Guess how much produce is thrown out because it's not pretty enough for us as consumers? A lot.

The old saying goes, "Don't judge a book by its cover." So why do we do it when it comes to food?

Have you ever noticed how nearly all the fruits and veggies you see in most grocery stores look kinda ... perfect? It turns out that not all produce grows into perfect, uniformly shaped foodstuffs. In fact, a good chunk of produce might be considered downright ugly.

But you know what's truly ugly? The huge amount of food that gets thrown out simply because grocery stores don't think it looks good enough for us to buy.


It doesn't seem fair. It's basically like the "pretty" fruit telling the uglies:

"Grocery-approved" said to the others. GIF from "Mean Girls."

And that's just mean.

Jordan Figueiredo wants us to give all food a chance with his @UglyFruitandVeg campaign.

He thinks the skin-deep standards that decide which fruits and vegetables make the cut at grocery stores just don't make sense. And he's right. Think about it: 30% to 40% of food is wasted (depending on whether you look at post-farmed or pre-farmed). One tomato packing house can fill dump trucks with 22,000 pounds of rejected tomatoes every 40 minutes. And a citrus-packer estimates that as much as 50% of the produce they handle is unmarketable but totally edible.

Estimates show that 1 in 7 Americans do not have reliable access to nutritious, affordable food. Meanwhile, we're throwing out sexy radishes?

Figueiredo thinks we can do better.

He wants us to stop using arbitrary standards to dictate what looks good enough to eat. That's why he's using Instagram and Twitter accounts to share submissions of rejected fruits and vegetables, amusingly referred to as "uglies." I'm sure it's meant as a term of endearment.

OOH LA LA DAIKON! #LegsForDays #WorkItVeg! Pic from http://t.co/KEOZP24uJl
A photo posted by The @UglyFruitAndVeg Campaign (@uglyfruitandveg) on


I'M WEIRD. BUT IT'S OKAY by @jenyeepastry on Twitter #UglyIsWeird #LoveUglyFood #GloveBerry cc @fwscout
A photo posted by The @UglyFruitAndVeg Campaign (@uglyfruitandveg) on
THE POTATOES ARE FULL OF LOVE @williamsonsfarm #AllWeNeedIsSpud
A photo posted by The @UglyFruitAndVeg Campaign (@uglyfruitandveg) on






Let's be real. When it comes to nutrition, looks don't really matter — it's what's on the inside that counts. (Ya know, like with people?)

This concept is far from new. In 2013, a supermarket's Inglorious fruits and vegetables campaign in France proved so successful that the availability of uglies for purchase quickly shot up throughout Europe.

Agree that we shouldn't waste perfectly good food just because it doesn't look "pretty" enough? You can take action.

Figueiredo teamed up with culinary nutritionist Stefanie Sacks to ask Walmart and Whole Foods to start selling these one-of-a-kind fruits and vegetables. Check out their petition and sign if you feel so inclined.

Reducing food losses by just 15% would provide enough food to feed an additional 25 million Americans every year. Now that's something beautiful.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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