Would you buy two-legged carrots or twin tomatoes? Uni friends tackle food waste

Did you know that Australia wastes $20 billion worth of food each year?

A large chunk of that is in agriculture and post-harvest, according to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

That’s what friends Josh Ball and Josh Brookes-Duncan from business Farmers Pick are trying to help reduce.

Two-legged carrots

The pair spend their days visiting farmers sourcing misshapen cherries or two-legged carrots to resell and educate consumers on the misconceptions of edible produce.

Two young men wearing black t-shirts stand together smiling fresh produce on a bench.Two young men wearing black t-shirts stand together smiling fresh produce on a bench.
Josh Ball and Josh Brookes-Duncan say 2.4 million tonnes of food is never taken from farms.(Supplied: Josh Ball)

“Often our visits are met with confusion, because for decades so many growers across Australia have been told what good is.

Mr Ball sources misshapen vegetables from about 50 farms around the country, and as long as the produce is fresh, he will sell it.

“In terms of aesthetic and colour, we don’t really have any criteria,” he said.

“And the response has been overwhelmingly positive, usually customers have a good laugh, when the carrot has three legs or the broccoli is really small.

“It’s all a bit of fun.”

A tomato with a growth poking out up the top.A tomato with a growth poking out up the top.
Vegetables are grown in all shapes and sizes. (Supplied: Josh Ball)

30pc not suitable for larger chains

Catherine Velisha, a farmer in Werribee South, on the outskirts of Melbourne, said about 20 to 30 per cent of her vegetable crop is not considered suitable for the larger chains.

“The input costs are all exactly the same,” Ms Velisha said.

“It’s really great that consumers also get to see that other than its appearance, it’s exactly the same as what is seen as a more superior product.”

Two carrots twisted around each other.Two carrots twisted around each other.
Australia wastes $20 billion worth of food each year.(Supplied: Josh Ball)

Ms Velisha said the blame also lay with the consumer.

“If we, as consumers, are leaving things that are a bit smaller behind … that obviously drives what the next product brought in looks like,” she said.

“So we’ve got a lot of power as consumers.

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