LOCAL TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BETTER LIVING & GREENER LIVING
Switching to a fruit and veg box
WHAT I DID AND WHY
I stopped buying fruit and veg from supermarkets and switched to a weekly delivery box. My main reason was that I wanted to buy organic, UK produce that hadn’t been grown in a way that destroys biodiversity. You can get organic fruit and veg in the supermarket but it always comes in plastic.
HOW I DID IT
There are various companies that offer organic veg boxes such as Abel & Cole. However I picked Riverford because they win loads of awards for being an ethical company so I felt confident that they would charge a fair price and sell products with the least environmental impact. I just logged on as a new customer on their website and downloaded the smartphone app.
HOW IT WORKS
The app is brilliant. My delivery day is Wednesday, so by Monday night, I just have to pick whatever I want for the week. Sometimes I get a fruit/veg box (the content of the box is fixed, but there are loads of different sizes and options to select from). Sometimes I go ‘a la carte’, which is just like buying from a supermarket. Sometimes I get nothing.
Although my main goals were to support biodiversity and reduce food miles, we’ve been blown away by how much better the quality is overall. Even my kids commented that it tastes better when we switched – they would never normally mention vegetables 😊. I’ve also like knowing we’re consuming less pesticide residues. I’ve started buying meat from Riverford too because as well as the other benefits, organically reared animals have the highest welfare standards. The meat is really quite expensive – but it’s actually been a meaningful switch. It’s made me ‘recalibrate’ my expectations about how much it costs to produce meat in a way that gives the animal the best possible life and has the lowest environmental footprint. I spend the same amount of money by buying less (which is probably a good result too for the planet). Basically, for me Riverford equals guilt free, high quality eating!
Organic food does cost more than produce grown in vast, chemically managed fields and factory farmed meat. There’s not so much difference in price for the fruit and veg – especially because it’s premium quality. But you definitely notice it for meat and dairy – although as I’ve said, for me personally, it’s important to know the reality of how much it costs to produce food ethically. My main bug bear is that it’s not delivered in an electric vehicle. I would love to buy plastic free, UK organic food on Wanstead High Street if it ever becomes available.