A dublin shop owner has told of the “Small Changes” we can make this January to help save the planet.
Peadar Rice started his sustainable business back in 2010 and has come a long way since. Not only does his company encourage people to live a healthier lifestyle to benefit the Earth, they spend a lot of time educating children to help them see the fun in making the change.
He told Dublin Live: “Small Changes has been on the go since 2010, it started off in Gorey in Wexford and we moved up to Drumcondra in 2015. Then we set up a second shop in Inchicore.
“The whole idea of the business is there as a resource for people to have an affordable and accessible opportunity to make changes to their lifestyles, whether it’s food or household products.
“I started the business because I’ve had health issues, I’d cancer over the years and I felt this area of retail was targeted with upper middle income, those with disposable incomes and the people who most needed access to nutritious food were being priced out of it.
“I was in the shop in Inchicore, there were three young children in with their mother doing the shopping. They were amazed that they could scoop what they wanted, fill their bags, use the weighing scales, it was a fun experience for them.
“Despite the Covid restrictions, we try to get everyone engaged. If you engage children, they can use their energy to encourage their parents to get onboard with new ideas.
“Before the pandemic, we worked with primary schools and talked about food, where it comes from, how it’s grown. We’ve a garden so we showed them how we plant and harvest. They also had the chance to work in our juice bar. One class had to make juice with apples, carrots and beetroot.
“I’ll never forget the one kid who screwed up his face and said that he hated beetroot even though he never had it. He eventually tried it and he loved it.
“The next week he brought his parents into the store and he was putting beetroot into the basket, I recognised him and told his parents that he loved beetroot and they were gobsmacked.”
The idea of Small Changes is to only buy what you need instead of buying in bulk, and the concept can make you save money in the long run as well as lowering your packaging and food waste.
“It’s not only the environmental pollution caused by plastic packaging, there’s a huge problem with food waste,” Mr Rice added.
“If you’re restricted to buy two kilos of carrots if you live on your own, you could end up having to dump half of it.
“It’s accessible too, people on reduced budgets like elderly people living alone, we’ve quite a lot of elderly customers that buy two potatoes and a carrot because that’s all they need for their dinner.
“We’re not dictating to you what you buy, our customers come in and they buy exactly what they need.
“There’s a better choice because all our fresh produce is loose and you can come in and pick what you want, check it out and you know what you buy is good because you can physically touch it.
“There’s multipacks of fruit on sale in shops and you think you’re getting a great deal but if you’re not consuming it all, you’re throwing it into the bin and losing out.”
With Veganuary on the mind, Peadar thinks that it’s drastic to ask people to make a huge change straight away, and instead of going cold turkey straight away, he believes that you should make small changes over time.
He said: “Pick one day of the week and say that day is going to be vegetarian or vegan. Veganuary is a great idea but rather than cutting out all meat and dairy for the whole month, the chances are someone isn’t going to follow that or they mightn’t follow it after the month.
“Start small, see the changes you’ve made, slowly and continuously make small adjustments. If you expect people to erratically make changes overnight, it’s not practical and not sustainable so do it in small bits.
“We’re facing huge problems on an environmental basis, it can be very daunting for people to say what can I do? But one small change on it’s own doesn’t mean anything but as a community, if we all make small changes collectively, those changes can have huge and dramatic impacts.”
You can check out the store here with options to shop online and even get your food delivered straight to your door.
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