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Hungry Harvest Expands Ugly Food Movement To The Triangle

Hungry Harvest, Food, Produce, Farmers, Ashley Christensen
Leoneda Inge

A new food delivery service in the Raleigh-Durham area specializes in distributing fruits and vegetables with cosmetic imperfections. Evan Lutz is the CEO of Hungry Harvest. Its mission is to rescue produce farmers can’t sell because of a surplus or because it’s just too ugly.

“Ugly doesn’t mean it’s bad, or moldy or rotten," Lutz said. "It just means it’s shaped a little different...It’s really this embrace of the ugly movement and how we can reduce waste.”

The National Resources Defense Council, NRDC, published a report in 2012 that said up to 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten.

Lutz got the idea to start Hungry Harvest while he was a college student at the University of Maryland. He sold hard to sell produce from farmers to students on campus. He said the lines for this fresh, imperfect food, got longer and longer. In 2016, Lutz was able to grow the company after winning big on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

"Shark Tank was an incredible experience. Since then we got demands from all over the country of consumers saying, 'Hey, come to our city'," said Lutz. "So finally, a couple of years later we're here in Raleigh and excited to do it."

Lutz and the Hungry Harvest team launched the opening of its Triangle business at Bridge Club in downtown Raleigh. It is one of a seven restaurants and event spaces owned by Chef Ashley Christensen.

Christensen, a James Beard award-winning chef, said Hungry Harvest keeps good food, with slight imperfections, from being thrown away.

“If I saw those slightly dented heads of cauliflower I would be like, 'I am making cauliflower soup and I’m doing it for 20 or 40 percent less than I meant to, or whatever it might be'," said Christensen. "I think it’s about finding a way to make that feel good, celebrate that.”

Hungry Harvest says every box it delivers saves at least 10 pounds of food from being thrown away. And what Hungry Harvest doesn’t sell will go to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.

Hungry Harvest already delivers in several states along the east coast including Maryland, Virginia and Florida. 

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of “Due South” – WUNC’s new daily radio show. The program takes a panoramic view of race, southern culture, politics and place – stories Leoneda has reported on for more than 20 years at WUNC – North Carolina Public Radio. Leoneda is the recipient of Gracie awards from the Alliance of Women in Media, awards from the Associated Press and the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). She was part of the WUNC team who won an Alfred I. DuPont Award for the series, “North Carolina Voices: Understanding Poverty.” In 2017, Leoneda was named “Journalist of Distinction” by the National Association of Black Journalists. Leoneda is a graduate of Florida A&M University (B.S.) and Columbia University (M.S) where she was a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics & Business Journalism. Leoneda also studied Environmental Justice as a Knight-Wallace Fellow at The University of Michigan. Leoneda has produced stories from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Her international reporting fellowships include trips to Berlin, Tokyo, Durban, South Africa and Seoul. Leoneda’s essay, “Everybody Is Cheering for You,” is in the book, “HBCU Made – A Celebration of the Black College Experience,” release date January 2024. Leoneda is the proud mother of two sons, Jean Christian and Teemer Seuline Barry.
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