It’s hard to see food go to waste when people are hungry. And a company that battles food waste has arrived in South Florida.
Hungry Harvest, a to-your-door fresh-produce delivery service, held a launch event for its South Florida division in September at the Wynwood Yard.
The company sells recovered products that farms and supermarkets toss away, and also donates fresh products to local organizations that help the hungry.
“Seeing containers of product being thrown away and knowing that there are people in communities that are hungry just doesn’t make sense,” said Ben Roberts, Hungry Harvest’s operations and procurement manager. “People actually have to pay money to throw product away, let’s give that to people who need it.”
The recovered fresh produce comes in all shapes and sizes and could be anything from bumper crops, which yield more product than a farmer could sell, to crops with cosmetic imperfections.
Hungry Harvest was created summer 2014 in the University of Maryland dorm room of former senior, and now CEO, Evan Lutz. Since being featured on “Shark Tank,” the company has successfully launched in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. Now, it hopes to plant roots in South Florida.
“There is so much food waste in Florida, and with South Florida’s developing a health-conscious food scene we just thought that we can come here and rescue a lot of fresh produce and deliver it straight to peoples’ doors,” said Rosana Martinez, Hungry Harvest’s South Florida market manager.
At the launch event, Hungry Harvest displayed an assortment of fresh produce they had just rescued, and gave out complementary boxes filled with them. They also worked with one of Wynwood Yard’s current residents, Della Test Kitchen, to give out free samples of bowls made with Hungry Harvest product.
Hungry Harvest representatives helped guests pick their favorite fruits and vegetables to add to their complimentary box, just like they would when ordering the service online, and then assisted them in subscribing for future delivery.
When subscribing to the service online, customers can choose from a range of different sized and priced packages called “harvests.” The smallest: the $17 Mini Harvest. Largest: the $50 Super Organic Harvest. The usual frequency of delivery is monthly, but customers can choose to order weekly or biweekly.
“I subscribed today for delivery every other week,” said Sofia Tavitian, a new Hungry Harvest customer who just moved to Miami with her boyfriend. “Supermarkets here are expensive and this is cheaper and more convenient.”
In addition to rescuing rejected fruits and vegetables and serving as a convenient grocery shopping alternative, Hungry Harvest also donates fresh produce to local organizations. The South Florida division has pledged to donate 1-3 pounds of fresh produce to Lotus House homeless shelter for every box that is purchased.
Lotus House, founded by Sundari Foundation and based in Wynwood, is dedicated to improving the lives of homeless women and children. The shelter, which also welcomes the LGBTQ community, currently houses, cares for and feeds about 250 guests and has programs meant to help its women find jobs and teach them to be self-sufficient.
“This is a wonderful partnership with Hungry Harvest,” said Maria Carvalho, Sundari Foundation’s community outreach director. “This way we can take all the fresh produce they give us and teach our women how to cook for themselves.”
To learn more about Hungry Harvest, visit www.hungryharvest.net.