Detail of a Photograph by Hans Gissinger, National Geographic magazine
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"Ugly" carrots make a beautiful tree-like landscape.
Detail of a Photograph by Hans Gissinger, National Geographic magazine
The Plate

Share Your Photos: #UglyFoodIsBeautiful

The statistics on wasted food are overwhelming. We waste more than a third of the food we produce. Nine percent of that is rejected by stores because its a little oddly shaped or the wrong color or size. Then when consumers do buy food, we often buy too much, and 20 percent of it is thrown out at home, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

There is something individuals can do. National Geographic takes a look at food waste in March, and we want to highlight your efforts to use funny-looking food to nourish you, rather than throw it in the waste bin.

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Tons of bananas are thrown out each week because they are too short, long, or curved for the European market. This banana might be too short to sell in some markets, but it would look great in your photo, and taste delicious in your banana bread.

Take a look around you, at the supermarket, the farmers market, and the back of your fridge for the rebellious eggplants and strawberries that don’t conform, and turn them into something amazing. You can submit through Your Shot, National Geographic’s photo community, by adding the hashtag #UglyFoodIsBeautiful.

Get creative. Just because the food is “ugly,” doesn’t mean the photos can’t be beautiful. So go on, play with your food—put produce in new environments, use beautiful natural light, show us the details or show us the context! We can’t wait to see you make wonky into wonderful.

Editors will be checking the feed, and anyone who enters has a chance to be featured here on The Plate. Submissions are due by March 7.

Check back tomorrow to see five tips for photographing food with your phone from Becky Hale, National Geographic staff photographer.