Buy a Juice, Donate Produce
South Block's Fruitful Planet initiative is tackling food insecurity.
Fresh fruits and vegetables can be hard to come by in neighborhoods without access to grocery stores, often referred to as “food deserts.” That’s partly what prompted South Block founder Amir Mostafavi last fall to create Fruitful Planet, a nonprofit that provides fresh produce to underprivileged communities. The spinoff was, shall we say, low-hanging fruit for the entrepreneur, whose cold-pressed juice bars (now numbering 10 in Virginia and the District) already had the necessary supply channels set up.
Fruitful Planet started distributing produce last winter. When the coronavirus arrived in the D.C. area, food insecurity spiked and demand for the nonprofit’s offerings accelerated. As of Sept. 1, the organization had contributed nearly 33,000 pounds of fresh fruits and veggies to food distribution efforts run by Arlington Public Schools, the Arlington Food Assistance Center and DC Central Kitchen, among others.
Customers who frequent South Block are part of the equation. The juice bar’s “Juice It Forward” campaign contributes 5% of all juice sales to Fruitful Planet. By year’s end, Mostafavi estimates, Fruitful Planet will have raised roughly $100,000 (via juice sales, local grants and direct donations) in support of its vitamin-packed mission.