If you read up on how the biotech community wants us to embrace genetically modified organisms and their associated toxic herbicides in order to "feed our growing population", one would think that as the numbers of the human race increase, we are in trouble of not having enough food to go around.
That's what they would like us to believe. This couldn't be further from the truth.
According to the World Resources Institute, we waste an astounding 1.3 billion metric tons, or approximately 1/3 of our food supply each year. And according to JoAnne Berkenkamp, a senior advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council, “When you look at our food system farm to fork, a stunning 52% of all produce in the US goes uneaten,” That is enough food to feed 2 billion people and then some. How is this possible?
One of the reasons is our desire to have that perfect piece of produce. Current industry standards reject any fruit or vegetable for an array of reasons, from mild discoloration, inadequate size or slightly miss-shapen.
What can you do?
- Ask your grocery store produce manager if they sell their "less than desirable" looking produce. Often they will have these items at a reduced price. You are getting the same organic produce and a conventional price. If they don't carry the "ugly fruit", ask them to start supplying it.
- The same can be done at local farmers markets. You can also talk to the farmer and see if you could buy some of their products by the case. Once these organic foodstuffs are minced and chopped to put into dishes or are prepared to be put up for the coming winter, you won't be able to tell the difference.
- If the above options are unavailable to you for whatever reason, there is a website, Imperfect Produce where you can have a CSA-type box of organic produce delivered to your door for less-than-organic prices. Check out their website for delivery areas.
Jordan Figueiredo, Writer, Speaker and Anti-Food Waste Activist from Castro Valley, California states it perfectly:
"When I found out that somewhere between 20 and 40% of all fresh produce is wasted before arriving at the stores, mostly due to cosmetics, I had to do something about it. It's hard to wrap your head around the number 20% of all produce but it equates to roughly 20 billion pounds in the U.S. What this means is that farmers all over the U.S. have to basically leave a good portion of their crop and plow it under because they cannot sell it due to ridiculous supermarkets cosmetics standards that dictate how "perfect" produce has to look. This despite "ugly" produce being perfectly delicious and nutritious and how nature intended.
So you're supporting farmers in a big way by purchasing "ugly" produce, which sells for 20-50% off, depending on the supermarket. You can also purchase it for full price at farmers markets (they sell it too!). Buying "ugly" produce is a big help to farmers because, one - they can only donate so much produce they can't sell before going broke, two - they often do not get a very good price from companies buying the "Ugly" produce just for juice, or frozen meals or other uses, and three - if they are able to sell more of their crops, they have a more successful business. Farming is a very tough way to make a living and so important. The American Farmland Trust has it spot on with its campaign - No Farms No Food. So support your farmers and buy ugly!"
You can also do other things to save ugly produce. For more, check out his Five Things to Love on The Ugly Produce page.
And remember, true beauty is and always has been on the inside.