Globally, 46% of produce never makes it from farm to fork. In the U.S., with 20% of produce not leaving the farm simply due to cosmetic imperfections, the problem begins at harvest and the ripple effect of this waste is deep reaching. Here are a few examples of the detrimental social, environmental, and economic impact of this waste:
- Wasted food produces 14% of greenhouse gases in the U.S.
- 25% of fresh water in the U.S. is used to produce food that never gets eaten
- 1 in 6 Americans are food insecure, while 40% of food produced is wasted
- The price of fresh food is being driven up due to demand, yet waste constrains supply
Full Harvest, one of our trusted produce partners, is working vehemently to affect positive change in this massive food waste epidemic. Christine Moseley, Full Harvest’s founder/CEO, and her team are aiming to put a dent into the 20 billion pounds of cosmetically imperfect and unharvested produce that is wasted each year.
We had the opportunity for a Q & A with Christine about her inspiration and vision, as well as what we can each do as individuals to help solve this massive problem!
How did you first become exposed to the concept of wasted produce and what inspired you to start Full Harvest?
After helping to scale a cold-pressed juice company in NYC, I became passionate about making healthy food products more affordable for everyone. Two years ago, I moved out to CA to find a way to lower costs along the supply chain.
That’s when I came across a food waste report that stated how massive the U.S. food waste problem was and how much it affects our environment. After going to farms and seeing the waste first-hand, I decided to start Full Harvest to solve this huge problem at the source.
What is your complete vision for the future of Full Harvest?
Our vision at Full Harvest is a world where there is 0% food waste and 100% ‘full harvests’, where all edible produce grown goes towards consumption. We aim to reinvent the food system so that any food or beverage company that doesn’t need to care what produce looks utilizes imperfect and surplus produce to the fullest extent possible.
What is the best thing that a consumer can do in order to do their part in minimizing food waste?
Consumers can play a large part in helping to solve food waste as they are the largest culprits. First, they can make sure to buy products that are made with sustainable ingredients, especially imperfect and surplus produce.
Second, they can buy imperfect produce at the grocery store and not be so picky about aesthetics. Lastly, a quick, easy change is to always bring home leftovers. If nothing else, hand it to a homeless person so they can eat it since 1 in 7 people in the U.S. are food insecure.
In your learning about our food system, what has surprised you most?
I was shocked to find that there are 20 billion pounds of produce that go to waste each year simply because they aren’t perfectly shaped for grocery stores. This is unacceptable, especially given how much of our valuable resources (water, soil, etc.) went into growing them.
What are you most excited for in regards to the future of Full Harvest?
We are very excited about the value we see that our company is bringing to the entire food chain. It really is a win-win-win for everyone, which means at scale, we can truly fundamentally change our food system for the better.
Do you believe that “imperfect produce” will become accepted into the mainstream in the future? If so, what do you think it would take for us to get there?
Yes, I believe this is the future of the food system. We have no choice but to take urgent measures to reduce the massive amount of food waste we have unfortunately allowed to get so out of hand. It is all of our duty to each do our part- for the environment, for the economy and for society.
Where do you buy your own produce?
I buy my produce from my local farmer’s market or neighborhood Whole Foods and always make sure to buy the ‘ugly’ produce when I see it. Have to give all produce a chance!