A sustainable future
26th February 2021
Delving deeper into the issue of sustainability, writes Debs Pennell, there are many questions… Why do supermarkets offer so many products with far too much packaging, often in plastics that are non-recyclable? What can I do to help the environment?
Isabella Hamnett wrote about The Eco Village in Market Harborough in the November 2020 issue of Local Living magazine, and it appears that the lockdowns have since played their part in rallying an ethically driven group of people to set up eco-friendly businesses across our local area. It is good to see we may finally be turning a corner…
ALL GOOD MARKET
St Paul’s Street, Stamford PE9 2BE, @allgoodmarketstamford
A career change for owner Annabel Britton was prompted by the first lockdown in 2020. Annabel was working for a travel company in Paris, when Covid-19 hit. She said, ‘When I was living in Paris, I used to walk around the corner to a small shop where the prime ethos was sustainability. So, when I decided to come home before the first lockdown, it got me thinking – maybe I could try and establish a similar-style shop in Stamford; one where you can pick up locally sourced basics such as milk, bread and eggs, but also staples like pasta, pulses, nuts and much more. And, so my journey to running a sustainable-living shop began.’ Head to the shop and follow Annabel’s journey on Facebook and Instagram.
THE ECO SHOP
Ryhall Road, Great Casterton, Rutland PE9 4AR, theecoshop.net
Michelle Martell opened The Eco Shop in October 2020, having spent the last few years working within an organisation caring for the homeless in Grantham and Peterborough. With a young family of her own, she had decided a career change would offer more flexibility. ‘Since becoming a parent and having a larger household,’ Michelle said, ‘I was more and more unhappy with the how quickly our recycling bin was filling up, mainly with single-use plastic from food packaging. I really care about the environment and what is happening to our oceans, and it prompted me to look at what I could do to make a difference. Opening a refill shop gives me the chance to offer plastic-free shopping. It is exciting to see how many customers have the same thoughts on packaging, and their desire to reuse and refill.’ You can order online and click and collect.
Charlotte Steventon has been at the Oundle Refill Revolution since it began trading in June 2019, having given up her job as a primary school teacher. In July 2020 she was offered the franchise and decided to take it on. The unit at Oundle Wharf is easily accessible and stocks all of the Refill Revolution products. Asked what her favourite product is, she replied, ‘It is tricky to choose, but it would have to be either the spelt pasta or the egg-free noodles.’
In addition to running Oundle Refill Revolution, Charlotte Steventon teamed up with Julie Danby to open the Stamford franchise in September 2020, in the Corn Exchange Arcade. Prior to lockdown, and in the autumn of 2020, this concession was already proving to be a very popular venture, with many regular customers, and a great selection of refill food products. Don’t forget to take your own clean containers to fill.
RUTLAND REFILL ZERO WASTE COMMUNITY SHOP
Westgate Street, Oakham LE15 6BH, @Rutland Refill
In the next few months, Oakham will have its own sustainable living food store and cafe. Jenni Penfold and a wonderful group of like-minded souls are bringing their individual expertise to the Rutland Refill Shop project. Jenni said: ‘The team are working to create a space for the community, along with a cafe, refill station and shop. We will also be providing a platform for people with SEN (special educational needs) to work and to gain qualifications and experience in a friendly, inclusive environment. The shop plans to have space for local artisan producers to showcase their wares, and also for growers from the local allotment society, who may have excess fresh vegetables and fruit to sell. In addition, we will offer a recycling centre for all things TerraCycle.’ The shop will be run as a charity/not-for-profit concern, and the aim is to create a real hub for the community.
Visit Facebook for more information about this future project and the Rutland Refill Go Fund Me page.
REDISTRIBUTION OF FOOD ‘WASTE’
Barn Hill, Stamford, PE9 2AE, secondhelpings.org.uk
Second Helpings aims to reduce food waste by re-distributing food gifted from local supermarkets, businesses, allotments and growers who have excess produce. As part of the national Real Junk Food Project, their focus is to make food accessible to all. In 2020, their Saturday cafe was closed due to Covid-19, but visits to The Bunker (where customers can collect produce) rose from 180 customers per week pre-lockdown to 350 customers a week. Their fantastic team of volunteer cooks turn rescued food into nutritious, individually boxed meals, which are offered at The Bunker on a pay-as-you-feel basis, or through SOS Stamford. By the end of 2020, around 70,000kg of food had been rescued and redistributed, the majority which would have otherwise ended up in landfill!
A dedicated team of volunteers donate their time to food collection, cooking, working in The Bunker and many other roles. Rhea took on the role of managing The Bunker in early 2020 and said: ‘In my life I’ve experienced stability, comfort and luxury… yet something was missing. Second Helpings feeds my soul and offers many a sense of hope. Saving food waste and creating an environment where everyone is welcome is what makes it special.’
A great place to find local producers and buy food items without masses of packaging.
Stamford: Main market day is Friday on Broad Street, with a smaller market every Saturday in Red Lion Square. Farmers’ markets are held on Fridays every two weeks.
Rutland: Market days in Oakham are Wednesday and Saturday, with farmers’ markets on the third Saturday of the month. Uppingham’s market day is Friday.
Oundle: Thursday is market day with a farmers’ market on the second Saturday of the month.
Market Harborough: The Indoor Market is open on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Farmers’ markets are held in the centre of town on the first and third Thursday in every month.
SUSTAINABLE AND LOCALLY SOURCED FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Buying seasonally from local independents cuts food miles and packaging.
Wothorpe Nurseries, Stamford PE9 3JG: Large selection of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits, all sourced locally. Follow them on Facebook
Farndon Fields Farm Shop, Market Harborough LE16 9NP: Over 40 different varieties of fruit and veg are grown on their own farm. Their homegrown produce is handpicked every morning and transported directly to the farm shop, keeping food miles to a minimum and achieving the freshest possible produce. The shop also stocks a range of locally sourced items, including products that will support a greener lifestyle, such as lovely raffia ‘bags for life’ by Leicestershire brand French Bliss. farndonfields.co.uk
FRESH FROM THE FARM
Buying meat direct from the farm has become more popular and reduces food miles. Most farmers offer individual joints, half or whole carcasses. Here are some local examples:
3 Daughters @ Croft Farm, Uffington: This farm local to Stamford has been offering meat boxes to friends over many years. More recently, the Genever’s three daughters, Liz, Kate and Susan, have decided to expand this offering with home-produced beef and lamb boxes in several sizes, and even mixed boxes and individual joints, when available. Hogget and mutton may also be available on request. All stock is home reared in the fields surrounding the farm. Follow them via their Facebook page @Croft Farm Uffington, or on Instagram @3_daughters_croft_farm. To place an order, contact Susan on firstname.lastname@example.org
Collyweston Lamb: Fantastic-quality lamb from a prize-winning flock. Available direct from the farm when in season, as a half or whole lamb. Contact: email@example.com
Hambleton Farms at Gates Garden Centre: All lamb and beef served from the counters, and used in Hambletons ready-prepared meals, is raised on Gates’ farm at Cold Overton next to the farm shop. gatesfarmshop.co.uk
Oundle Waste Less (OWL)
A volunteer-led initiative, with the primary target of making Oundle a more sustainable environment. Many shops and businesses are on board with the free refill of water bottles, with an app available to download from refill.org.uk. Another idea in the pipeline is a seed swap, encouraging local people to grow their own vegetables. Regular OWL talks, covering environmental issues, are organised during the year.
Council-led environmental initiatives
A number of local councils are also providing environmental initiatives. Check out the ‘Transition’ website to see if your local town or village is on board. transitionnetwork.org