Beetbox is a weekly veg box enterprise run by University of Kent students. I met Emilia Brumpton, one of founders, to find out more about the initiative and its future.
How was Beetbox founded?
During my first year at Kent I was introduced to NUS Student Eats, an organisation who promote sustainable food production and consumption within universities and colleges in the UK. I applied for a start-up fund through NUS Student Eats and amazingly was given £1000 to enable us to start our own project at Kent.
Over the following year we spent time working on our concept, suppliers and brand whilst Student Eats supported us with gathering students together to support the project. In September 2018 Beetbox was launched!
So, what is the concept and ethos behind Beetbox?
It’s really hard for students to eat healthy, organic, seasonal and local foods. So this enterprise enables us to run a not for profit business so students get great veg at cost price.
We have wonderful suppliers, Ripple Farm, which is only 8 miles from campus. So the veg for the boxes is really local and there is zero waste with our product.
But Beetbox is more than just about veg boxes it’s about community and education. We want to teach and encourage others about cooking healthy meals by creating socialising opportunities centred around food. We run a ‘pot luck’ event where everyone brings a dish, knife, fork and plate and we share the food and recipes. Our most recent event at the Mooring Café in town gathered around 100 people for an amazing feast and open mic night.
Last term we also hosted a vegetable fashion show and tea party with free vegan cake and wild food stall to share our love for vegetables; knowledge of foraging and to thank our members for all their support.
How do people get hold of a Beetbox?
We have a stall in the plaza (opposite Essentials) every Monday (11.30-13.30) and Thursday (14.00-16.00) where you can order and pay for your box. The food is then ready to collect the following Thursday. Each box costs £6 and contains 3-4 kilograms of veg; 6-8 different types. Most boxes contain potatoes, onions, leafy greens, salad and then other in-season veg.
How can others get involved?
We have a really great team who make this happen but lots of us are going on placement next year or graduating so we’re keen to have people join the team so that the enterprise can continue. If anyone would like to get involved they can email us: email@example.com
What have you learnt from this experience?
I think unexpectedly I’ve discovered the huge benefits to wellbeing that come from being involved in volunteering activity. This project brings people together behind a ‘cause’ but the benefits to us as individuals, as we’ve worked together and supported each other, have been overwhelming.
My work with Beetbox also feeds really well into my studies (BSc Human Ecology) as it is enabling me to outwork what I’ve been learning in a really practical way.
For more information about Beetbox visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ukcbeetbox/
For more information on our undergraduate programmes visit our website: https://www.kent.ac.uk/anthropology-conservation/undergraduate
By Jennie Hogg