As you may know, I’m a university student. I may be incredibly wealthy compared with many people around the world, but compared with other people in the UK I’m pretty skint. This means that for the last year I haven’t been shopping in my local healthfood store nearly as often as I’d like and have instead been sulking around the crowded aisles of Aldi. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Aldi is a super super cheap supermarket. I know, shoot me now. If it makes it any better I also shop at an independent Indian food shop and I used to go to the farmers market before my lectures started clashing with it. But it’s still pretty poor for an aspiring environmentalist. Also, the fruit and vegetables from Aldi are horrible. Always tasteless, sometimes mouldy.
SO – enter the organic local veg box.
That’s right, I’ve finally got it together and signed up with Riverford Organics.
Above is a photo of my first veg box. Aren’t the colours wonderfully vibrant?
Anyway, they had a stall at the Brighton Veggie Fest last month and the vegetables looked so lush and the guys running it were so friendly that I took a leaflet and decided to sign up right away. After a quick (ok three weeks) jaunt across the country to see my friends and family over Easter I decided to order the Mini Fruit and Veg box for £13.45 per week.
This is going to cause quite a dent in my weekly budget as I’m used to spending only £20 a week on all my food. However, if I was working full time (even at minimum wage) I wouldn’t bat an eyelid at this cost as I know you get what you pay for when it comes to quality. Aldi was a lot cheaper but the veg box option is better in several other ways:
a) It’s organic, fresher and seasonal, making it healthier and tastier
b) It’s more convenient, as it’s delivered to your door
c) It’s more ethical, as it’s supporting a smaller business rather than a supermarket
d) It’s better for the environment, as there’s much less food miles and pollution
e) It inspires a more varied diet, because you get different seasonal veg
f) It helps you keep in touch with the seasons and with the Earth
There’s also another benefit specific to my situation. I love fruit and will eat it as a snack if it’s available, but the fruit from Aldi was so horrible I never ate it, leaving me tempted to snack on other things such as crisps. Now I can grab an organic apple instead when I’m feeling peckish!
For all these reasons I would really recommend checking out their website or indeed another local veg box scheme that operates in your area or country. Bare in mind that there are loads of boxes to choose from, varying in size, price and contents, so there’s bound to be one that suites you.
For the record, here’s what I got in my box last week:
All the produce was in great condition and tasted wonderful. The apples were especially good!
I’m planning to juggle around my finances so I can afford to keep this up.
Working on a tight budget is all about prioritising!