Wednesday, 30 June 2010

In a happy marketing coincidence I was contemplating the fact that we should eat more fruit and vegetables (because this is the kind of thrilling thing I sometimes contemplate) on the very day that an Abel & Cole flyer had been popped through our front door announcing that they were now operating in our area. So rather than ignore the universe I am busy trying them out. Today I received, for the third week, a 'small mixed organic box' which is apparently perfect for one person according to them but I am seeing how it does the OH and I and will upscale if necessary. So far I am enjoying the delivery and have been very impressed with the quality generally. I especially like that the box normally has a little recipe card tucked in with it so you can try something different with some of the produce you've just received. My only concern is that I have wasted a fair amount of the vegetables simply because they don't always fit into what we're having for dinner although I am getting better at making sure I incorporate what we receive. Abel & Cole have loads of information on their website (particularly in the faqs section) about the 'organicness' of their goods, their packaging and their work with small, independent if you're a 'concerned shopper' then they may be for you.

The OH said that our weekly organic box is pretentious! Which made me laugh and tcha with disdain but I did mull it over and fair enough in some respects I suppose if one was going to go round blabbing about it and how fantastically virtuous it is.....which I am soooo not doing here by the way....I just like that it is an easy way to support independent organic producers. I would love to shop exclusively at small grocers and/or farmers' markets but that is not really an option so for now I am going to go along with the pretentious organic weekly box!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Support a different way of doing business....

Co-operatives Fortnight is currently running and is aimed at raising awareness of co-operatives across the UK. Basically, a co-operative is a business that is owned and operated by a group of people for their mutual benefit. The official definition is "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise". Co-operatives Fortnight explains further in its 'What is a Co-operative' leaflet. The Fortnight itself aims to promote co-operative organisations but also the idea of being co-operative as a whole, whether it's with your neighbours or community or whatever the case may be.

I think it's a good opportunity to find co-operative organisations in your area and support them. So many of us spend a lot of time criticising and bemoaning big businesses and here is a chance to support smaller ones or ones that might have operating values that may do more to address concerns around environmental, ethical and social issues. Check it out at

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Green Britain Day...

Tomorrow, the 17th of June, is Green Britain Day. Whatever your feelings may be about the fact that edf Energy is the sponsor (I am frankly, a little tired of debates around whether we should support initiatives sponsored by ‘the man’ ie. Big businesses....personally I think that the more we do to support positive steps by business to take sustainability issues into consideration the more likely they are to take notice and make even more of an effort because, let's face it, they aren't just all going to go away or turn into lovely little ethical co-operatives, but maybe that’s just me being optimistic....) there are a number of great ideas for simple activities you can do for sustainability and a great deal of information on the site here: By registering online you can receive a newsletter which will let you know of events happening in your area.

At a recent event I went to in a work capacity the discussion centred around which group – business, consumers or government, were the drivers of change in terms of embracing sustainability issues. As usual, there was no consensus, and as usual, the conclusion is that everyone needs to work together. An excellent point which was raised and made sense to me though, was the fact that as consumers, we don’t often have access to, in economic terms, perfect information. We can only make our decisions based on what we are told and that is not always the correct information and/or all the information. So we are forced to rely on business and the information they provide. So inevitably, the best impact we can have is to let businesses know our concerns, tell them that it is important for us to know that they are doing their best to ensure that when we purchase goods and services from them we can rely on the fact that they have done the research and they are offering us the most sustainable/ethical product they can. I know this may be a bit idealistic, but I think that rather than us, as consumers, trying to make a decision about whether, for example, loose fruit or packaged fruit, is more sustainable in terms of the joint issues of food waste, transport and packaging, that is something we need to rely on the retailers to have done their research on and then fed back to us. So speak to the businesses you use about what they are doing, as a whole, about sustainability issues....write to them/email them and let them know that you want the information. I know it may seem a waste of time as an individual but just a short email can make a big difference and needn’t be a hassle. Ok, semi-rant over.....happy Green Britain Day for tomorrow.