GRANT #339:

Refresh

03/25/2019
Seeing Beauty (and Profit!) Where Others See Ugly? That’s Our Jam.

Maybe you’ve heard that “ugly produce” is having a moment. Fresh fruits and vegetables have been going to waste because they’re not Instagram-perfect, which makes zero sense. At Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, students run Refresh, a social enterprise that collects those bruised and flawlessly flawed fresh items that would normally go to waste, and transforms them into delicious products like jam.

Third-year student Jordan Wong got hooked when he started making that yummy jam. He’s seen how Refresh’s entrepreneurship is transforming the way people think about food waste and making communities more socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable.

Local grocers have signed on to provide the imperfect produce, and the Refresh volunteers create products and pop-up shops where they sell the goods and share tips on how to stop wasting so much food. (You know you do it too.) Profits go right back into Refresh, researching and testing for future ugly produce products.

The plan is to scale by selling in local grocery stores using a production workforce of people for whom employment is a challenge.

They intend to create a self-sustaining operation that becomes an independent community organization.

Refresh will use this AWB grant for printing materials to give out at their pop-up shops, and maybe create some displays to create awareness of food waste even if people don’t stop to chat. And they need to do official testing for nutritional labeling.

Check out Refresh here (and follow them on Instagram!), and remember to look for the beauty in everything. Some of us are pretty banged up on the outside too, but that doesn’t mean we’re not wonderful once you get past our looks.