One year ago today, I paid my first week’s rent at 20 Tahi Road, on the punt that if I felt that Waiheke Island needed an organic shop, other people would too.

It’s been a big year.

My original concept was to connect the material aspects of living truly sustainably, through the ancient art of shopkeeping, via the current model of capitalism, and make as many of my values real in everyday life as possible.

Very fast I found how compromised this life is. I knew it already of course, but stocking shelves on behalf of a community who are intentionally choosing the best options available shows up the blind spots really fast.

Packaging has not been considered very thoughtfully in the big organics community overall, though that’s starting to change. Essentially our commodified food system is designed for long shelf life products wrapped in plastic, and I have made plenty of compromises in my waste-minimising plastic-free goal. If the product is great in other ways, whether supporting local initiatives, or being produced in regenerative relationship with the land, I can at least be someone who asks the questions and shares information about other solutions that are working. My vision is for beautiful, high quality, reusable packaging that is valued highly enough to reuse over and over again.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are harder to transport and don’t last as long. They are riskier for the shopkeeper and the purchaser. Not every apple is as good as the last. But the fresh fruit and veg give me the most joy at Greenspace. When they come in they bring new vitality to the shop and remind me why I do this job.