Jasmine Crowe has provided over 30 million meals to those in need – Here’s how she does it

BY Preta Peace Namasaba April 5, 2024 10:41 AM EDT
Jasmine Crowe. Photo credit: Goodr

The world wastes an estimated 2.5 billion tons of food every year. Leading the way is the United States which discards nearly 60 million tons annually, more food than any other country in the world. Food waste accounts for almost 40 percent of the entire US food supply, accounting for an approximate value of nearly $218 billion – the equivalent of 130 billion meals. Although there is surplus food, nearly 35 million people across America – including 10 million children – suffer from food insecurity. Most businesses would rather dispose of excess food than donate to those in need.

Jasmine Crowe’s food waste management company Goodr is leveraging technology to combat hunger and reduce waste. It has served more than 30 million meals to those in need.

Crowe has long considered herself a do-gooder and dedicated herself to community service acts. She has a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University in Durham and a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Arizona State University. She launched her first company, BCG in 2011 which partnered with celebrities in campaigns to ensure their star power was used for good. Crowe hosted activations in the US, UK, South Africa, and Haiti and has collected and donated over three million items to causes worldwide. BCG fed over 80,000 people through the Sunday Soul Homeless feeding initiative.

“I started Goodr after years of feeding people experiencing homelessness and hunger on the streets of downtown Atlanta. When a video of my work went viral on social media, people began asking me who donated the food, the answer was no one and, as I began to research, I learned more about food waste and became upset. My a-ha moment was understanding that there was too much food going to waste while so many people were going hungry,” Crowe explained the inspiration behind Goodr.

While working as a volunteer for an initiative that feeds senior citizens and people experiencing homelessness in Atlanta, Crowe realized how pervasive a problem hunger is for the city’s poor. She cooked all the food and why restaurants were not able to supply their surplus food instead. After researching food waste, Crowe ass stunned by the amount of food that was going to waste. She had to do something to fix the issue.

In 2017, Crowe launched food waste management company Goodr. She wanted to convey the message of doing good while rescuing and was inspired to add an ‘r’ to the company name. Goodr operates a real-time food rescue app that connects businesses with local charities to arrange deliveries of leftovers to people in need. It uses blockchain technology to keep a data ledger for clients to track their food waste and know where they can save money.

The rising popularity of food delivery apps in Atlanta at the time inspired her to develop Goodr’s technology. Instead of delivering food to people, she wanted to use a similar algorithm to get food faster to people who can not afford delivery services. The company consequently created a mobile app that utilizes the shared gig economy with drivers delivering to nearby nonprofits. The food includes prepared and packaged meals such as sandwiches, salads and fruit cups, chicken, pasta, and steak, among others.

“As a Black female founder of a tech company, it wasn’t an easy feat getting people to believe in my business. I heard ‘no’ so many times, but I didn’t get defeated because what I was fighting for was worth it: I believe that everybody deserves to eat,” Crowe said of the challenges she faced in building Goodr.

However, Crowe had no experience with such technology when she started Goodr. Initially, businesses would text her, tell her they had food and she would pick it up. She entered pitch competitions during the first year of business in an attempt to win prize money to build the technology. By the end of that year, Crowe had raised about $200,000 and was prepared to fulfill her mission to gather and disperse surplus food. Goodr was eventually able to raise an $8 million Series A funding round in 2022.

The company works with over 4,000 nonprofits across the United States. Nonprofits can register on their website for free and get food delivered to them based on the hours when they can receive food. Goodr has worked with Atlanta Airport, the Georgia World Congress Center, Turner Broadcasting Systems, and Pivotal Software to end food insecurity. As of 2024, it has served nearly 32 million meals to those in need and redirected over 28 million pounds of food and organic material away from landfills.

Goodr’s innovative hunger solutions such as pop-up grocery markets, mobile grocery stores, and Goodr grocery stores are addressing food insecurity and hunger on a national scale. Ensuring the dignity of end recipients by eliminating transportation barriers and the stigma that people have when they collect donated food is at the core of its business model.