This food is super-ugly, mega-delicious, and helping to fight food waste.

Chances are, right now, your fridge is filled with beautiful fruits and vegetables.

These precious picks were hand-selected by you (or someone in your household) from piles at the grocery store. Before they got to the store, they were hand-selected by farmworkers to make sure only the best-looking, flaw-free produce made it from the fields to the store, to your grocery bag, and finally home to your fridge.


Image via BuzzFarmers/Flickr.

And that's a big problem. Because, just like people, not all produce looks flawless 100% of the time — and that's OK!

Some is misshapen or bruised. Maybe it didn't ripen perfectly. Maybe the stem isn't in the right place. Whatever reason, that produce generally doesn't make it to stores and instead gets shipped to processing plants or landfills.

One-third of American grocery store produce goes uneaten. That's about 133 billion pounds of perfectly good food.

And when millions of people around the globe aren't getting enough to eat, that's pretty bad news.

Fortunately grocery chains around the world are trying to change that.

In 2014, Intermarche, one of France's three biggest grocery chains, launched a campaign celebrating Inglorious Fruits and Veg. They sold the produce for 30% less than its more-attractive counterparts — and by all accounts, they sold a lot of it.

Last year, two Canadian grocery chains, Loblaws and Sobeys, launched their own campaigns selling less-than-pretty produce. Loblaws sells Naturally Imperfect peppers, apples and potatoes for 30% off, and Sobeys stores in Quebec ran a successful three-month campaign last summer selling lightly imperfect cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, carrots, peppers, and apples at a 30% discount.

“If you were to grow produce in your backyard there’s a lot that would grow that wouldn’t look as pretty as what you would see in a grocery store. And Mother Nature doesn’t grow everything perfectly,” — Dan Branson, Loblaw senior director responsible for produce, floral, and garden items.

There are grocery chains selling imperfect produce in the U.K., Australia, and Portugal. And, just last week, Whole Foods announced its plans to get in to the ugly food game.

The message is clear: It's time to break the stigma around ugly produce.

They're a smart addition to your grocery bag since they're up to 30% cheaper, and buying them helps keep unnecessary food waste out of landfills. Plus, it's hard to deny how beautiful they are:

This apple loves the skin it's in.


Image by Heather Libby/Upworthy.

This pepper is feeling it's look.


Image by Heather Libby/Upworthy.

These bruised pears know every scar tells the story of a life lived well.


Image via Keith Williamson/Flickr.

These heirloom tomatoes know beauty comes in every color.


Image via Sarah R/Flickr.

These carrots are gorgeous — inside and out.


Image via peem5ter/Flickr.

This strawberry is all about that taste, 'bout that taste, not bitter.


Image via ComedyNose/Flickr.

This tomato has had enough of your outdated beauty standards.


Image via Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr.

These cucumbers think being sizeist is your problem, not theirs.


Image via woodleywonderworks/Flickr.

This pineapple is too fruitylicious for you, babe.

Image via Atibens/Flickr.

Here's the great thing about imperfect produce: Once it's in chopped into a salad or cooked into a meal, it looks and tastes exactly the same as its pretty counterparts.

For lunch today, I had two apple halves with peanut butter. One fresh from my bag of "naturally imperfect" ones. The other from my handpicked stash of pretty, perfect ones. Can you tell the difference?

Image via Heather Libby/Upworthy.

Spoiler alert: Neither could I.

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

Alex Beckom works at a Starbucks in Santee, California and shared a video taken after a woman pulled down her "Trump 2020" mask to ask the 19-year-old barista a question, pulled it back up when the barista asked her to, then pulled it down again.

Keep Reading Show less
True

*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

Keep Reading Show less