London

This London business will deliver ugly fruit and vegetables right to your front door

A London-based business run by Western University students buys imperfect and surplus produce and delivers it to homes weekly.

Food Fund takes produce that doesn't meet major grocers' cosmetic standards and sells it at a discount

A London company delivers imperfect fruit and vegetables to your front door. (Pat Martel/CBC)

Spare a thought for the misshapen strawberry and the slightly bruised apple. 

A London business run by Western University students is hoping you won't mind a carrot with a curve or a deformed potato. 

Food Fund, founded less than a year ago, partners with local farmers, greenhouses and suppliers at the Toronto Food Terminal to buy produce, at a discount, that doesn't meet the exacting cosmetic standards of the country's major grocers. 

Then it sells the produce to consumers and delivers it to their front doors every Saturday. 

"In a nutshell, we're an imperfect produce delivery service," said Divyansh Ojah, the company's 19-year-old founder. 
Divyansh Ojah is the founder of Food Fund, an imperfect produce delivery service. (Julianne Hazlewood/CBC News)

Ojah does a lot of the purchasing, marketing and even the deliveries — in between classes at Western, where he's a second-year student. 

"The more you talk to the farmers, the more you realize they have a lot of items that they won't be able to sell to the major grocers because (the grocers) have cosmetic standards, and so it ends up being sold at ridiculously low prices as animal feed," Ojah said.

"This is perfectly nutritious food. The more we talked to the farmers, the more we understood that this problem was very big." 

Food waste 'doesn't add up'

Ojah remembers seeing men in parkas in the dead of night in December 2016, throwing out bins of produce behind a major supermarket. The next day, he came across a man begging for food and shelter. 

"They're throwing out fruits and vegetables into the dumpster and there's this aged man with a cardboard sign, making a plea for shelter and food. The contrast in those things made me wonder why we're wasting 31 million tons of food a year. Something about that just didn't add up," Ojah said. 

Consumers are able to go online and select a box size they want delivered. Customers can choose what comes in their boxes, depending on what produce is available that week, Ojah said.

The deliveries arrive on doorsteps on Saturdays, in London as well as smaller communities in the region. 

There are no membership or cancellation fees, he added. 

"We have a spectrum of people as our customers," Ojah said. "The majority are young parents that are always on the go, they're working, they've got little ones to take care of. They value having access to fresh fruit, and this resonates," he said.

"We're reducing waste, doing well for the farmers, and making produce accessible." 

now