This post is part 2 of a three-part series. You can read part 1 here.
Last post I referenced a few things we’ve bought in our efforts to be more eco-friendly, but those were things that we just started trying in the past few months or so. In this post I’ll chat about the conscious buying habits we’ve developed over several years, and a few deeper thoughts on how each choice impacts our family.
I waffled around when I came to considering how I spend on groceries. There’s the whole buy-local-support-farmers movement which we’ve looked into and I’ll talk about in just a moment. But then I stumbled on Flashfood (I want to say that it was seeing the physical freezer in a Superstore that prompted me to look it up) and we haven’t looked back. Flashfood consolidates all those “take me home tonight” stickered items and makes them visible. Download the app, save groceries from going to the landfill, and do it at a steep discount.
The crazy thing is how cheap food can get in Canada. The produce we bring home rarely goes bad; everything else has always been fine even for the next week. Yes, we’ve had our share of moldy oranges going straight into the compost. But meat is portioned and goes into the freezer, fresh produce gets eaten up quick at our place, and Flashfood also lets us try snacks that we otherwise wouldn’t purchase. If you’re a flexible or an adventurous cook (I’m more the former, seeing as I love figuring out substitutes and replacements in recipes), Flashfood works especially well.
This is something I could have talked in the “now” post, as we’ve really only signed on with them since last August. However, we’ve been with a farmers’ veggie subscription before, and found this one to be much better. For a flat $10 delivery fee, Dunvegan will deliver straight to your door. We find that the small box lasts us for about a week and a half, and we top up with Flashfood / small regular grocery purchases in between. There is a marked difference in the freshness of produce, especially in the summer. My toddler was already entering her suspicious-of-new-foods phase, but when I shucked the corn and asked her to smell it, her immediate next step was to chomp, chomp, chomp. Which we did for a bit.
The farm is still starting up and they have a bit of work to do in their communication and packaging, but the customer service is fantastic and the people are very real. While it’s true that Loblaws / Superstore sources from Western province farmers as well (Big Marble Farms for tomatoes, anyone?), to know that I can get equivalent value but have my money go towards someone else that I’ve chatted with is an attractive thought. We’ve also visited the farm (just outside of Calgary) during their Christmas market season and it’s crazy to think that I can see where my money goes (so to speak).
Finally, where I live, there’s a local auction group for the city quadrant I’m in. This is the longest habit I’ve developed with regards to consumption: keeping my spending on items largely to the auction group, and thus to the secondhand market. Facebook Marketplace is also great for buying secondhand. Through these channels I’ve scored a waffle maker, immersion blender (when my first one broke), wok, dessert plates; and a huge amount of furniture: our toddler’s bunk bed, our kitchen table and chairs, toys, a cupboard, and shelves. All of these were items that we were able to buy slowly (they didn’t need to be purchased right away) and there’s a lot of fun in selling / giving what we don’t have use for any more either. I’m happy to say that the toddler is picking up on the idea that things that we don’t need can and should be given away.
Of all my conscious buying habits, I think this is the one I enjoy the most. I love the idea of things going in a cycle to people who can and want to use them. But a postface (as opposed to a preface: these buying habits are possible because I have the time and leisure to browse on the internet, and also the gas to drive around (although we do try to plan our trips wisely), and because I’m not in such dire straits that there are things I need right away. My friends, like myself, are likely in a similar situation, but I can appreciate that not everyone has the time or energy to follow all these avenues.
Next post: things that I have my eye on to try in the future!
Featured photo: This was our first shipment of veggies from Dunvegan (and that was the small box!) The box seems to have varied in size since then (this box seemed particularly large) but they go by weight and that’s been consistent every time! Mind you, the plastic is my biggest quibble, but if you have the budget for it, 2022 could be your very-fresh-produce-year 🤭