Vegetable box schemes are usually run buy a farm. They simply fill a box with assorted vegetables. Sometimes the farm might pack some cheese, eggs, pickles or jam, if you want. They are often organic, and always local and in season.
You order your vegetable box from the farm, by telephone or over the internet, or through a local shop. For example, my Healthfood shop will order vegetable boxes. They cost between £7 and £10, depending on the farm and the size of the box. The box is delivered to your house, or you can pick it up from the shop or farm (including evenings and weekends).
This might seem a little odd to some people reading this post!
Let me put it in context:
- Supermarkets have put smaller greengrocers, bakers and butchers out of business in many UK towns.
- Where smaller shops and food markets do exist, they tend to only open during week days. So anyone who works 9am-5pm cannot use them. My experience is that they are run by older people who still think that all women are house-wives! (I don't actually know any women who are full-time housewives - even young mothers usually have part-time jobs - I don't know how common this is in other places)
- The fruit and veg in the supermarkets is over-packaged, not organic, and imported from other countries. When they do sell organic food, it is usually expensive.
- British people have been encouraged to eat Mediteranean and Asian food for several years, because it is healthier and lower in saturated fat that traditional British food (we are an obese nation, and prone to heart attacks...). These types of food require ingredients that are not native to the UK, or would only be available over summer.
- As people lead busy lifestyles, they often eat more convenience foods, fast food and take-aways. So they don't tend to buy and cook with local produce.
Of course, this is a generalisation, and not true of the entire UK.
But this is certainly true of many areas where I've lived and worked.
Recently there has been a rebellion against this! Celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall have been encouraging people to start cooking fresh, organic food (instead of relying on convenience food). Traditional British food is becoming popular again! People are also aware of their "Carbon Footprint" - and are starting to choose food that is locally grown with minimal packaging becasue it is more environmentally friendly.
Here's a few links:
A blog about vegetable boxes, with recipes and newsletter
Soil Association Scotland
- Includes case studies, and information on setting up a vegetable box scheme
British Recipes (mostly not
vegan! - but can be adapted)