Food and drink / Health / Pitches / Startups

This Well City Challenge participant has a plan to launch a plant-based food subscription box in West Philly

The business model is centered around healthy eating, virtual cooking classes and community.

Preparing a plant-based meal. (Photo courtesy of Get Fresh Daily)

Get Fresh Daily’s Jiana Murdic had been addressing healthy eating and plant-based foods with children and their families in Black and brown communities for a few years before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The founder is a former teacher who noticed that there was a link between how her students were eating and how they behaved. She left her job to pursue consulting work with schools, creating programs for healthy eating within the school building and with kids at her camp series. But when COVID-19 came to the region, all of that work had to go virtual.

Murdic is now exploring how four-year-old org Get Fresh Daily could focus on millennials, which are the subjects of the Well City Challenge, an incubator focusing on the health and wellness of this population in Philadelphia. Late last year, the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and Independence Blue Cross put out a call for solutions addressing this issue in three categories: community and social connection, food and nutrition, and mind/body.

And now Murdic and partner Britney Norman have spent the last several weeks refining their idea for a plant-based, shelf-stable food subscription box that would center the families receiving them around healthy food and their community.

The virtual component stemmed from the pandemic, and as the West Philly community was strained for resources during the protests over the summer. Murdic said she was able to reroute some of her grant money for the org to get fresh food delivered to people’s homes directly. But she wanted to go a step further.

“I didn’t want to just leave it there,” the founder said. “There’s a lot of ways to get people to access fruits and vegetables, but just because you have a bag of produce doesn’t mean you’re going to eat it in a healthy way.”

So she launched virtual cooking classes for plant-based recipes every Saturday night where families can cook new recipes together and engage with others in the community.

Through the Well City Challenge, the duo has refined their product to be a subscription box service that provides all the add-ons to these recipes, including items like oat milk, raw cashews, nutritional yeast or other plant-based ingredients that are tougher to find. The box would include the shelf-stable ingredients, recipes for four meals each month, access to the virtual cooking classes, and a spot in West Philly for box pick-up and community engagement.

Murdic and Norman will pitch alongside the five other Well City Challenge participants on Wednesday, March 3, at 5:150 p.m. in the food and nutrition category; watch here. (There are also others competing in the community and social connection category, and the mind/body category). Judges will select one team from each category to receive a prize of $10,000 to support a pilot of their concept. There will also be a people’s choice award of up to $7,500 in each category.

The winners chosen in these rounds will go on to participate in an impact accelerator to develop these projects and potentially gain seed investments up to $50,000. Even if Get Fresh Daily don’t win, Murdic said she intends to launch the subscription box service.

“I want to make sure Black millennials are included in this conversation. They are people traditionally left out of these conversations,” she said. “I’m hopeful that the judges and other folks there will realize this isn’t just a concept or a fun idea — this is what people have been telling me they need.”

Companies: Economy League of Greater Philadelphia / Independence Blue Cross

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