At The Mart Farm Shop, we believe small steps lead to big changes. We want to run our family business by doing what feels right. For us, this means making the health of the planet a priority. A phrase you’ll often hear us say is “local, seasonal and organic where possible”. This is one of our key aims, alongside our long-term goal of becoming a zero-waste shop.
Local, seasonal and organic: It’s cheap, easy and better for the planet
The ideas of shopping locally and seasonally are impossible to separate. For example, it’s impossible to find locally-grown strawberries in winter, because they’re summer berries. In winter, big supermarkets fly or truck strawberries from thousands of miles away. This creates a massive carbon footprint. To add to this, they’re wrapped in excessive, unsustainable packaging that ends up as waste in a landfill. Finally, when these out-of-season strawberries reach the supermarket they must be refrigerated. This means more wasted electricity.
Luckily, our local growers can offer us something much better. They deliver truly fresh, natural goods that have travelled in some cases only a few yards to get to our shop. These goods are more nutritious, have no non-recyclable packaging, and often don’t need refrigeration. Plus, by eating them you won’t be ingesting harmful toxins. While some of our products aren’t certified organic, we only work with trusted suppliers who try to keep their farms as close to nature as possible.
There are two more benefits to shopping local and seasonal: convenience and cost. Instead of wasting time and petrol driving to a distant superstore, you can walk to our accessible shop. Best of all, because we only sell products that are in-season, supply is high. That means we can sell produce at a cheaper price than Tesco’s.
At The Mart Farm Shop, we champion the people of East Lothian. Our suppliers are our friends and neighbours. Their work goes far beyond providing us with the tastiest food. By maintaining healthy farms, they conserve our beautiful countryside. This protects East Lothian’s natural areas from property developers. By supporting local farmers, you’ll not only be looking after the planet, but also strengthening our local economy.
Going zero waste: Our long-term goal
As consumers ourselves, we know how hard it is to shop without ending up with a mountain of recycling and waste. For us, going zero waste starts with some small steps:
1. Reduce unnecessary packaging by choosing products wrapped as nature intended. We try not to use cellophane or shrink wrap. If our fruit and veg do need a little extra protection, the packaging will be recyclable.
2. Wherever possible, avoid buying new containers.
3. Prevent food waste: buy only what you need.
These three steps will cut your shopping costs and lessen our impact on the environment.
Why refill stations?
Using a refill station is a great way to stop buying new containers and packaging. They’re easy to use, too: Simply bring your own containers and fill them up with household essentials. Any old container will do – if we can weigh it, you can fill it. Old glass jars, yoghurt tubs, Tupperware and Ziploc bags all make great containers. If you need help, our team is here to walk you through the system.
We stock brands like eCover, Ecoleaf, BioD, and Faith in Nature. We’re also waiting for our new Gravity Bins to arrive. These bins will allow you to refill your containers with dry goods like pasta, rice, grains, cereals, nuts and more. This will set The Mart Farm Shop on its way to becoming a zero-waste loose food and plastic-free shop in the heart of East Lothian.
Refilling also prevents food waste. You can buy precise amounts – no more buying ten pounds of flour when you only need a cup or two. After getting used to it, you’ll find refilling reduces your shopping expenses and your environmental impact.
In the future, we aim to be as close to zero-waste as possible. If you have any suggestions about how we can make our shop more environmentally friendly, we’re always looking for ways to improve. Caring for the planet is a community project and we would love your input.