Ugly Fruits & Vegetable Campaign

Unharvested and rejected farm produce is responsible for 10% of the $31 billion of food wasted in Canada each year.

Unfortunately, stringent beauty ideals are successfully marketed not just for humans, but also the fruits and vegetables that we consume. Rigid guidelines have led shoppers to become accustomed to visually flawless and perfectly uniform produce from our grocery stores. But nature is not perfect. Yet size, shape, colour and other attributes that often make no difference to the taste or nutritional value of produce result in a fifth to a third of each harvest that Canadian farmers are simply unable to sell.


But there is no reason to think that a small cucumber, a slightly blemished apple, or a tomato with a bulbous nose are somehow sub-par to their more picture-perfect counterparts. Increased consumption of these products is simply good practice. It ensures that resources such as water and labour aren’t wasted on growing food that will never be consumed by humans. It drives down the overall cost of groceries and keeps local farmers in business, as they are able to sell more of their produce. It allows more people to be able to afford and have access to nutritious food. And it results in more sustainable, environmental friendly practices overall.

It takes 56 L of water to grow 1 lb of carrots

1 lb  apple = 202 L water

It takes 102 L of water to grow 1 lb of eggplant



What does this mean for farmers? They need to scramble to find less profitable secondary markets or discard the excess product.  Perfectly good food and all the natural and human resources to produce that food get wasted. The economic, environmental and social consequences are significant.


What can consumers do? Learn  more about the Ugly Fruits & Vegetable Movement.  Spread the word and advocate for sustainable food policy in Canada.  Look for ugly fruits & vegetables. If you don’t find them, request them.  Choose to buy ugly at farmers markets and grocery stores. It is equally delicious.

Partner with us

Farmers, farmers markets, produce suppliers and vendors: Contact us to work on our Ugly Fruits & Vegetables Campaign and help us raise awareness about this issue.  We would also love to partner with you to rescue this delicious and nutritious food from being wasted. You can find Partnership details here or send enquiries to

Partnership details market handout

Did you know that is a staggering amount of farm produce ends up as waste?  In Canada, it is estimated that unharvested and rejected farm produce is responsible for 10% of the $31 billion in food wasted per year.  We can do better. We can all be part of the solution.

This year FoodsharingOttawa is embarking on a campaign to raise awareness about this issue.  We are planning a series of promotional and social media events to bring this issue to the Ottawa public’s attention and to facilitate ways to rescue this food from being wasted.

Ugly Fruits & Vegetables Partnership Option 1

We are looking to partner with farmers, farmers markets, box providers, or produce vendors to work on our Ugly Fruits & Vegetable Campaign.  As our partner you would work with us on promotional activities related to our campaign by supplying us with display basket quantities of Ugly Fruit & Vegetables for these events.

Campaign partners will receive the benefit of advertisement (your logo) on our website and at promotional events.   In addition, we would advertise your business to our Foodsharing Network on social media. We feel that raising awareness and educating consumers on this issue is mutually beneficial to those who care about the harms associated with food waste and those that work very hard to generate food that can’t be sold solely for cosmetic reasons.Ugly Fruits & Vegetables Partnership Option 1

Ugly Fruits & Vegetables Partnership Option 2

If you currently have perfectly edible produce that isn’t going to market because it does not meet retail criteria and is destined to go to waste, we can help.  After we pick-up your produce it will be shared with local charities, our Foodsharing Network and our volunteers. We will not resell the food. Ideally, we could arrange pick-ups at Ottawa locations such as farmers markets,  or box provider warehouses. But we are also available to pick up at farms, if needed, on a case by case basis depending on location. We offer the same advertisement options as in option 1. You may also wish to advertise your partnership with us.  Our Foodsharing Network and today’s consumers are eager to work with businesses that share their values. You will be doing your part to mitigate the environmental effects of wasting food and contributing to helping improve food security in our region. Our longer term (optional) partnership goals would be to facilitate connections between farmers and social enterprises in order to generate new, high value markets for these products.

Gleaning Services

FoodsharingOttawa is also eager to partner with farmers who have  produce that may not be convenient or profitable to harvest from trees or fields.  We would provide the manpower and the food would be shared with local charities, our Foodsharing Network and our volunteers.

Peak Harvest Overflows

Peak harvest is the busiest time of year for those that produce and supply our food. Overabundance and quickly ripening product makes it difficult to estimate the quantities required and leads to excess production in order to guarantee supplies.  Don’t have time to deal with all the excess because you have to attend to the farm or mange the market? Let us worry about sorting and rescuing this food while you focus on your core business.

Calling All Seed Farmers!

What do you do with your produce after harvesting your seeds?   We have partnership options for you too. Our Foodsharing Network and volunteers can come to your food rescue as well! Ask us for details.