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2018 in Review: A Letter from Imperfect’s Co-Founders

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Co-founders Ben Chesler and Ben Simon are deeply grateful for you and your support of Imperfect this holiday season.

Co-founders Ben Chesler and Ben Simon are deeply grateful for you and your support of Imperfect this holiday season.

Dear Imperfect Community,

At Imperfect, we wake up every day focused on eliminating food waste in the world and building a better food system for everyone. As the year winds down, we can’t help but reflect on what an incredible year 2018 has been for our company and our community. With your help, we’ve recovered and donated more produce, and had a larger impact on our food system than ever before. Here’s what we’re particularly proud of:

Together, we:

  • Recovered over 25 million pounds of produce

  • Donated 1.5 million pounds of produce to our food bank partners

  • Brought our mission to one new coast, four new states, and seven new cities

  • Grew our reduced cost box program to over 8,500 individuals and families, with our subsidy equaling a donation of more than $100,000 to food accessibility every month

  • Helped create hundreds of good jobs across our country that pay at the 75th percentile, with full benefits and an equity stake in the company for all full-time employees

While Imperfect helped facilitated this, it was ultimately you, our community, who made this impact. Someone said to us recently, “We’re not building a company. We’re building a movement.”

We know that this year, the effects of climate change hit close to home for many of us. Our hearts go out to the victims of the Northern and Southern California wildfires as well as Hurricanes Michael and Florence. Sadly, these events weren’t isolated. As we traveled around the country to visit our growing team, a major theme was that almost every single region we visited has experienced strange and severe weather events and natural disasters unlike any that came before. Recent reports have made it clear that we’re running short on time to act. With reducing food waste as the 3rd highest leverage action the world can take to stop global warming, we’re more committed than ever to building a model that can scale to someday recover the 20 billion pounds of produce wasted each year on farms. Whether it’s recovering produce through your boxes each week, volunteering at events or spreading the word about Imperfect, we appreciate you being such a central part of helping us realize this mission.

Now that the year is almost over, we’re not planning on resting on our laurels and eating carrots. Here’s our vision for 2019:

  • Grow Imperfect nationwide
    We’ll grow and build community in more cities–not only does this mean more of your friends will get ugly produce, but that more food banks will receive food, more living wage jobs will be created, and more farmers will be rewarded for their full harvest. We’ll also be rolling out cool new grocery items next year to help you save more money, fight waste and save you more trips to the grocery store.

  • Get more produce to those that need it most
    We’ll grow our reduced-cost box program as we expand nationwide. It’s important to us to make sure nobody is priced out of fresh produce. Next year, the additional 33% off we give to thousands of lower-income customers each week will amount to the equivalent of around a $2.5M donation to the cause of food accessibility.

  • Provide new support for small, local nonprofits
    We got our start in the nonprofit world. We know how critical these organizations are in building a better food system and we want to give back as Imperfect grows. That’s why we’re excited to announce that in 2019 we’ll be starting a foundation to fund community-based nonprofits that advance our mission of eliminating food waste and building a better food system for everyone. We hope to make our first grants this time next year. Stay tuned for more details and how your favorite food justice organizations can apply for grants!

At Imperfect, we don’t pretend to have the single best answer to the vast challenge of reinventing our food system. We’re doing our small part, which, when combined with the important work of so many others working to address food waste, climate change, and hunger in the world, will help make the world a better place for everyone—today and for future generations. Thank you for doing your part.

We look forward to continuing our important work together in 2019 and far beyond.

With Love and Produce,

-Ben Simon and Ben Chesler,

Co-founders of Imperfect

2 Comments

  • Lynn Ackerman
    December 9, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    So proud of you guys and happy to be a part of this movement. Plus you have my family eating types of produce I wouldn’t think to pick up at the store. Lots of pomegranate seeds this winter!

    Reply
  • G. Gable
    December 10, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Hello Ben and Ben – I love this service – one thing that bus me: the cardboard boxes. I’d love to find a packaging solution that is more environmentally friendly. I’m referring to the cardboard boxes that cannot be re-used by Imperfect Produce.

    One possible solution is to use per-existing crates that can be re-used over and over (and cleaned between uses) – these crate; another way is for produce to be delivered into a box that the customer sets out to receive the delivery? For example, produce is separated into crates rather than cardboard boxes and each crate is carried to the door, where a customer’s own box sits ready to be filled. The driver places the produce in the customer’s box and carries the crate away for cleaning and re-use.

    I believe there has to be a better delivery method that is 100% environmentally friendly…I think we just need to think outside the box and see what’s possible.

    Thanks for your time,
    G.G.

    Reply

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