Between 30 and 40% of the food supply in the United States ends up being wasted. This leads to the loss of billions of dollars and billions of pounds of food. At the same time, more than 10% of American households battle food insecurity. Atlanta woman Jasmine Crowe has made it her mission to address both of these issues at the same time.
Crowe has long been focused on feeding those in need.
She says, “I started feeding people experiencing hunger and homelessness in 2013. Driving through downtown Atlanta, I saw hundreds of homeless people and I decided I wanted to help.”
That led her to launch her Sunday Soul initiative. Through pop-up restaurants, she’d bring five-course meals of soul food to Atlanta residents in need. It later expanded to other cities in the region. Despite managing the effort herself, she was still able to feed 300 to 500 people each week. After a while, she started thinking about how she could get restaurants or other businesses on board with some food donations, rather than purchasing everything herself.
She says, “I did a quick search about what happens to excess food and discovered information about food waste. It was shocking learning about what happens to excess food while so many are going hungry.”
Her desire to address the situation and feed even more people led to the launch of Goodr, a company that directs a business’s surplus food to organizations that feed the food insecure. Goodr arranges pickups and donations to ensure the food gets to where it’s most needed.
Much of this is accomplished with pop-up grocery stores that mirror farmer’s markets.
Crowe says, “We host pop-up grocery stores all throughout the country. We partner with enterprise brands and sports teams and we set up stores in these communities, particularly in food deserts.”
As people visit these stores and pick out food free of charge, it’s not just the communities that are being helped. The effort is also good for the environment. About a quarter of the material in municipal landfills is food. Crowe explains that the issue is a contributing factor to climate change. One of the company’s primary goals is also to address environmental issues caused by food waste. In addition to composting and being carbon neutral, they make drop-offs within five to ten miles of the business where they did the pick-up. For companies concerned about their carbon footprint, this offers a good alternative to hauling their extra food to a landfill.
Inspiring the next generation
Crowe has another important goal, as well: Getting the next generation on board. She’s written a children’s book called Everybody Eats that will hit the shelves on October 26th.
The book tells the story of a girl who volunteers with her family at a food bank. One day, she sees a friend from school come in with her family to pick up food. This spurs her to learn what she can do to help those like her friend and to understand why more people aren’t donating food. She goes out into her community to encourage more people to address hunger.
Crowe says, “My goal with the book is to teach children about hunger and compassion and empathy… I’m excited personally about the rollout of this book. With every purchase of the book, we’re donating proceeds to organizations similar to mine. I’m really excited about getting kids inspired to join this fight.”
With the support of people of all ages, Crowe hopes that Goodr will continue to grow and make its way into cities across the United States, hopefully even expanding to different countries. If you’d like to learn more about the company and how you can get involved, she encourages you to visit their website.Whizzco