Pitzer Alumna Saves the Planet One Grocery Store at a Time

Lily Simon '15 has long wavy red hair and wears a yellow top.
Lily Simon ’15

Pitzer College alumna Lily Simon ’15 made food and climate change the heart of her work. She is an account manager at Afresh, a software platform that helps grocery retailers order goods more efficiently and accurately to reduce food waste. According to Simon, this impacts greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption in farming, and gas and transportation.

“That is just the food waste perspective,” said Simon. “Food security and food deserts, which I studied at Pitzer, are a system issue that spans the entire food chain production to consumption. We need more companies that look at the issue holistically.”

Simon engages in storytelling through data and written communications to build relationships with retailers and grow interest in Afresh while supporting her passion for food and the environment.

Upon graduating from Pitzer with a major in environmental analysis and a minor in economics, Simon prioritized supporting herself in a city with a high cost of living, even if it wasn’t in the environmental industry. She found success as a vice president of business development at a knowledge-sharing firm, but now she enjoys the best of both worlds by incorporating her values into her day-to-day work.

Simon started at Afresh the same week as Camille Matonis ’15, another Pitzer alum from the environmental analysis program, which Simon considers “the perfect example of folks having a deeper love for the program and the world.”

From its faculty, to practical projects, to an agricultural economics class, the environmental analysis program with the environmental policy track equipped Simon to think about sustainability in a real-world context.

“Pitzer opened my eyes to issues that I had heard of but couldn’t put into practice,” said Simon. “It showed me the importance of putting awareness into action. That is the heart of a mission-based liberal arts education.”