Roger Norris Gordon

Cofounder, president, Food Cowboy

Roger Norris Gordon

For refusing to let good food go to waste.


The Problem:

Each year, 43 billion pounds of America’s food supply rots in garbage piles because grocery stores won’t take less-than-perfect produce. Trucking the rejects to the needy is too time consuming and expensive to make donations feasible.

The Epiphany:

Roger Gordon’s brother, Richard, is a trucker. For years, Roger, who was usually near a computer, would help Richard and his friends on the road find homes for their unwanted loads. On one such occasion, while Roger was online studying for the bar exam, he realized that truckers all have smartphones. Mobile logistics could match nearby shelters with unwanted food.

The Execution:

In 2012, the Gordon brothers helped found Food Cowboy, a web-based application in which truckers and shelters fill out relevant information and technology facilitates a match. Finding a home for bruised tomatoes is as simple as sending a text.

The Result:

With hundreds of truckers signed up and more than 500,000 pounds of food saved, Food Cowboy has drawn the attention of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is planning an expo to showcase new systems for handling food waste–and hopefully spark more ideas like the Gordons’.

About the author

Rebecca Greenfield is a former Fast Company staff writer. She was previously a staff writer at The Atlantic Wire, where she focused on technology news.