Kent Sustainable Food & Drink Award Finalist: Kent Veg Box
Our whole business, since its founding more than 15 years ago, has been aimed at supplying Kent local food. While the mechanics of that may have changed (from shops to home delivery) our values have remained consistent and unwavering. While we recognise there is more to do (electric vehicles…) we have always had sustainability as a core reason for our business to exist.
Kent Veg Box Our whole business, since its founding more than 15 years ago, has been aimed at supplying Kent local food. While the mechanics of that may have changed (from shops to home delivery) our values have remained consistent and unwavering. While we recognise there is more to do (electric vehicles…) we have always had sustainability as a core reason for our business to exist.
The main ways we focus on sustainability are:
• 100% of our veg and 98% of other produce is sourced from Kent producers.
• We support new and established producers by committing to buy their produce, so underwriting their investment.
• We have minimised packaging with our suppliers and have removed 99% of single-use plastic. We expect that to go to 100% this year.
• Our delivery rounds are not given time slots, so we can maximise their efficiency. Some 80% of our delivery rounds are at 100% capacity for the van. We deliver from 3am so reducing idle time in traffic.
• We only order what we have sold each week, so we minimise waste as much as possible.
• Our produce is truly seasonal. If it isn’t growing in Kent we don’t supply it.
• We coordinate with our smaller producers to take any excess crops and ship to our customers.
• We pay full price to our producers and do not pressure for discount.
We make a positive impact on the environment in the following ways:
• We source from Kent, reducing food miles.
• We take all veg regardless of size or shape, reducing waste.
• We take excess crops from producers and will add to our boxes until exhausted.
• We collect from all our producers on the same day so as to limit their delivery emissions.
• We prioritise no-spray-use producers. We estimate this accounts for 85% of our produce.
• Our customers can return all our cardboard and chill packaging for reuse, and are reminded to do so.
• 95% of our produce comes to us free from individual packaging.
• Bulk packaging is returned to the producer if they can take it back; where not returnable (generally cardboard) we separate for recycling.
• Our small-bag packaging is biodegradable. We will go to compostable when current stocks are used.
• By operating a ‘named day’ delivery schedule we do not have inefficient delivery rounds, so reducing fuel emissions.
• For additional non-veg products, we source from producers who share our ethics and approach, for example free-range meat from Oink & Udder, grass-fed lamb from Heathcote lamb, locally- and sustainably-caught fish from Dungeness Fish and free-range eggs from Woodlands Farm
By sourcing only seasonal veg, we are encouraging our customers to eat seasonally while helping them to understand why seasonal produce is better and when each product is in season here. We share regular recipes and ideas of how to use the produce in the boxes, encouraging people to cook at home and explore new ingredients and helping to prevent food waste.