Waynesburg University recently hosted an installment of the Rosetta Kormuth DeVito Lecture Series, featuring Evan Lutz, founder of Hungry Harvest. Lutz spoke about his company, which purchases “ugly” produce from farms, assembles them into variety boxes and sells them to customers for 20 percent less than their retail value.
Lutz’s presentation was relevant to various Waynesburg University courses and initiatives. Dr. Janet Paladino, professor of biology, said the content was not only applicable to her classes’ discussions of agriculture, but also the University’s mission of faith, learning and service.
“His mission of helping people in his community was a great model of the mission of service that we want all students to take with them when they leave Waynesburg University,” said Paladino. “It is a life-long commitment to using your education to make a difference in your community.”
Lutz started Hungry Harvest as a class project while studying business at the University of Maryland. In his presentation, Lutz said he had no interest in agriculture until a chance meeting with a farmer. From there, he learned how many “ugly” produce items are wasted because of their aesthetic imperfections—something he felt needed to change, considering how many communities struggle with food insecurity.
Hungry Harvest was established to address both of these problems, Lutz said: food waste and food insecurity. The company took off on the University of Maryland’s campus and eventually landed Lutz an audition on the reality show, Shark Tank.
His creative problem-solving and dedication was especially inspiring considering Waynesburg University’s new focus on entrepreneurship, said Dr. Melinda Walls, chair of the W. Robert Stover Entrepreneurial Leadership Program.
“Evan Lutz made a wonderful point of the importance of taking your passion with you to whatever job that you do,” said Walls. “It was great for students to see that a 26-year-old who started his business as part of a class project could make it a success.”
The Rosetta Kormuth DeVito Lecture Series is funded by the DeVito family, and its purpose is devoted to lectures in the fields of business, the arts, and culture. Within these areas, the lectures focus on current topics of interest to graduate and undergraduate students at Waynesburg University.