Food waste…I know, as soon as you saw the combination of these two words, you thought to yourself ,“Great! Another one of those articles written by a treehugger that’s gonna make me feel bad about the leftover salad I tossed yesterday”.
While I can’t guarantee that you won’t feel bad about your actions you have made in the past with regard to food, I want to share something that might make you feel hopeful.
The kind of idea that might make you say “Ah, I can see myself trying that out!”
That idea is: Subscription-based produce delivery services.
Grocery delivery services is not a new idea. Even giant nationwide chain stores like Walmart and Safeway offer options like these. But some start-ups are tackling this industry from a different angle and in doing so, they are making some positive development.
Imperfect produce, Hungry Harvest, Misfits Market: they all cater to finding a home for ‘ugly’ produce. Meaning, they only sell produce that didn’t meet the quality standard to be sold in conventional grocery stores simply because they look “too weird”. They may be too big or disproportionate. Who knew vegetables had beauty standards, right?
In spite of their looks, they are perfectly fresh and delicious. Just like all the other produce you see at a local grocery store which is neatly stacked in pyramid shapes and occasionally get sprayed with that mystical water that scares the bejesus out of me every time
that it happens.
Saving fruit and vegetables from going to waste, or not getting harvested, is the overall goal of these innovative start-ups, but that is not the only charm they cast upon us.
→but here are additional benefits that they bring to us as well.
Because they source directly from farmers and deliver to customers, their price is actually up to 30% lower than that of grocery store.
→their prices are as much as 30% lower than grocery stores.
Imperfect produce offers assorted boxes of produce
from starting at $11 per week, Hungry Harvest at $23.75 and Misfits Market at just $15.
If you are one of those foodies who spend a lot of time eating out, there’s an option to have a bi-weekly subscription.
Fresh, delicious produce delivered to
you our doorstep at an affordable price. It’s like our dream come true!… Only In a perfect world, though.
Unfortunately, we live in a sucky world called “reality” where it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Significant issues like food waste, can not be magically solved with a single solution.
For some time people have been struggling to control food locally and some farmers are concerned about this type of “ugly produce” business structure can only make profit by sourcing from larger global agribusinesses which fuel the already corrupt modern ag system.
Also, some critics point out that ugly produce might not go to fancy grocery stores where only
“Apple watch wearing, Tesla driving people” shop at.
But However, the ugly produce will still be used in canned goods, pies, juice and other processed forms.
After reading several articles that take a harsh stance on these services, I am surprised to find myself still very interested in the concept. It might sound like a naive ideology, but I see this whole “ugly produce service” as a form of gentle environmental activism.
Of course, in an ideal situation, I can shop at a Farmer’s Market to support local producers and help the community thrive. However, the price point it usually not so friendly to a starving artist like myself.
Now, I can choose to ignore the flaws of the entire agricultural system, and continue to shop at the grocery stores that are essentially allowing their produce sources to suck the city of Flint dry. In addition, I could sell a kidney to shop at a farmer’s market every weekend, or I can give these shiny new startups a try.
I don’t have an answer, I don’t have a solution. All I can do is give my attention to this issue and do the best I can. I firmly believe that attention is one of the most valuable resources we do have control over.
→What I do have is an opinion and so do you. Our opinions influence our attention and our attention shapes our actions. I really think we should use the valuable resource of our attention in a way that benefits the environment in which we live.