by Anthony Escalante
Hungry Harvest is both a food recovery business and fresh produce delivery service. Founded at University of Maryland, now headquartered in Baltimore, Hungry Harvest reduces food waste by buying aesthetically imperfect or overproduced items directly from farmers. After recently appearing on Shark Tank and gaining access to capital, the company’s founder has the goal of continued expansion of service and sustainable business practices along East Coast.
Hungry Harvest, as a business engineered for social good, socially responsible business practices are integrated into every business decision. To fight hunger, Hungry Harvest donates food and provides subsidized food at farmers markets. For every household order, 6-9 lbs of produce are donated to nonprofit partners. Hungry Harvest farmers markets are held in food deserts or low-income areas to provide subsidized produce, with SNAP-friendly purchasing.
A partnership with logistic companies reduces their carbon footprint by optimizing delivery routes, and sometimes even eliminating CO2 gas emissions by sharing trucks with other companies. Environmental practices include: being a paper-free company, using 100% recyclable packaging, and encouraging employees to work from home, thereby decreasing CO2 emissions and commuting time.
Incentives are offered for subscriber referrals, as more subscribers make delivery routes more efficient and also results in increased job creation. Hungry Harvest believes in giving second chances to both food and people, and works closely with several organizations involved with job skill training resulting in placements in Hungry Harvest’s warehouse, delivery, and corporate headquarters. Donations partnerships are also created around this issue area by providing free fresh produce to organizations also giving second chances through skills development and employment. By working with non-profit reentry programs, Hungry Harvests recruits and retains valuable employees while tackling social justice issues.
Arguably, Hungry Harvest’s ‘CR Moment’ occurred even before the company’s creation. The idea to take food waste and make a profitable business, while giving back to alleviate hunger is the platform on which the company was built.
With each decision, from donating and subsidizing produce, to reducing environmental impact through optimized routes and HR policies, and recruiting and retaining employees from re-entry programs, Hungry Harvest integrates their corporate responsibility into the business. The business practices become a tool for marketing and retaining customers. This level of integration provides a competitive advantage to other produce delivery services.