Imperfect in the Community: Project Free Farmer's Market!
On any given Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Imperfect's San Francisco headquarters look a little different. The warehouse is still busy packing your boxes and Reilly is dreaming up new food puns, but you'll also find a bustling Free Farmer's Market just outside of our office. This project is the brainchild of Larry Mitchell and Andre Vinent -- two longtime, beloved Imperfect operations team members -- with help from Marlana Malerich and Jessie McDowell from our outreach team.
Across all of our markets, Imperfect donates thousands of pounds of produce to food banks, schools, soup kitchens, and the like -- around 12,000 lbs each week, conservatively. Yet Larry and Andre kept noticing that even after the food banks came to pick up produce, there was still a lot of perfectly edible produce left behind.
Inspired by the opportunity presented by these leftover fruits and vegetables, Andre and Larry decided to create a Free Farmer's Market next to our office and warehouse in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco. They saw the opportunity to give back to the local community that graciously welcomed us ten months ago. When asked about the project, Mitchell said:
"When I saw some homeless people around the warehouse, I decided to put our produce out there and see what happened. It's important to give back to the community so we can put Imperfect in a whole new category. Yes, we're fighting food waste, saving water, and helping global warming...but we always want to help our local community too."
Through our Free Farmer's Market in Bayview, Imperfect provides our community with 7,000 lbs of produce each week. While we have our regulars, excited to see what we're offering each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we're always welcoming new faces as well. Mitchell added that he hopes the project will expand further:
"I would like to see the word spread even more. I want this to be the first place people come when they need good fruits and vegetables. I want them to come over here and enjoy some produce."
At the end of the day, employee stories like this remind us that our mission is so much bigger than just selling boxes of vegetables. Ultimately, you can't talk about reducing waste without also talking about reducing hunger in our communities, and we never want to lose touch with that reality. We're grateful to you reading this for giving us the opportunity to grow and reach new cities and communities. Making fresh produce more affordable and accessible is a central part of our mission and we look forwarding to bringing you more stories like this one going forward! Stay tuned for a chat with Andre Vinent about his fantastic work in our community.