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Fresh Produce Out Of Our Own Backyards

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my snap the other week of a box full of fresh fruit and veggies, exclaiming I had received my first Ooooby. You may have wondered what on earth is an Ooooby. And then you may have wondered last week where my blog post was that I had promised! While I try to write at least once a fortnight, sometimes I find myself too busy or unmotivated to blog. Last week saw me inspired in the kitchen making all of these lovely meals and out in the garden tending to my plants. Well this week you have been blessed with not one but two blog posts, as I was motivated to continue writing my toothpaste post I started a while ago. And as promised, my Ooooby post....

A lil mix Ooooby box
Ooooby stands for Out Of Our Own Backyards, it's this cool initiative that brings local produce straight to your door. Many sustainability champions and zero wasters will at some point mention how important it is to buy local produce from the farmers market. I absolutely agree with this, you are reducing your environmental footprint by buying locally and you are supporting your local farmers and local economy. Why Ooooby? I totally believe in what this company is about! Local, organic, waste free produce straight to my doorstep, yes please! It's like an online farmer's market! While I enjoy going to the farmer's market, I also enjoy sleeping in on a weekend and spending time with my friends. I found I kept missing the local markets, and to be honest the local markets weren't quite that local- that is I couldn't walk to any of them. I am currently without a bicycle, I have caught public transport before to Parnell Farmer's Market & La Cigale Market, the rest of the markets are just not quite easily reachable by public transport. This is a very typical Auckland problem, as the place was designed around cars, but I won't go in to that! After discovering Ooooby a few months back, and thinking on it for a while, it seemed a logical solution for a busy/lazy person who likes fresh local produce. I researched the company in those few months, and weighed up my priorities. I was concerned  I about the potential waste, packaging and the extra greenhouse gases of delivering straight to my door. I figured that while having stuff delivered to my house isn't the most sustainable thing ever, it was likely equal to, or even better than me driving my 27 year old car to the nearest local market (on average 20 minutes away) and the van will be out and about around my area anyway. Also when Ooooby posted a photo of an electric car doing deliveries, then I knew I would be supporting a great company. Additionally, all of the other environmental, ethical, economical and health positives of this product outweighed my concern. Prior to signing up I emailed Ooooby asking about their packaging and was advised that packaging is minimal, occasionally a rubber band or paper bag. They do use biodegradable plastic bags however if you order the "specialty items" (i.e. not fruit and vege), and the only bit of plastic is that of the tape. Check out the awesome response I got to my original query:

"We would welcome any suggestions and tips of making our operation more waste-free, so feel free to shoot over any ideas you might have for us after you have received your first box. I am a big proponent of zero waste. One thing I love so much about my own Ooooby boxes is not having a big pile of plastic wrappers left after I put everything in the fridge, I just have a full fridge and an empty carton box :-)"
And on the follow up email after receiving our first box, Ooooby gently reminds everyone...

While I have belonged to companies who deliver produce boxes before, the produce wasn't as local (within NZ), it was sometimes plastic packaged and the whole service felt impersonal and conventional. Ooooby pay their farmer's 50% of the profits, that's really impressive as farmers are typically are paid only 30%.  What I really like is that when you receive your box, it tells you exactly what comes from where, who the growers are, where they are and what methods they use (i.e. organic or spray free). It really is about connecting the customer to the grower and knowing exactly where their food came from. They even introduce you to the growers, with farmer features on their website,
How's that for local?!
 For more info on Ooooby, check out the video below explaining the process and the FAQ page on their website.


I made some delicious healthy meals using my Ooooby produce, including sweet corn fritters, leek and courgette fritters, stir fry, fresh salads, a green smoothie, dahl with courgettes and kale chips. I also fermented a sauerkraut using an old cabbage and a purple Ooooby cabbage, and I made a spiced apple Kombucha, and a plum Kombucha (told you I've been busy in the kitchen!) 
We are currently receiving our Ooooby boxes fortnightly, as I have my own garden. In saying that my garden has been taken over a bit by self seeded pumpkins,they sprouted from my compost which I laid on my garden. I am also growing tomatoes, kale, chilli, rhubarb and various herbs.

                             

I also source fresh produce from my friend's and neighbours gardens. The other day I asked my neighbour for a lemon off her huge tree (there were a few ripe ones left), and was in awe as she showed me around her garden; It was truly magical, full of lush fruit trees, shrubs, vegetables and giant sweetcorn. In addition to this amazing garden, my other neighbour has a similarly beautiful garden at the front of his property. If I wasn't renting, I would turn our whole front yard (which is currently a giant, inconvenient lawn) to a massive community garden. It is the most ideal space as we do not have a fenced property, and we have the largest empty front lawn on the whole street. But in the meantime I have a small vege patch out the back, with a bunch of plants growing in pots, and a worm farm and compost bin. As you can imagine, moving house can be a bit of a pain when we have a whole garden in tow! Just this weekend Callan (the BF) came home with FOUR rainwater barrels he had purchased off Trade Me (alongside more distilling equipment).

While I am on the topic of food, I feel I need to touch on food waste. WasteMINZ found that the average New Zealand household throws away over $560 worth of food a year. Fermenting and preserving are great skills to learn, and don't forget the trusty freezer also! My freezer is stocked full of jars of bread ends, fruit, veges, aquafaba, whey, vege stock, vege scraps and more. A Facebook page I recommend to follow is Love Food Hate Waste- New Zealand, they post lots of handy tips for avoiding food waste. Also check out Zero Waste Chef's blog post on freezing food plastic free. If you are interested in composting, Compost Collective are running a number of free courses around Auckland at the moment also.

I will be offline for the rest of this week as I am volunteering at Splore on the Zero Waste team, so you can expect an exciting post on that when I return (and have recuperated enough to write it!)  

Note: I am not affiliated or endorsed by Ooooby, I wish to spread the word of an amazing environmentally conscious local company!

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