Ok, so here's what actually happens when I order this box:
- I save 12% per week on my grocery bill. I paused my box delivery for four weeks last month so that needing food would give me a reason to walk to town more often. Curious, I made a spreadsheet after and tracked my grocery expenses during those four weeks vs. box-time expenditures. Yep - my obnoxious organic produce box resulted in me spending 12% less on food every week.
- I start talking, singing, dancing about how good vegetables are. Full conversations with my housemate to the tune of, "Um, girl... are you tasting this courgette right now!? I should email them about how good this is. Don't even get me started on that red pepper."
- Virtually zero food wastage. I pretty much never throw anything out anymore. They somehow deliver me exactly the right amount of food or I find ways to make it last just long enough. Nothing goes bad before I can eat it.
- Variety. I find grocery shopping pretty stressful. I'm just not very good at that kind of decision making and end up turning to a few top-of-mind staples in the produce department. I have to work hard and plan ahead if I want to get creative. With my vegetable box, I'm always getting ingredients that I overlook. Since they deliver small quantities in my box, I'm not forced into repetitive eating through bulk purchase either.
- Healthy eating. When your vegetables are that good and that's all the food you have, you eat healthier but don't feel deprived. Case in point, I found myself furtively sneaking into the fridge this evening to snack on cauliflower. I ripped a floret right off the head and ate it. Guilty.
- Less impulse buying (and accompanying regret). This relates to cost saving and healthy eating. When I enter a grocery store and actually have to wander around for more than butter and brown rice, the whole experience is like a harshly lit battle between me and the marketing empire. I'm constantly picking things up and putting them back and by the time I leave, my head hurts from convincing myself I don't need stuff and my back aches from carrying the load of things I accidentally bought anyway. Because of course you save money by buying Ben & Jerry's on sale when you wouldn't have actually bought it all in the first place... Right?
- Save time. Entire evenings saved because I don't have to schedule around grocery shopping. Now I run quick errands for a few grains, legumes, coffee, condiments, and wine now and then.
- Support family-sized producers. This was the initial reason I ordered the box. Short supply chains like veggie boxes allow farmers to be viable on a sustainable, family-friendly scale. Farmers are super. We need more of them that can make a living doing this.
- Sharing! At first there was one person in our house ordering these boxes (and another ordering from a different service). Now, half the house is being fed by organic delivery and we can't help but spread the word. It's a delight that sells itself.
- Peace of mind. When you order from a supplier you can trust, it removes the stress and anxiety of food-vetting to make sure your groceries are in line with your values. While it seems small, like a nice afterthought, this is one of my favourite things. My veggie box deletes several unpleasant hours and decisions from my week and instead offers (literally) brown paper packages tied up with strings. It makes me feel more human and connected to other humans, cows, and chickens.
Unfortunately, this provider (Abel & Cole) isn't all local, which was my preference in Toronto (Green Earth Organics and Mama Earth Organics will set you up). But in Europe, you can fill in the blanks with beautiful things from Spain during February delivered by freight ship rather than air, which is maybe a good first step? It slightly reduces your typical carbon from food miles while not alienating the vast majority of 2013 northerners unwilling to eat root-veg all winter.
In conclusion: Maybe you can save money, eat healthier, and be happier with a produce delivery box too.