Summary of “‘Ugly Produce’ Subscription Boxes Have Ignited a Food War”

Depending on who you ask, ugly produce is either the salvation or destruction of America’s food system.
Last week on Twitter, the crop scientist Sarah Taber wrote a long thread arguing that ugly produce isn’t the problem or solution.
“The food system is a hot mess but using ugly produce is one thing it’s actually really good at,” she says in the thread. In her estimation, my carrot nuggets are proof of concept: Odd produce might not go to Whole Foods, but much of it still does go to stores that serve working-class people, or gets sent to processors who turn it into salsa or apple juice.
The vast majority of American produce does indeed make it to a packinghouse for processing and distribution, but farmers point out that efficiency varies wildly depending on what kind of producer you are.
According to David Earle, the business manager for the farm collective Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative, in Pennsylvania, around 20 percent of the produce from his organization’s small growers doesn’t meet stringent grocery-store or restaurant standards.
Tuscarora has started distributing its excess produce through the ugly-produce-box company Misfits Market, and Earle says it’s been a boon to the business.
In an interview with The New Republic, Imperfect Produce, the start-up that serves Terra Organics’ former community, conceded that it works with industrial-scale producers like Dole to source food, which critics say can make these start-ups an ally of exactly the food system that creates waste and hunger in the first place.
If affluent consumers can feel as if they’re making ethical purchases while enjoying the savings and convenience of wonky vegetables delivered from commercial producers, they might be less likely to buy from local producers and cooperatives.

The orginal article.