Being Less Picky about Your Produce

Three "ugly" carrots.  Eating imperfect produce helps fight climate change.
Eating one of these helps fight climate change!

In last week’s blog, I mentioned this Project Drawdown/CNN quiz on the most effective ways we can combat climate change. A surprising result was the importance of reducing food waste: it’s one of the top five solutions, and the top solution you can easily do something about. And you could have a major impact just by being less picky about your produce. (Skip to the bottom to learn how!)

Farms are a Major Source of Waste

We waste food at several key places along the “supply chain.” A huge source of waste occurs on our farms, but farmers aren’t causing it – we are.

A third of the food raised or prepared does not make it from farm or factory to fork.

Project Drawdown

You know how you like choosing the pretty mushrooms without brown spots or that lovely round, crisp apple at the grocery store? Our desire for the best produce contributes to the 20 billion pounds of produce wasted on American farms each year. Yes, that’s billion with a B!

Graph showing the sources of food waste in the US.  Farms create 20B pounds of food waste a year.

Wasting Food Adds to Climate Change

Wasting food leads to unnecessary carbon emissions from:

  • the extra energy used to create the food
  • the extra water needed
  • the additional waste sitting in landfills

Food is the number one thing in America’s landfills, and it contributes more to climate pollution than all of the cars in Georgia. Luckily, we can fix it.

What Can You Do?

You can help fix this problem by:

  • Buying the “ugly produce” brand at your local grocery store. Kroger is supposed to be launching “Pickuliar Picks” this year, specifically to try to reduce food waste.
  • Subscribing to a service to deliver “ugly produce” to your home. We use Imperfect Produce: the food is delicious, prices are good, and we have a lot of flexibility when we order. Companies offering these services include Full Harvest, Misfits Market, and others.
  • Joining your area Community Supported Agriculture service to pick up direct-from-farm produce from a designated spot. Often the subscriptions are cheaper than store-bought produce, and you get the bonus of trying new types of vegetables.
  • Using your local farmers market.

Overachievers’ Corner

Turns out that the “ugly produce” business is controversial. There’s a thoughtful article from the Atlantic Monthly here.

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