Myles & Patricia, customer & volunteer duo
Interview by Caroline
"I’ve been shopping at Alfalfa House since I moved to the Inner West five years ago.
I choose to spend my money here because I strongly believe in co-operative economics, where the aim is to achieve value for members, not dividends to external shareholders, and in minimising negative environmental impacts.
To me, Alfalfa embodies all the best aspects of being ‘small’. I love that many of the products have a triple benefit of being organically-farmed, supplied directly by known and trusted producers, and are minimally-packaged.
By bringing my own reusable jars and containers when I shop, I’ve been able to massively reduce the amount of waste that I have to throw in the bin, to the point where many weeks the bin doesn’t have to go out because it’s empty. This is radically different from most for-profit shops, where choosing to buy organic produce means having to accept unnecessary plastic packaging, and half the fruit and veg are out-of-season and from halfway around the world.
At Alfalfa, there’s no need to compromise on my values. And while some of the produce wouldn’t meet the cosmetic standards of a supermarket giant, it most certainly wins on flavour!'
'It wasn’t long after my partner, Myles, introduced me to Alfalfa that I signed up to become a volunteer, back in January 2020.
My usual shift is Friday mornings, when we get our biggest produce deliveries, bread, and more recently, vegan croissants. During the shift, I work with our amazing produce manager and another volunteer to quickly prepare the store for opening on what is usually a very busy morning.
I bag the bread, display the croissants, help organise the deliveries by weighing what needs to be priced, bring produce into the shop, refill what’s missing, break down boxes, and anything else that needs to be done.
I love being part of the Alfalfa community because it’s a caring community. Before I started volunteering, I was heading home after having a rough day. I entered the shop and asked one of the staff if I could sit and stay there for a while because I needed a minute to centre myself. The loving response and welcoming energy I felt that day was undisputedly honest, warm and caring. I was invited to stay as long as I needed, offered a tea, and felt I was being provided a safe space.
The Alfalfa community cares about the wellbeing of its members and it is always seeking ways to be more involved in important causes, such as waste reduction, green practices, and offering affordable products.'
Myles & Patricia are dog people. They'd love to adopt a rescue but their landlord won’t allow dogs because of their unfenced yard. One lucky dog will get to join them when they next move.
Cat person or dog person, everyone is welcome at Alfalfa House and we're always on the lookout for volunteers. Join one of our inductions to find out more.
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