This year we go a step further and have decided to start making our own vegan cheese. I feel more and more that I have no time to wait until Politicians bother to save our planet. I need to do what I can to change our behaviour.
Only I can be the change I want to see. Not working in paid employment gives me the chance to make more and more myself and with that save on plastics for example. And while I am not sure it is the right decision to exchange milk products for products that are sent in by plane from the other side of the world at least when our grandchildren ask “What have you done to prevent climate change and give us a beautiful planet to live on” I can say “I continuously worked on reducing my carbon impact!”
Looks like working in a supermarket for nearly 11 years has affected me more than I was aware of. For some time now I have that idea to start shopping outside of supermarkets. Their impact on the environment, farmers and employees in my mind is not sustainable and I would like to know if it is possible to shop without when you are on a budget.
In my experience supermarkets are not always the cheapest option and at least in the UK more and more you cannot get what you are looking for and have to get it somewhere else anyway. So in a way, they make themselves obsolete and there are a couple of changes we have made already.
We get most of our vegetables and our milk from Riverford. For all those outside the UK: Riverford is a vegetable, fruit and meat box scheme where organic working farms that belong to Riverford send your orders directly to your door. You can choose your own order but a lot cheaper are their box offers. You can have pure vegetable boxes, fruit and veg boxes and there are options for salad and meat too. In my experience, this was cheaper and gives us more variety in veg than what I could buy in the supermarket. If you are in the UK I highly suggest you check Riverford out (and no I am not in an affiliate program with them 😉 )
There are also a ton of more local programs and the Soil Association offers an organic food finder. It’s definitely worth to take the time and write down which fruit and veg you usually buy and then have a look through all the schemes. You might be surprised at their prices. They might just be a lot cheaper than you thought.
By accident, we came across a farm shop close to where the kids live. Of course, it being a farm shop we thought it would be really expensive. But when we did not have the chance to go to the farmer where we usually got our eggs we tried them out and also got some veg. I had to ask twice about the price: A tray of 30 eggs for under 5£’s. Yes, we are vegetarians and eat a lot of the stuff :-). My advice is to take the time and check out the farm shops in your area. Again you might be surprised where you can make savings at your food shopping.
We have started a long time ago to make our own flapjacks and cookies and it takes a lot less time than one thinks. It’s also a lot easier than one thinks. The only thing is that you need to organise a little more to make time for the homemaking. But we have decided it is worth the while to save a little and to have our “personalised” treats instead of buying products that are clearly less healthy than the homemade stuff. And you save on the packaging too which is good for the environment.
Did you know that you can by tea and coffee directly from Clipper? Again a business I am not affiliated with but which tries to be as fair trade as possible and offers a vast range of organic products. Fairtrade and organic is important to us so we try to find ways to incorporate both into our shopping on a budget. And guess what? If you buy at their online shop the prices are either the same or cheaper and as for their ground coffee? It uses a lot less packaging as the coffees in supermarkets (Again good for the environment.) and they are delicious. The reason why I started using their online shop was that I could not get the teas I liked at the supermarket but did not want to miss them.
A couple of weeks ago I have started to make our own baked beans. I will create a post about it later in the year as I am still trying them out. In this case I am not sure if it is cheaper and more eco-friendly, however, it tastes a lot better and I can control how much sugar and salt goes into them. Definitely, a plus. I make a batch of baked beans and freeze them. Again you have to organise a little: We have to take them out in the evening if we want them in the morning which doesn’t always work 🙂 .
My next step is an inventory of what we shop on a regular basis and then find out if I can get them directly from the producer or get them in another way outside a supermarket. I would like to support small businesses and people who sell things online but are not a big corporation.
And one thing I am going to try out is cheese and yoghurt making. I have mentioned that before but have not gotten any further with it. Not sure if this will be any cheaper but it would definitely save on the plastic waste and will be our “personalised” food. I found a shop on eBay which offers cheese and yoghurt making supplies but haven’t gotten around to try them out yet. However, you can check them out here (affiliate link with the eBay Partner program)
I know that most of us have busy lives and changing our shopping habits might just be that one step too much. But if there is one thing I have learned in working for nearly 11 years in a supermarket then it is that: I have to put my money where my mouth is. I have started to suspect that living against my values has literally made me ill and that my past is only one part of my mental health issues. That might be an odd theory and sound a little far-fetched but who knows what is truth anyway?
So if we think that fairtrade, organic and less plastic packaging is important then we can’t wait until the mainstream offers it to us. Because we are the mainstream. We are the change we want to see one little step at a time!