You have probably seen the pictures of vegetables which I upload to Instagram from time to time. You are probably thinking: “What is Vassya so impressed with that she keeps posting veg?”. No, it is not because I am a foodie and it is definitely not because I am vegan! Actually this is the story: In the last year of uni Nic and I lived together. For the first time we started building a joint household with the initial goal to be zero waste. According to schedule, we went food shopping every Saturday – first in the store, than in the market for meat and veg, where I could find the less packaged products, and after than 15-ish minutes walk home with two full, heavy backpacks. Walking home we used to pass this non-profit business ‘Regather’, who at one point we learned offer a scheme to order organic local fruit and veg. In the beginning of 2017 we decided to try it out and I fell in love with the process (and Regather) after the first order! 1. Zero waste local produce at a good price All fruits and vegetables are organic-certified and as locally grown as possible (though I can’t hide that some came from Holland, France or the Dominican Republic). For the five months we used their services we only got something packaged in plastic 2-3 times and the price was more or less the same as market prices for non-organic produce. 2. Vegetables all sorted This is my favourite element – I don’t’ have to think of what to buy and make complicated lists, because the main food just comes to us selected by Regather. We also got produce that I would not have bought myself, thus trying out new things like some purple carrots (my new favourite veg!). 3. Personal relations Regather is a small non-profit and every time we picked up the box we could talk to the people there and build a relationship. We decided on spot with them if we want something changed in our order and sometimes even got something extra like leftover leaks or even a jar with something like vegan “Nutella”. I follow them on Instagram and feel a bit of nostalgia once in a while. When we moved we had to choose a new local scheme. We tried to go back to normal shopping, but it’s complicated when you’re used to the convenience. It took us a while to research and decide because it turned out it was only one company that can deliver to us – Riverford. Unlike Regather, Riverford is a nationwide company and deliver everywhere which leads to some loss in the personal relations. Therefore, I didn’t rush to get registered.
When we were at the International Balloon Fiesta in Bristol, Riverford had a stall and quickly pulled us in. I don’t like registering for things like this on spot but the fact was we had researched them already and it was our best option. On top of that the registration also got us a free recipe book, a canvas bag and two cobs of corn for popping. Riverford are a bit more expensive than most schemes but I can’t deny the professionalism we receive. All products are on point, the difference in the organic taste is obvious and all packaging is sent back to them. Yes, the personal level is not as high as we get our box on our door at 6am while we are still sleeping and we don’t really have the chance to talk face to face with them, but I would still never give it up. The convenience of someone “shopping” instead of me and the knowledge I eat organic and almost zero waste produce for a good price is valuable to me! Any changes to our order happen over a 2 minute phone call and the payment just rolls automatically. On top of that Riverford also have a strong online presence which allows me to have an understanding of the company and to develop a feeling of belonging. And it would be so easy to move as I only need to change our address in their database. After a year and a half experience I would recommend a similar scheme to anyone who has access to it. While researching our options I found so many local schemes across the UK, some even specialising in delivering the produce that is not accepted by supermarkets and is usually considered food waste. The benefits are too many not to recommend it – convenience, variety, organic produce, price, personal relations, belonging, zero waste, healthy eating and so much more! Would you try it?
Stay Vivid, Vassya