How Jasmine Crowe is combating hunger with technology. While driving through the downtown streets of Atlanta, anti-hunger activist, social and tech entrepreneur, Jasmine Crowe saw that the homeless community was heavily suffering from food insecurity.
Crowe noticed the homeless scouring for food, so she decided to become involved by creating an event called “Sunday Soul”, a formal pop-up dinner designed for members of the Atlanta homeless community to enjoy Sunday dinner. After garnering significant traction, Crowe expanded the “Sunday Soul” dinners to established events. She was passionate about having the homeless in Atlanta, Washington D.C. and New Orleans dine with dignity while enjoying a 5-course meal, but soon realized there was a larger issue at hand. Crowe noticed she was the sole resource funding the meals and wondered why restaurants within these cities didn’t pitch in with any food donations or efforts. Curious, Crowe began researching the amount of food that restaurants throw away, determined to find a solution.
She believes that hunger is a three-fold problem, social, economic and environmental, so in 2017, Crowe launched Goodr, with hopes to alleviate food insecurity. Goodr is a food-waste management company that redirects surplus food from businesses to nonprofits that can share it with the homeless and families who are food insecure. By using the Goodr app, companies (including Turner Broadcasting Systems, Georgia World Congress Center and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport) can signal that there’s extra food ready to be collected and dispersed. Goodr provides the package and blockchain technology to process the transaction, tracking where the food has been consumed.
Crowe is passionate about solving the logistics surrounding hunger as she believes it’s not a scarcity issue and is dedicated to helping families who suffer from food insecurity.
Dominique Fluker: In January 2017, you launched Goodr, a sustainable food waste management company that leverages technology to combat hunger. What inspired you to create Goodr?
Jasmine Crowe: It was a very organic start. I was inspired to do this work after years of feeding people in need from my kitchen. I would spend up to 40 hours in the span of 3-4 days’ grocery shopping, price matching, couponing and cooking to serve up to 500 people on the streets of Atlanta. 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. 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.
I saw that hunger was not an issue of scarcity there was more than enough food, it was about connecting that surplus with the need. I saw this has a logistics issue and started looking at the shared economy space as a means to get food to people in need the same way Door Dash and Uber Eats were getting food to people that ordered it.
Fluker: Share the impact that you’ve made in Atlanta and beyond since launching Goodr.
Crowe: We have now diverted over one million pounds of food from landfills, who has led to over 940K meals provided to people in need while saving customers money via tax deductions. We’ve created programs like our pop-up grocery stores, a neighborhood eats program, created access to food to thousands of people who were faced with going to bed hungry simply because of transportation barriers that prevented people from accessing food.
Fluker: Not only is the Goodr app is providing a viable solution to ending food insecurity and solving its surplus food chain problem, but Goodr’s blockchain technology also allows companies to donate resources seamlessly. Talk about your thought process and strategy when creating the Goodr app.
Crowe: The example I always share was something that I felt every time I was in the grocery store and they asked me to donate to a food program. The cashier would ask me if I wanted to donate, I would say yes, write my name on a piece of paper, or purchase a bag of food items for a family of four. Then as I would leave the store I would wonder how do I really know this food is going to someone in need? Does this food even leave the store, where’s the impact really happening? So when I first learned of Blockchain, I saw a unique use case with Goodr to be able to show the chain of custody in the delivery of the food, but also be able to show our customers exactly who is receiving their food. We also wanted to make sure our customers had access to a secure ledger for tax purposes.
Fluker: How do you see Goodr expanding in the next 3-5 years?
Crowe: By the end of 2020, my goal for Goodr is to be in 20 cities. By the end of next year, I hope to be in 10 cities, in five years, I’d like to see Goodr everywhere in the United States with launches globally.
Fluker: Give tips for millennials who are passionate about giving back to their communities.
Crowe: My advice to millennials is that we are the change that we’ve been looking for and it’s on us to go out and create programs to change the world. We should be the voice for corporate America, we are the pulse. I encourage us to support businesses that support us.