Why my veg box saves more than just the planet

in Musings

I’ve been having a weekly veg box for about ten years now.

It started when I lived in Oxford and had a weekly bag from a local cooperative. I would jump on my bike and cycle round to a nearby house to collect it. I have a recollection that it was almost invariably raining (or snowing) when it came to collection time, but no matter how miserable the experience of getting there and back was, it was always exciting to unpack the bag and finding what I’d be eating for the next week. (Although I never did really find out what to do with kohlrabi.)

These days, I’m lazier: my veg box is delivered to my door by Skylark Organics, near Bromyard. But I still get the same thrill of excitement when unpacking the box.

I tell myself that the reason I get a veg box is because of how sustainable it is. The sustainability benefits of veg boxes are certainly well-rehearsed:

  • you’re supporting local producers and therefore the local economy (local suppliers use local services, local supermarkets don’t; for every £10 spent with a local business, £8 stays in the local economy, but for every £10 spent with a supermarket, only £2 stays in the local economy).
  • you’re reducing your carbon footprint by eating fruit and vegetables grown nearby.
  • you’re eating genuinely fresher and more nutritious food because it hasn’t spent days in transit getting to the supermarket.
  • if you’ve chosen an organic veg box, you’re protecting the countryside for future generations.

But you know what? While these things are important to me from an ethical and environmental perspective, I think there are a lot of other reasons I choose a veg box. If I’m honest, these are the real reasons I have mine:

  • I’m lazy. I hate visiting the supermarket, so I try not to. By getting things like veg and milk delivered, I don’t have to go shopping so often.
  • I’m busy. A supermarket trip takes up valuable time; putting last week’s empty veg box outside for collection and unpacking the new one is the work of moments.
  • I’m inspired. I can still remember the days when I went supermarket shopping for veg. Red peppers – check. Courgettes – check. Onions – check. Seasonal eating – pah! I bought the same things and cooked the same things week in, week out. And it was boring! A veg box might generally always have the basics like potatoes, carrots and onions in it, but it also has different things that keep me on my toes and make my suppers more interesting.
  • I’m frugal (or, as some would say, miserly). But I’m also a spendthrift. If I go into a supermarket, I can’t help falling for the offers. I come home with lots of things I didn’t need and having spent more money than I wanted. My veg box costs the same every week, so budgeting is a lot easier.

In short, a veg box is the perfect solution for modern living! Do you have one? Why? Or if you don’t, why not?

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