Since its inception, Hungry Harvest has been working to solve two problems at once–the tremendous amount of food that gets wasted in the United States every single day, and the shocking number of Americans who lack access to healthy food choices.
Hungry Harvest believes grocery delivery should do more than just show up at your door, so they put their service to work fighting food waste & hunger with every delivery. Together with their subscribers, they’ve rescued almost 800,000 lbs pounds of produce in just the two years they’ve been in North Carolina.
Identifying the Problem
Food waste is a bigger problem than most people realize. Each year in the United States, 125 billion pounds of food gets thrown in the trash and ends up in landfills. Globally, food waste produces 176 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, enough to account for 6% of greenhouse gas emissions.
That amount of food could feed 190 million adults on 2,000 calories per day. Meanwhile, 20% of Americans find themselves food insecure.
It’s not just the amount of food either. Even when people have access to food, it’s not always healthy. In the United States, more than 25.3 million people live in food deserts, without reliable access to fresh, healthy food.
That’s something Evan Lutz set out to change when he founded Hungry Harvest in 2014 in the basement of his University of Maryland dorm.
How It Works
To combat food waste, Hungry Harvest rescues fresh fruits, vegetables, and grocery staples that would otherwise go to waste due to surplus, or arbitrary cosmetic standards for size, shape, or color at retail. This work also helps ensure that farmers get paid a fair wage for their full harvest.
The company then curates that food into weekly customizable “Harvest Boxes.” Hungry Harvest offers subscription boxes in a variety of sizes and options, including organic ranging from $15-$42.
In addition, subscribers can get a new mix of produce each week or customize their order for free by mixing and matching produce to make sure they get the right Harvest for the way they cook. Subscribers can also choose to supplement their harvest with pantry items and kitchen staples through the company’s Add On Marketplace.
Every box saves at least 10 pounds of produce from going to waste and supports the work of local hunger-solving organizations as well as Hungry Harvest’s own food access initiatives.
Hungry Harvest Makes a Difference in the Triangle
Here in North Carolina, 1 in 7 people suffer from food insecurity, a number that has risen since the start of the pandemic. In response to the coronavirus, Hungry Harvest started an emergency box food program in Baltimore and have since worked to expand their efforts to all of their markets.
Earlier this year, Hungry Harvest worked to bring their emergency boxes to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district. The company helped deliver fresh produce to families in need, many affected by the effects of COVID-19. That’s especially important in Orange County, which claims some of the country’s highest rates of income inequality. 10lb produce boxes were distributed to 250 kids in the district each week between July and August 2020. In total, they provided more than 1,500 boxes.
Since September 14, Hungry Harvest has worked to support PORCH Chapel Hill, a local grassroots hunger-relief organization. The non-profit collects food and cash donations through food drives and then distributes food to hundreds of at-risk families in the surrounding area.
Hungry Harvest has provided 275 30-lb boxes of produce to help supplement their food distribution and will continue that effort in October.
Hungry Harvest also makes several donations of food each month to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle in Raleigh, an organization that works to combat hunger in North Carolina. They have also made contributions in Durham.
The company continues to look for ways to help close the food security gap around the state and provide North Carolinians with inexpensive, healthy produce in convenient weekly deliveries. As a company, solving two problems at once is their business model, but they want to be clear that as consumers, people can do that on an individual level, too.
“Where we choose to get our food is more powerful than we think,” says CEO and Founder of Hungry Harvest, Evan Lutz. “Supporting mission-driven businesses is an easy first step in creating sustainable change for the health of our planet and our communities.”
Looking to receive fresh, healthy produce every week and help others do the same? Hungry Harvest is offering INDY readers a chance to try their subscription at a discounted rate. Just head over to their website using this link and enter the code INDY30 for a 30% discount at checkout.