Vegetable box scheme
A vegetable box scheme is a delivery of fresh vegetables, usually locally grown and organic, either directly to the customer or to a local collection point.
A vegetable box scheme is usually operated by the grower or a small co-operative to add value and support the local food economy. There are approximately 600 such schemes operating in the UK and by early 2007, according to the Soil Association, retail sales via such schemes were in excess of £100 million per annum.
Many schemes are run on a local or regional basis, delivering food direct from the producer to the consumer. Other schemes offer a nationwide delivery, with produce supplied by a network of growers, co-operatives and wholesalers. Some British supermarkets have also begun offering vegetable boxes, causing concern that this would affect established independent schemes, but their impact appears to have been limited.
How a vegetable box scheme works
A box scheme usually works by subscription. A customer signs up to a weekly or fortnightly delivery of fresh vegetables and/or fruit. The contents are not ordered by the customer, but are selected by the box scheme provider on the basis of seasonality and availability. Some schemes offer the option of purchasing extra goods to be delivered along with the vegetable box, such as dairy produce and meat.
An organic vegetable box scheme will be certified as organic by a government approved body, such as the Soil Association.
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