In our latest episode of NothingWasted!, we chat with Jasmine Crowe, CEO of Goodr. Goodr believes that hunger is not a scarcity issue but a logistics issue.
So, the company’s model aims to provide a triple-win solution by improving an organization’s bottom line through charitable tax donations, reducing its greenhouse emissions from landﬁlls, and getting its edible surplus food to local communities in need.
We spoke with Crowe about using technology to solve food waste, the amazing ways Goodr pivoted during the pandemic, advice for women founders, and more!
Here’s a sneak peek into the discussion:
Waste360: Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up at Goodr?
Crowe: My story is a very organic one. I was feeding people who were homeless on the streets of Atlanta, as well as senior citizens who were experiencing hunger because they didn’t have enough income. I did this for about three-and-a-half years until a video of one of my pop-up restaurants under a bridge here in Atlanta went viral on Facebook. I woke up one morning to thousands of friend requests and comments, and millions of views for this 15-second clip. One of the peculiar things people kept saying was, “ This is so amazing; which restaurants donated the food?” And the truth was nobody. I was couponing; taking $5-10 donations; purchasing, cooking, serving, and cleaning up all this food. But as I saw that question, I was thinking how cool would it be if I could get that food donated, and how many more people could I feed?
Waste360: Wow, so what did you do next?
Crowe: I basically started Googling, “What happens to extra food at the end of the night for restaurants?” and, lo and behold, I learned all about food waste and was blown away. This simple Google search is really what got me started on this journey. I just couldn’t believe that so much food was going to waste while so many people were going hungry, and that really was the impetus behind Goodr.
Waste360: So, you saw a massive problem and figured out a way to make it work. How was that process?
Crowe: It was definitely a tough process. I’m not a technical founder, but I wanted to use technology to solve this problem. I spent as much time as I could just learning and researching as much as I could about food waste, hunger, and the waste industry as well, because I knew I was entering that space. A lot of people will say how successful Goodr is, but we are still relatively new and we need people to understand and believe in it.
Waste360: How did the pandemic affect your work?
Crowe: It definitely impacted my work, so much so that I remember March 8, 2020 like it was yesterday. That was when Georgia went on lockdown, and I remember thinking, like, “We’re going to go out of business.” Because our focus was on customers who had large amounts of food in one location — airports, convention centers, arenas, colleges, theme parks, etc. So, with social distancing and having large venues closing, I was afraid we wouldn’t make it through. But I thought to myself, “You know how to be a helper; think about all the businesses closing and people who will be without work and need your help.” We asked businesses who were shutting down to donate their excess food, and so many people reached out to us. I also asked if people on social media if they would sponsor pick-ups. We ended up getting about a million pounds in the first month or so, clearing out entire stadiums, colleges, and other large venues.