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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bristol chapter.

When lockdown hit in March this year, several online images began to circulate of empty supermarket shelves as shoppers stockpiled food and other essential items. I have vivid memories of walking into Sainsbury’s to do my weekly shop and seeing the shop assistants leave the pallets of newly delivered stock by the front entrance, simply because customers were taking the items before they could stack the shelves. Buying food should not be a stressful mission and certainly not a ‘first come, first served’ procedure. Bristol Veg Boxes eliminates this escapade whilst supporting local growers and suppliers by delivering fresh produce straight to your doorstep.  

Bristol Veg Boxes runs through the website Ooooby, which stands for ‘Out Of Our Own Back Yards’. Ooooby operate throughout the UK, as well as in Australia and New Zealand. They work with local businesses to send boxes of organic fruit and vegetables to their customers.  

How it works: 

There are three size options when ordering your box from BVB: small, medium and large. The Small Veg Box is a selection of 6 seasonal veggies and is designed to feed 1-2 people a week. As it stands, potatoes, carrots and onions are staples for all three box sizes, but the additional vegetables differ each week to give customers some variety. You have the option to subscribe to a weekly or fortnightly box, or just as a one-off order. Regular subscribers will always receive their veggie box on the same day each week to make meal planning nice and simple. A small veg box costs £8.75 and delivery is free on all local orders! Imagine not needing to lug you heavy shopping bags up St. Michaels Hill or Whiteladies! There is also the option to order a variety of other local products such as bread from The Bristol Loaf, or coffee from TrueStart, who are based in Redcliffe.  

Who they are:  

In January this year, Bristol Veg Boxes was run by only two people: Andy, and a temporary helper, Jack. Their customer base had been building up over 6-7 years prior to then, with the majority of their customers being on the regular subscription service. At this time, Andy and Jack were delivering to approximately 200 customers a week. Once lockdown hit, this number more than doubled! In the space of 3-4 weeks Andy employed two more workers to manage with the increasing workload, and simultaneously planned to replace their ordering system with a more efficient website (Ooooby). 

Shop local: 

By ordering from Bristol Veg Boxes you will not only be supporting Andy’s business, but also all of the businesses that contribute to the service. At least 50% of the retail value of the produce they buy in goes to the growers and suppliers. On top of this, buying produce locally results in less packaging, fewer pesticides and less transport to get the items from the growers to your kitchen. BVB believe that ‘changing the way we produce and distribute food is fundamental to solving the world’s most pressing social and ecological problems’.  

The impacts of Coronavirus:  

In our correspondence Andy told me of the ‘dramatic price increases due to us being out of season’ when the UK went into lockdown. As a consequence, he had to raise the prices of the veg boxes by £1, which was ‘100% spend on cost price of the box’. Despite the uncertain global and national situation, Bristol Veg Boxes moved premises and changed their online software during lockdown. They managed this all while completing around 450 deliveries a week! Once the government restrictions relaxed, the figures decreased, yet the current 4-week lockdown has pushed business back up again. 

Andy tells me, ‘Lockdown hasn’t been easy, but I couldn’t be more grateful for the positive response from all of our new customers that have fallen in love with the service. Many people have stayed on as regular customers & our business has increased.’ 

It’s really encouraging to see a local business thriving in difficult times, especially one which has so many positive impacts on the community. Future plans for BVB are to acquire their own land to grow their own vegetables, so watch this space! 


This article is part of a themed content week collaborating with local businesses to promote shopping small during lockdown and beyond. 

Freya Gagg

Bristol '22

Third year Liberal Arts student majoring in English. Head of Publicity & Relations with other societies at HC Bristol 20/21
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