As millions of Americans go hungry, restaurants across the country keep throwing away perfectly good food every day. It’s a troubling problem that social entrepreneur Jasmine Crowe hopes to solve—at least in the Atlanta area—with a mission-driven business called Goodr that uses technology to feed the hungry and reduce food waste.
Aside from the disturbing moral and ethical implications of tossing edible food in dumpsters, Crowe realized that, from the perspective of a business owner, wasted food is wasted money. She founded Goodr as a food waste management company that helps businesses measure and reduce food waste, keep track of surplus food and earn tax savings while helping address the problem of food insecurity.
“Hunger is not an issue of scarcity. It’s a matter of logistics,” Crowe explained to Black Enterprise. “At Goodr, we’re solving the surplus food supply chain problem, ensuring the safe delivery of this food from businesses that have it to nonprofit organizations and people that need it, all while allowing businesses for the first time to be able to track, account, and earn from their donations. We focus on connecting the business and the nonprofit, and our logistics platform is what we built that does that for us.”
That logistics platform, an app called Blockchain, serves as a secure ledger. It allows companies to track the donations of their surplus food while taking advantage of significant tax deductions using Goodr’s IRS-compliant form. The platform provides predictive data to improve purchasing and make better production decisions, which helps reduce food waste. It also provides analytics on food waste, calculates tax savings for the food donated by Goodr’s clients and measures the community impact of their donations.
As for the food itself, Goodr picks up donated food from the individual client businesses and delivers it to nonprofits, who then get it into the hands of hungry people. According to Forbes, Goodr’s clients include Turner Broadcasting Systems, Georgia World Congress Center and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, among others.
Crowe has been working to help feed the hungry and the food-insecure since she first moved to Atlanta six years ago. “I was just driving through downtown and saw hundreds of people that were experiencing homelessness on the streets,” she told Black Enterprise. “I felt really compelled that I had to do something.”
For starters, she began cooking and serving meals to the homeless, first in the streets and later in a pop-up restaurant called Sunday Soul that provided five-course meals to the homeless and hungry. She estimates she served more than 80,000 meals to the food-insecure since 2013. But she wasn’t getting any help from local businesses to pay for all that food.
“When a video from one of my pop-up restaurants went viral, I saw a lot of people asking me which restaurants and grocery stores donated the food, and the reality was that the answer was zero,” she recalled to Forbes in 2018. “It got me thinking, why don’t these restaurants and businesses donate food? This is when I started thinking of solutions to get this food to people in need. I knew there had to be a better way, and I saw technology as the conduit to the change I wanted to create.”
Meanwhile, Crowe was also struck by the proliferation of food delivery companies like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Postmates. “It dawned on me that we were spending millions of dollars to create new technologies to get food to people who never have issues with access to food, but what were we doing with all the millions of people that are never knowing where their next meal is coming from?” Crowe told Black Enterprise.
Crowe sees Goodr as, first and foremost, a food waste management company, but it’s a company that uses surplus food as food should be used—to feed people, not rats in a landfill. “The businesses are already paying somebody to throw the food away,” she said in the Black Enterprise interview. “There’s always a fee that’s being paid to eliminate trash.”
Crowe’s business model creates a win-win-win: Goodr turns a profit while empowering other businesses to better serve their communities and feed the hungry—and reap tax rewards for doing the right thing. In the Forbes interview, Crowe said Goodr has diverted more than 1 million pounds of food from landfills while creating more than 940,000 meals for the hungry. “We’ve created programs like our pop-up grocery stores [and] a neighborhood eats program [and] created access to food [for] thousands of people who were faced with going to bed hungry simply because of transportation barriers that prevented people from accessing food.”