My kids’ school has entered into a partnership which brilliantly combines:
- raising funds for the school
- convenient access to fresh fruit and vegetables,
- support for local farmers (Mornington Peninsula through to Gippsland), and
- environmental benefits like reduced food waste, carbon footprint and packaging waste!
The school has joined vegie box delivery service, FarmGate Online, as a ‘FarmGate’ collection point for the local community. When people place their fruit and vegetable orders and choose Poowong Consolidated School as the collection point, FarmGate online gives the school 10% of the profits.
It’s great because the school doesn’t have to ask anyone to do anything they wouldn’t normally do to earn the funds. Most people need to buy their fruit and vegetables somewhere, so why not through the school FarmGate if that means fresher food that hasn’t travelled far or been in storage for a long time. The quicker the food gets from the farm to the home, the longer it will last and the less likely it will be wasted.
FarmGate Online was established to ensure farmers get a fair price for their produce enabling them to run viable businesses. It also means our money is kept in our local economy which helps communities thrive, and the school will be in a better position to support local students and families.
So many wins! But that’s not all.
If you don’t grow your own fruit and vegetables in our community, there’s a fair bit of travel involved to get to the shops, which can take up most of the day, or you rush to get shopping done when in town for various appointments and other errands. If we don’t have to do this as often we save fuel and time. Now we have the convenience of online ordering and delivery but without all the plastic bags and packaging that would come from a supermarket delivery. In fact, there’s no plastic bags, no tags, no stickers, and no receipts!
FarmGate Online listened to customer feedback that they wanted less plastic packaging and so switched to Biobags and box liners made from renewable materials like waste corn and potato starch for the use of plastic they felt was unavoidable. The Biobags and liners are certified 100% home compostable and will take up to 12 weeks to break down depending on how good your composting setup is. If you don’t have a composting set up or council organics collection, you can return it to FarmGate Online and they will ensure it goes to a commercial composting facility where it will break down in about six weeks. Please do not put compostable bags in the rubbish bin – remember nothing really breaks down in landfill and we’re trying to avoid landfill in the first place.
You may have heard conflicting messages about degradable, biodegradable and compostable plastic bags and that some of these options are not as good for the environment as they seem, so here is a great explanation from Choice about the differences. Home compostable is the best alternative to petroleum based plastic, as long as it ends up being composted.
I asked FarmGate Online if they could skip the box liner altogether but they said to be able to reuse the polystyrene boxes, a lining is required because they have no control over what may get put into the box while it’s at a customer’s home. The liners ensure the produce doesn’t come in contact with anything that could pose a risk to customer health. The boxes are reused for as long as possible before being returned to the manufacturer for recycling.
In the end, the only waste would be the cling wrap used on cut products like melons and celery. I simply avoid this by ordering whole items. I find I have plenty of time to use such fresh food, but otherwise I would freeze the food so I don’t waste it.
I should clarify that this is not a sponsored post for FarmGate Online, however, I think it is a great idea for a school fundraiser and I encourage you to support our school and local farmers if you are in the area. Simply go to FarmGate Online and set up an account, selecting Poowong Consolidated School as the farm gate. You can buy fruit boxes, vegetable boxes, organic boxes, mixed boxes or simply choose what you would like. They also sell eggs, rice, lentils, and more. Orders need to be in by midnight on Mondays for delivery on Thursdays.
Or, get started raising funds for your own school or organisation.
As always, I’m happy to read your thoughts and have a discussion, so feel free to use the comments to share your ideas and thoughts.