Local Lips is a online and IRL series dedicated to highlighting women in the DMV, affecting change and impacting their communities, done in partnership between BYT & Becky Waddell of Take Care Shop. Our next Local Lips event is April 17 (it is sold out, but sign up for the BYT newsletter to not miss any future event updates!-ed) and today we get to share an interview with one of our panelists this month, Ann Yang – founder of Misfit Juicery.
Misfit offers a new way of thinking about, and fighting, food waste—20 billion pounds of fruits and veggies go unharvested or unsold every year in the U.S. and it’s time that changes. Ann and her partner started as two college kids in one kitchen, with a borrowed blender and four crates of ugly peaches. They now distribute their product up and down East Coast. A founding member of Pineapple Collaborative, Ann is one of the most visible, engaged, always smiling faces of the D.C. food community and it is our pleasure to share some of her thoughts and drive here:
all photos: Leah Beilhart
1. Tell us about yourself! Who are you and how are you engaging with the community?
Hi! Hey! Hello! My name is Ann Yang and I am the co-founder of Misfit Juicery. At Misfit we make delicious products out of supply chain inefficiencies. Our first product is a line of cold-pressed juices made out of “misfit” fruits and veggies and scrap waste that would otherwise not make it to market because they are the wrong size, shape or color to be sold at grocery stores. Reducing food waste is one of the top three ways we can fight climate change, and it takes up 21% of our landfill volume and wastes 25% of our freshwater resources. At Misfit we like to say that we are celebrating misfits in agriculture and in life, because who hasn’t felt out of place or like an oddball at some point?
People are the most important thing in the entire world to me! And I truly do mean that, my personal relationships are the foundation of my life. I believe that entrepreneurship is actually an activity in learning how to build community well. Misfit’s success (and we still have so so much more to learn and do) is built upon 1000 favors of people we love.
I grew up in a low income household and am grateful to have graduated debt free through a scholarship from the Gates Foundation. Without that scholarship I wouldn’t financially be able to be an entrepreneur. As a result, one of my biggest passions outside of building a better food system is to help underrepresented minorities pursue entrepreneurship.
2. What inspires you out DC? How has your location shaped your work?
DC is a place where people want to be change agents. People move here because they want to use their creative work to build a better world and I think that’s really inspiring. I talk to artists who are making documentaries about the refugee crisis, and entrepreneurs who are building software for a better education system, and musicians who are redesigning the sound experience in hospitals for chronically ill patients. I think people in DC understand how to talk about race, class and gender and I think that’s very unusual and powerful.
3. What does taking care of yourself look like for you? What’s your favorite way to unwind?
Exercise, sleep and food and people I love are all keys to my happiness! I know it sounds so simple but moving my body every day and eating things that are nourishing and calling the people I love to tell them I love them are my favorite things. If I am feeling completely out of whack it’s usually because one of those things is off-track. I also really really love to dance! In my pajamas! By myself! Usually to Drake. Or Cardi B. Or Maggie Rogers. Ask my roommate, she has some pretty incriminating information.
4. What color did you select for your lips and why? What’s your typical color and how does wearing lip color impact your style/day/vibes/etc?
I love a bold lip color! I don’t wear a ton of makeup but lipstick actually! A red or coral lip makes me feel instantly put together even if I feel like a mess inside.