Wasted fruit and vegetables are a big problem in the U.S. How big? Big enough to fill four football stadiums to the brim each year.

Hungry Harvest produce

Many perfectly edible fruits and vegetables never even make it to the grocery store simply because they’re blemished, or the wrong color or shape.

So Evan Lutz started a company called Hungry Harvest that buys this otherwise perfectly good produce from local farms and wholesalers.

LUTZ: “We box that stuff up into perfectly delicious variety boxes, and then deliver that to subscribers’ doors once a week year round for discounted prices.”

Evan Lutz
Evan Lutz

Unlike other food rescue groups which rely on donations, Hungry Harvest charges for each box. The profit pays for the business and allows them to donate meals to people in need.

LUTZ: “We’re not doing this to make money, but we are doing this to make a huge impact across the United States, and we think the for-profit model is a much more sustainable way of doing that than the non-profit model.”

”Enough Click To Tweet

Since it launched in 2014, Hungry Harvest has prevented more than half a million pounds of produce from ending up in the landfill.

And with 3,000 subscribers each receiving a box of food, and twice as many on the wait-list, the company is proving that looks aren’t everything. Less-than-perfect fruit and vegetables still taste delicious.

Reporting credit: Justyna Bicz/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Imperfect food photo: Courtesy of Hungry Harvest.

The Series:
Pt 1: Food waste is a global problem (May 30, 2016)
Pt 2: Educating restaurants on how to reduce food waste (May 31, 2016)
Pt 3: Food wasted because it’s not perfect (June 1, 2016)
Pt 4: Rescuing leftover food (June 2, 2016)
Pt 5: What you can do to reduce wasted food (June 3, 2016)

More Resources
Hungry Harvest

Jan O'Brien was assistant editor and website manager at Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. She brought more than three decades of experience in environmental publishing and policy research and more...