Restaurants and hospitality, fitness and healthcare, manufacturing and logistics—the Atlanta BeltLine is home to businesses of all sectors and sizes which choose to locate around the corridor for a myriad of reasons. In this Business on the BeltLine video, we feature GOODR, a food-waste management company that is using technology to combat hunger and food insecurity.
In an unsuspecting loft along the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail sits the headquarters for a bustling, young food-waste management company with bold dreams and a sound strategy to fight hunger and food waste through technology. Launched in 2018, Goodr redirects surplus food from businesses to local charities who can then distribute the food to people facing food insecurity. Thanks to its real-time app, the Goodr model offers a simple, practical solution for businesses to improve their bottom line through charitable tax donations, while reducing their greenhouse emissions from landfills, and positively impacting their local community.
Founder and CEO, Jasmine Crowe, always knew that entrepreneurship would be her path, acquiring job experience even as a young girl, yet her heart was equally committed to doing good and helping others. When a video she posted of one of her pop-up restaurants for the homeless community in Atlanta went viral, the idea for Goodr was born.
“There are more than 72 billion pounds of edible food wasted in the U.S. a year, yet 42 million people are suﬀering from food insecurity. At Goodr, we believe that hunger isn’t a scarcity issue: it’s a logistics issue that can be resolved by connecting surplus food with need, much like Door Dash or Uber Eats,” she explains.
The startup company located their headquarters on the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail as a reflection of their values of sustainability and connectivity. Crowe appreciated the central location and the easy, walkable access to restaurants and greenspaces that her employees could enjoy.
“All of the things that kind of felt very unique about Goodr, we had them here, and it felt perfect.”
With what has grown into a team of about 45 people, all who are paid a fair living wage, this social entrepreneurship has diverted over one million pounds of food from landfills and provided more than 940,000 meals to people in need while saving customers money via tax deductions. Their Atlanta clients include Turner Broadcasting Systems, Georgia World Congress Center and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Prior to COVID-19 hitting the U.S., Crowe had plans to expand operations to some 20 cities by the end of 2020.
“COVID has really been a good thing and a bad thing for GOODR,” Crowe continues.
Confronted with a statewide lockdown with only essential businesses open for service, Crowe and her team pivoted their strategy to lend their strengths to the present urgency of the hour: filling the food gap for families who depended on school lunches for breakfast and lunch yet lacked the reliable transportation to get to food distribution centers.
“It’s one thing to have grab-and-go lunches at your school site, but if you don’t have the bus transportation to get students and families there, how are those kids ever going to get food?”
Refocusing their logistics expertise, Goodr began working with Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and other partner programs to collect the excess food from the grab-and-go programs and then deliver directly to families faced with food insecurity because of transportation barriers. They also restructured their block party style pop-up grocery store program into more of a drive-thru format and created a neighborhood eats program with a special focus on children. Serving some 3,000 families and seniors a week, each delivery includes fresh produce, meat, shelf stable items, milk, and other beverages.
Goodr’s for-profit business model as well as its impact on the community during these unparalleled times have not gone unnoticed. Besides developing several valuable partnerships to help fund the food delivery program—which costs $80 a box—Goodr was awarded a $100,000 from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund.
Encouraged by the boost that the grant provided, Crowe is more determined than ever to expand Goodr’s reach and help more people.
“We can solve hunger differently. We have the ability to get food to massive amounts of people in record time, and once Covid happened, we had the opportunity to do that.”