Australia, Community, Environment, Food, Gardening

REKO – Covid safe drive through food

By the time the humble spud or apple reaches your supermarket shelf from its trek from the farm, it could be up to three weeks old, due to storage times, days waiting for freighting in trucks, sitting in the open air at wholesale markets, transportation to distribution centers and then to individual supermarkets. Then there is the shelf time waiting until the customer selects it, for purchase.

It doesn’t help the consumer or the farmer.

We have come to expect produce to be available year round, but this comes at a cost in terms of nutritional content and quality. Some fruits that grow naturally in warmer/colder climates have been genetically modified to lengthen the growing season. In the 1970-‘s a range of foods were genetically modified to ensure a longer shelf life, or make fresh crops more resistant to pesticide attack in the non-optimal growing months. Food quality has changed.

As we all know fresh is best, how can the fresh food supply chain be compressed, so that produce reaches us sooner and in better condition?

vegetables tomato salad

Alternatives to the Supermarket

A farmer led online co-operative company called Food Connect, was one way I sourced fresh produce sooner than the tired offerings at my supermarket. This company guaranteed to get fruit and vege to your point of collection from the farm within three days.

The range is limited to seasonal produce, (which is the way it should be), so the boxes has a set selection of product. Customized boxes cost the customer a lot more and were supply dependent.

But now there is another alternative.

What is REKO?

Reko is an online farmers market where the supply chain involves the farmer or producers selling directly to the customer with zero wastage and minimal delays in transportation of goods.

This concept originated in Scandinavia, by a Finnish gentleman and has now grown to more than 500 local groups in Scandinavia, Canada and North America.

The reach and success of online farmers markets such as the Reko model have been made possible by technology. A positive is that Covid has helped this model flourish. And it supports your local growers!

The Reko model means more time available to farmers tend and develop farm animals/produce – a job that is always 7 days a week.

How Reko Online Farmers Markets work

Customers read the Reko Facebook group posts for their area, each week on social media to see what each farmer or supplier is offering.

If there is something that appeals, the customer orders by posting a comment, indicating the quantities they’d like, sends through the payment via direct bank deposit, (ie no credit card fees), and collects the produce at the nominated time and pick up point. Voila!

Straight from the farm to your fridge all within 24 hours.

Reko offers more than just fruit and vegetables.

A home gardener who has excess produce may sell via the REKO group and if you are selling cakes or prepared meals, you must have a commercial style kitchen. When we grew zucchinis in our home garden, we planted so many plants, we could have fed an army, so this option would have been a way to share our produce and make a little money for more seeds! If only it had been possible then.

Advantages of Online Vegetable and Produce Ordering

  • A way to stay Covid safe in a variant outbreak!
  • Pick up from your car appeals too!
  • Local growers supporting local community
  • Hand made or home grown sold by person growing it
  • A supply chain model that makes food or products available as fresh as is humanly possible
  • Farmers get cash directly and there is no excess wastage of product

Less wastage = lower prices + a better environmental outcome.

Costs are reduced as farmers don’t need to spend time away from their farm, spending hours in the hot sun/cold rain setting up and sitting at an outdoor markets, or selling to wholesale distributors, fiddling with cash and change. There’s less wastage as they don’t take more product to sell than is required, as the grower in the you tube video explains.

Why is it different from a farmers market?

  • No sitting out in the rain
  • Farmers only harvest as much as has been ordered
  • Less transport time and fossil fuel emissions
  • No signage, change, Point of sale machine, tent or tables needed as pick up is direct from the farmers car boot or truck
  • Farmer received the money directly – keeping costs down and cash flow is instant
  • Supports local growers
  • Minimal effort to source
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46 thoughts on “REKO – Covid safe drive through food”

  1. This ‘Reko’ thing sounds like a good idea. I smell opportunities; individuals could offer ‘Reko’ farmers a delivery service, or perhaps the farmers could hook up with local milk delivery services, reducing fossil fuel use further.

    They should have chosen a more distinctive name for it, though; a search for ‘Reko’ offers me nothing relevant at all. And having it as a faecesbook thing cuts me out entirely (I deleted my account with that monstrosity of a place back in February).

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Not my choice of name. It comes from the Scandi name for the initiative. I do agree about the facebook aspect. A lot of folks dont use it so they need an app! Or old school texting, which they do cater for by supplying their mobile number.
      Nb: if I google reko, it brings up my local operation.
      Perhaps you need to start one in your area. As you say, lots of opportunities for more jobs.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Interesting! This is a good model for the farmers as well as for the consumers. I shall suggest this to some of my contacts who are trying to sell dairy products from their farm commercially. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a good idea. I belong to a CSA, which is like a local version of futures – you buy a share up front and get fresh food every week as the farmer harvests it. One of the first two CSAs in the US was in my town, but I belong to a different one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How does that exactly work Trent, as I am not familiar wiht CSA, and what values are the shares, may I ask? As you get produce each week, I imagine the share would not be in single digits?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. CSA = Community Supported Agriculture. The shares are the same as “futures”. In fact, back in the postindustrial days, the futures market was created for agriculture. From a business viewpoint, you invest in a local farm up front to help them cover the costs of planting and growing the crops before they harvest, that is, you give them money when they need it most. The return on your investment is fresh produce. The farm we work with has two share options, a small and large. The small is still a pretty sizable amount, but you can easily make it back if you were to try to buy the same produce at a farmers’ market. Maybe not if you buy at a grocery store, but you are getting fresh (hundreds of dollars, but not 1000). I’ve seen a few different models on how they do it. We pay a little extra and have it delivered, which adds convenience, but we don’t pick the items. (The items are the same, i.e., a pound of red onions, but if you pick it up, you can choose which bag you want).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sounds like a sound business model especially as to are pretty much guaranteed to get back your investment. I like that the farmers are supported and there are delivery options.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Agree. I already buy from my local farmers, meat producers and fishermen and have done for many years. The difference in taste is amazing – especially the fish – and it may cost me a little more but it’s well worth it. I have also just started getting my laundry products and household cleaning stuff from an Eco-supplier who tops up my bottles from his van, saving both plastic use and supplying more natural products.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The difference in taste seems to be the primary motivator for many people to use this kind of service, Mari. I love that you access and support local growers. This REKO supplies fish and although I don’t cook whole fish too often, I am now thinking of ordering some to try based on what you have said.
      The supplier idea of topping up cleaning products is wonderful business opportunity that is not available here – that I know of, but just so applaudable from a plastic saving perspective. Today whilst walking on a quieter section of the beach I saw several pieces of plastic – and I always feel sad when I think of what must lie at the bottom of our bay. All fish contain micro-plastics – as we do now….

      Like

    1. I think the more people that are aware of it, the more it will take off. The farmers need all the help they can get, at least out here in the boondocks of the world, anyways. You must let me know if you find one in your area?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree that “the farmers need all the help …”

        Unfortunately, a Google search did not show that there’s REKO (fair or real consumption) in California yet. Hopefully, it starts soonest. But how I wish there are other online options though besides FB … thanks for sharing.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I do think they must look at other options besides Facebook and thanks so much for trying to find one in your area. I guess they figure social media reaches more and is cost effective due to the free advertising.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Not a lot of Amanda-generated prose here, but the post is interesting, nonetheless !
    Farmers’ markets here are huge rip-offs: all those fancy little tents with their lovely-looking but grossly over-priced goods .. Pfuh !

    Like

    1. I do hope you find one Donna. If not, you could be the person to start the ball rolling in your area if you know a few growers who are willing to try new concepts.

      Like

  6. I love organisations like this my daughter buys her produce from a similar organisation here in our area. I can’t remember the name of it. Sadly it’s a little out of our budget but the produce she gets is beautiful & bonus it doesn’t smell like a supermarket fridge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to hear that you already can access something similar, Linda! Excellent. Perhaps as a special treat here and there? Or you might become an occasional egg supplier one day?

      Like

  7. What a great idea. I think we have a fresh produce delivery service here in Busselton, which I must look up. We no longer know what season our food is grown in, we only know that sometimes tomatoes taste yummy, and other times they’re completely tasteless, with the growing season being the cause of both. Have you read a book called, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It’s a fabulous book Amanda.

    Like

    1. Don’t you hate those bland all too firm tasteless tomatoes. I wonder if their nutritional content is lower as well.
      I have not read that book, but I will definitely look it up. You found it enlightening, Chris?

      Like

  8. This was very enlightening, Amanda. I tried to search it but nothing comes up yet. I’m so over supermarkets that buy out every small market and then ship from one big warehouse. These food conglomerates are like dinosaurs. I’m hoping their time is coming to an end. The farmers market her doesn’t really hit the mark either. But we go and hope. The farmers are local but not necessarily organic. I’ll keep checking on this. I’m really too old and have no good growing space here so a new solution to all of it will have to be found, I hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You may not be ready to sell fresh fruit and veges, but do you make home made relishes etc? Or perhaps your daughter might be interested. Those kind of foods are also on offer at my local REKO.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a sign posted. “The only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the house”. In my collection of a thousand books, there are 3 cookbooks in pristine condition. They are just for looks. 😉 It’s not one of our talents. We subsist on take away that we can stretch to make more meals. I have lousy taste buds and have become quite lazy about cooking because we don’t eat the same kinds of food.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Sounds like a good idea. I have never heard of it but our veges and fruit get old fast because they are shipped in from who knows where! I try to buy local if I can!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good on you for buying local, or trying to. Food is shipped far and wide these days. We get fruit and vegetable from Chile for goodness sake, whilst orange groves are ploughed up and sold for houses in Victoria.
      It will become a food security issue at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. WOW. I do see fruit in the grocery stores from far away places but I stay away from it if I can. I just think it’s handled so many times and it never looks great. Have a good day-

        Liked by 1 person

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