(photos by erin).
Besides being vegan and avoiding animal products, I try to eat locally grown food as much as possible. This makes sense to me because of sustainability (New Zealand is far from everywhere, and food has to be packaged and treated to travel), taste (ripe, seasonal food is more delicious) and community (supporting New Zealand businesses and individuals keeps the economy healthy, buying straight from a grower is a friendlier experience). In the last couple of years I’ve been excited about farmers’ markets and the rising interest in urban food production.
So I was really excited when the Ooooby (out of our own back yards) community launched a new project: weekly vegetable boxes! We’ve signed up as foundation customers, and have had boxes delivered to our door each week. For a little bit of extra money, we sponsor a portion of a box to go to Auckland City Mission.
Boxes so far have been all fruit and vegetables. I asked about whether they would always be vegan. The Ooooby people said they may include eggs (okay for me as I live with a lacto-ovo vegetarian), but eventually you will be able to pick and choose to avoid animal products.
Ooooby is really passionate about developing new ways of growing and distributing food that is based in local community, and is healthy and sustainable. The food boxes aim to contain local, organic produce – sometimes they’re not as local and sometimes not as organic (this week’s box included organic fair trade bananas from Ecuador and conventionally sprayed carrots from Pukekohe) but they work towards an ideal. They explain more about how they make decisions in their FAQ. Each box comes with a newsletter explaining where each item grew, who grew it and whether it’s organic.
The Ooooby online community is a place to discuss gardening, food production and local food with people all over the world, though membership seems to have an Auckland focus. The site includes an Auckland Raw Vegans group for sharing recipes, resources and support. I just joined the site – be my ooooby friend?