San Francisco, CA
By Savannah Ardrey June 11, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has called into question America’s existing food supply chain at many levels; from farmers, to food banks, to restaurants alike, there is a need to evolve and change.
However, this fragility has existed far before the current pandemic. Farms have historically discarded bounties of produce that falls short of the aesthetic standards of grocery stores, and perfectly edible fruits and vegetables are discarded as waste. All the while, there businesses across the goods and services industry who are able to utilize such imperfectly delicious and nutritious produce. For example, juicerys and bulk food manufacturers do not rely on a perfect head of romaine.
Full Harvest, an innovative San Francisco based company, aims to bridge this gap, connecting farms to businesses and buyers that don’t rely on the aesthetics of their produce. As a marketplace for these imperfect, surplus produce and partner for food manufacturing brands, Full Harvest is guided by their vision; “a world with zero food waste and 100% full harvest”
Head of Marketing at Full Harvest, Keely Wachs, touched on how together with The Farmlink Project, the current COVID-19 disruption can be harnessed as an opportunity.
“The old way saw a traditional structure and system that is inflexible. The pandemic has brought attention to this problem, and created a catalyst for new models to thrive”.
Earlier this month, The Farmlink Project partnered with Full Harvest to carry out a number of deliveries to Food Banks across Texas. This included 16,500 pounds of pineapple, 18,900 pounds of watermelon, 38,000 pounds cucumber, and 39,000 pounds of honeydew.
As the market for saving food waste continues to flourish, and demand grows to feed food-insecure families across the country, these four deliveries offset massive amounts of environmental commodities that would have been put to waste.
“There is no bad guy in this story,” Keely explains. “Every actor is well intentioned. Farmers are doing their best to grow healthy, nutritious food...But if feeding people and addressing climate change are important, then the systems need to evolve. Folks like The Farmlink Project and Full Harvest are starting to develop models that allow this shift, but it takes time”.
Even prior to the pandemic there existed a population of food-insecure Americans that was far too high and an amount of food waste that was much too large. While Full Harvest works closely with food manufacturers, The Farmlink Project emerged with a slightly different demand focus on food banks. The Farmlink Project is excited to continue working with incredible organizations such as Full Harvest, and looks forward to nourishing this partnership and continuing to expand the reach of creating positive change.
With Keely’s closing remarks, “The Farmlink Project is amazing. On its surface, a bunch of college kids identified a problem and started to get it done. For me it’s incredibly inspiring to see these future leaders”.