“In the beginning, a veg box was much more than a box of veg. It was a way to make the livelihoods of small-scale organic growers actually possible. It was not only about getting organic produce to market, but about a direct relationship between people and where their food comes from. It was about reducing food miles, decentralising the market, and bringing about wider social and economic change. Most veg boxes are still all about this.” – Ethical Consumer
I couldn’t have summed up the significance, of a veg box, better myself. Below I have added a few more thoughts about it:
Making the livelihoods of growers actually possible
How can a veg box scheme improve our chance of making a living from growing/farming…?
Simply and effectively, it cuts out the middle men. Shops and supermarkets are continuously looking to pay the lowest price, even, at times, dictating the price they will pay, whilst not taking into account what the farmer has spent to produce it. The knock on effect is bad news for our food system. As a result it forces the farmer to cut corners on the production of food to bring the cost down. I ask, what kind of food do we end up with when this happens?
The alternative? It could be to find your local producer and get to know them. Once you know them, you will probably find incredibly hard working and passionate individuals who care about the food they produce and at the same time care deeply for the environment around them. You will know that any money spent with the producer, is going to the producer, the one who has likely worked the hardest for it. And you will know, it is worth it.
Improving the relationship between people and food
How many of us can say we have met the people who produce our food? Why should we care?
Local food reduces carbon emissions, takes less time to get to you and best of all is how fresh it is when it comes from the growers field. It has been picked fresh, just for you.
Want to have happy food, grown by happy people, who endeavour to keep the environment around them happy too? Support your local growers.
(Anyone is welcome round our Market Garden anytime by the way!)
Large nationwide schemes
You will have heard of them, with their chic, rustic image and advertising, they have become big money making industries, and whilst they have paved the way for organic, if I am going to be honest, the bigger they get, the more they compromise the true purpose and value of the humble veg box: the re-localisation of food and the decentralisation of the market.
Veg Box: The simple concept that actually means the world to small growers and producers who want to sustain their livelihoods, that in turn, sustains food, sustains society…
An extra note about veg box schemes buying in produce to supplement and add variety.
We, here at Bengrove Market Garden, do this, and actually, many box schemes do. This in turn helps us to keep earning in the less productive months (winter), helping us to afford seed and compost for the following year. In addition it provides our customers with an attractive range that keeps them coming back for more. And even though the produce is coming from further away, the money you spend with the scheme will likely go back into maintaining the land, growing the business and paying local people who will likely spend the money back into the local economy, back on your business, perhaps, if you have one?
I must also salute Community Supported Agriculture schemes or CSA schemes. These too are an excellent way to reconnect with food producers and enjoy fresh seasonal food. These schemes are a little different than box schemes in that they mainly only sell their own produce and then share it out between the members who normally have paid upfront in an effort to support the growers no matter how much they produce or even if their are unforeseen crop failures… This is great to see… local community supporting their growers in this manner.
IF you are in our local area, you can support us, as well as support your health, as well as support the local environment by getting a box from here: Bengrove Bounty Box