years old that introduces the idea of food waste and food insecurity, according to the Kickstarter page. 

Soldano-Herrle began writing in September 2022 and from there attempted to get interest from agents and editors with little overall success.

Last month, I decided I was tired of waiting for someone to green light the story, so I took it into my own hands,” Soldano-Herrle said. “I approached Nathan, the guy behind Vindeket, and told him about my book. He was immediately on board and has been extremely supportive and enthusiastic about the project.”

To pay for an illustrator for her book as well as self-publishing fees, Soldano-Herrle started a Kickstarter campaign on April 7 with a goal of $3,000.

She found her illustrator, Abi Eaton, through a local art contest she held. 

“Through using found materials and so much more, (Eaton) brought not only my words but the heart of this story to life through her art,” Soldano-Herrle said. 

The heart of this story in question is her desire to open the conversation about food insecurity to adults and children alike, spread the message of Vindeket Foods and perhaps even inspire the creation of more food rescue organizations.


Food rescue and reducing food waste have held an important place in Soldano-Herrle’s life.

“My older sibling actually got me into dumpster diving, and I still remember how they frequently had a freezer full of bagels from their Panera Bread dumpster dives,” Soldano-Herrle said. “The workers there double-bagged the bagels before tossing them in the trash, almost as if they knew. … I can still remember the way those Asiago cheese bagels tasted … just as good as any other bagel.”

Through her book, Soldano-Herrle hopes to normalize the rescue of viable food and have an impact on food insecurity. 

“It can feel embarrassing to ask for help — at least, that has been my experience,” Soldano-Herrle said. “But through normalizing this conversation, we can bring it out into the open along with viable solutions like organizations along the lines of Vindeket Foods.”

Reach Samy Gentle at or on Twitter @samy_gentle_.