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Received my first @oooobyakl box! These boxes are full of fresh fruit and vegetables which are grown locally and with organic or minimal spray mehods and they feature minimal packaging (none of which is plastic)- this week was just a rubber band and the boxes get returned to be used again! I love they have a chart which tells you exactly where each item is from, who grew it, what methods and where. 95% of the produce is from Auckland and the most travelled vegetable (sweet corn) came from Hawkes Bay. For anyone interested I'll write a blog post next week! #ooooby #outofourownbackyards #onlinefarmersmarket #smocal #zerowaste
Ooooby stands for Out Of Our Own Backyards, it’s this cool initiative that brings local produce straight to your door. Many sustainability champions and zero wasters will at some point mention how important it is to buy local produce from the farmers market. I absolutely agree with this, you are reducing your environmental footprint by buying locally and you are supporting your local farmers and local economy. Why Ooooby? I totally believe in what this company is about! Local, organic, waste free produce straight to my doorstep, yes please! It’s like an online farmer’s market! While I enjoy going to the farmer’s market, I also enjoy sleeping in on a weekend and spending time with my friends. I found I kept missing the local markets, and to be honest the local markets weren’t quite that local- that is I couldn’t walk to any of them. I am currently without a bicycle, I have caught public transport before to Parnell Farmer’s Market & La Cigale Market, the rest of the markets are just not quite easily reachable by public transport. This is a very typical Auckland problem, as the place was designed around cars, but I won’t go in to that! After discovering Ooooby a few months back, and thinking on it for a while, it seemed a logical solution for a busy/lazy person who likes fresh local produce. I researched the company in those few months, and weighed up my priorities. I was concerned I about the potential waste, packaging and the extra greenhouse gases of delivering straight to my door. I figured that while having stuff delivered to my house isn’t the most sustainable thing ever, it was likely equal to, or even better than me driving my 27 year old car to the nearest local market (on average 20 minutes away) and the van will be out and about around my area anyway. Also when Ooooby posted a photo of an electric car doing deliveries, then I knew I would be supporting a great company. Additionally, all of the other environmental, ethical, economical and health positives of this product outweighed my concern. Prior to signing up I emailed Ooooby asking about their packaging and was advised that packaging is minimal, occasionally a rubber band or paper bag. They do use biodegradable plastic bags however if you order the “specialty items” (i.e. not fruit and vege), and the only bit of plastic is that of the tape. Check out the awesome response I got to my original query:
“We would welcome any suggestions and tips of making our operation more waste-free, so feel free to shoot over any ideas you might have for us after you have received your first box. I am a big proponent of zero waste. One thing I love so much about my own Ooooby boxes is not having a big pile of plastic wrappers left after I put everything in the fridge, I just have a full fridge and an empty carton box :-)”
While I have belonged to companies who deliver produce boxes before, the produce wasn’t as local (within NZ), it was sometimes plastic packaged and the whole service felt impersonal and conventional. Ooooby pay their farmer’s 50% of the profits, that’s really impressive as farmers are typically are paid only 30%. What I really like is that when you receive your box, it tells you exactly what comes from where, who the growers are, where they are and what methods they use (i.e. organic or spray free). It really is about connecting the customer to the grower and knowing exactly where their food came from. They even introduce you to the growers, with farmer features on their website,
|How’s that for local?!|
While I am on the topic of food, I feel I need to touch on food waste. WasteMINZ found that the average New Zealand household throws away over $560 worth of food a year. Fermenting and preserving are great skills to learn, and don’t forget the trusty freezer also! My freezer is stocked full of jars of bread ends, fruit, veges, aquafaba, whey, vege stock, vege scraps and more. A Facebook page I recommend to follow is Love Food Hate Waste- New Zealand, they post lots of handy tips for avoiding food waste. Also check out Zero Waste Chef’s blog post on freezing food plastic free. If you are interested in composting, Compost Collective are running a number of free courses around Auckland at the moment also.
I will be offline for the rest of this week as I am volunteering at Splore on the Zero Waste team, so you can expect an exciting post on that when I return (and have recuperated enough to write it!)