SALT OF THE EARTH Writer Cheri Percy
After the COP26 climate conference, many of us are becoming more mindful of the way we shop and consume into a new year. Cheri Percy shares some small shifts locally you can take to make a huge global difference (and why it won’t cost the earth)
veryone loves a fresh start facing a new year. Suddenly we’re possessed by a need to declutter and cleanse. But what if that spot of spring cleaning could mean more than just peace of mind? What about peace of planet too? In the kitchen alone, we’re surrounded by single-use plastics in our food storage containers right through to our washing-up liquid bottle. Likewise, in our bathroom cabinet, tiny plastic particles are hiding in our handwashes that can end up in our seas. Luckily for us here on the Kent coast though, we’re spoilt for choice with small businesses offering up sustainable options and socially aware solutions. Mary Claire Smith is founder of Frank, Harbour Street’s hybrid shop/ gallery space showcasing an array of thoughtful gifts and small-batch makers. Last year though, Smith opened up neighbouring store Vita, a mustard-coloured mecca of store cupboard refills and plastic-free kitchenalia. Inside the shop, their ethos for organic products and
Thank you for supporting local businesses in Whitstable and Tankerton.
Vita Stores ©Andrew Hayes-Watkins
sustainability runs through everything from the products themselves to the natural materials used in the shop fittings. Despite launching five weeks before lockdown when our coastline looked more like “a ghost town”, Vita’s doors remained open for those similarly passionate about protecting our planet. “I wanted to offer a local option for like-minded people who are keen to make small differences or even big differences in their lives,” explains Smith. For such a petite space, Vita is impressive in its ambitions offering everything from natural coconut dish brushes (a hard-wearing alternative to those petroleum-based sponges which are notoriously difficult to recycle) to a whole wall full of UK-based options for pulses, grains, spices and herbs. And at competitive prices too, as Smith is quick to assure me. “We set up to be a local shop and we’re working hard on price points.” Another self-starter making it possible for us to keep us loyal to local is Louisa Tidy, founder of natural
skincare brand Floragy. Frustrated by the shop-based products on offer and perennial skin problems, Tidy began experimenting with oils from home inspired by natural homeopathic remedies and ingredients. “Oils like Camellia and Grapeseed oil have been used throughout history as soothing, moisturising treatments. I started playing around with variations that felt good on my skin.” Her first product, Revive Facial Oil, was an instant hit and has since become a best-seller with her customers. The product also picked up the Editor’s Choice Award at this year’s Beauty Shortlist Awards. If Tidy’s success story proves anything it’s that there is finally a shift away from big brands monopolising the market and thousands of us open to local and UK-made products as an alternative. So, in a bid to shop more sustainably in 2022, we asked Smith and Tidy to share some of their top pointers when it comes to protecting the planet.
DID YOU KNOW THAT AROUND 65P OF EVERY POUND SPENT LOCAL, STAYS LOCAL?