- Author: Janet Hartin
Until recently, about 50% of commercially-grown produce in the USA was discarded including over six billion pounds of produce rejected due to poor appearance by grocery stores (all while about 15% of Americans are chronically hungry).
Two large US-based food chains (Wal-Mart and Whole Foods) have officially joined the cause. Walmart stocks ‘weather dented' apples at certain piloted stores in the Southeast. These once considered wallflowers are popular and moving well! "We're excited to announce that after months of discussion, we're selling a brand of apples from Washington state, called "I'm Perfect," blogged Shawn Baldwin, senior vice president for global food sourcing, produce and floral for Wal-Mart U.S. He added: "We're proud to be the first retailer to bring these apples to you." The apples are being sold in 2- and 5-pound bags, he says. (My editorial comment is ‘great, but buy or grow local whenever you can as well.')
Some folks consider this trend part of the newer and cooler “No Waste” food movement while others have embraced eating imperfect looking produce for decades, knowing the health and environmental benefits of eating less than beautiful produce. And, research has shown repeatedly that we're much more likely to eat what we grow rather than toss it into the compost pile, aiding the cause.
Recent figures confirm the popularity of growing food at home with about 33 percent of households reporting growing at least one food type at home. Home gardeners are definitely part of the solution as we move into the future, from the perspective of solving major social and environmental issues related to food waste and negative impacts on food security, transport, and wate.
What do our Cooperative Extension neighbors have to say on the subject? Check out the winner of the Ugly Fruit Contest submitted by Sue Hochstein of Boothbay Harbor, Maine in the University of Maine Cooperative Extension contest in Cumberland County (tomato at the top). Read more here: https://extension.umaine.edu/cumberland/blog/2016/10/27/ugly-fruit-vegetable-photo-contest-winner/
I know I'm singing to the choir but please help spread the word!