Shop Love: Veg box schemes – local, green, organic, tastier & cheaper than the supermarket

Even with the best of intentions, it's often difficult to get your local farmer's market or independent greengrocer – should you be lucky enough to have any. It's uninspiring to have to fall back on supermarket vegetables, with their often high carbon footprint, overall lack of flavour from prolonged cold storage, and questionable nutritional value...

Happily, there's a simple answer that can not only save you time and money, but also give your tastebuds and tummy a treat, help you get seasonally creative with your menus and do your local economy a whole lot of good: vegetable box schemes!

Across the UK, there are now literally hundreds of different veg box schemes for you to choose from, each offering a mouth-watering selection of locally-grown goodies. In many cases, these schemes also offer seasonal fruits, local dairy products, superior meats and larder staples. Many schemes offer a choice of different boxes, so you can tailor the amount and type of goodies you receive, and most will deliver straight to your door or a convenient drop-off point.

Veg box Soil Association 3

Get inspired!

As they're seasonal, veg boxes are especially good if you're a bit tired of your favourite recipes and need some culinary inspiration. Being confronted by the likes of a crisply green young globe artichoke or some tender early broad beans still snuggled in their pods is a wholly pleasant surprise that will mean you'll need to hit the 'net or your stash of cookery books to make the most of them. Using the finest local ingredients to bring fresh new tastes to your table? We like!

More than just boxes...

Quite often, the folks behind your local veg box scheme bring much more to your community. One of The Simple Things' local schemes is run by The Community Farm, who grow organically on 22 member-owned acres. The farm's dedicated to "the resilience of our food security, the local economy, and to the development of a self-sustaining, low-carbon food and farming system," which is a splendid way to go about things. The farm's members run hands-on activities, courses and open days that anyone can enjoy, plus such special initiatives as 'Could you live supermarket-free for a year?', which we'll be bringing you more about in due course.

So if you try out your local box scheme, and it's only part of a bigger picture, why not consider getting involved yourself? You could learn fresh skills, meet new people and help your community in a very grass roots way...

So how do I find my local veg box scheme?

You can look up your local veg box schemes via, which lists 194 for the UK. If you're having trouble locating a scheme near you, send a message to the Soil Association, who are longtime supporters of these initiatives, and they'll get back to you with the details.

If you'd like to let us know about your favourite box scheme, please do leave a comment below, then you can share the veggie love with everyone!

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