The conventional foods and products we buy are having detrimental effects on our environment. Particularly in the Philippines, where multiple reports have identified the Philippines as one of the leading countries contributing to plastic waste and pollution. Everything from transportation, product packaging, inefficient and harmful farming practices and food waste can be considered when thinking about the impacts our shopping choices have.
The low cost, convenience, and availability of single use plastics makes it seem impossible to avoid. When I walk in to a typical grocery store I am overwhelmed by the amount of single use items. There is everything from laundry detergent to spices in single-use, small packages. I mean really, who needs a 10 pack of black pepper in individual sachets, each contained in a plastic container inside of a plastic bag?!
I am here to help give you some resources so we can further reduce our environmental footprint while getting high quality food and products! The first thing we can do is buy the bigger bottle, of say, black pepper to cut down a bit. Here is a list of 5 place in Manila that are changing the way we shop and supporting sustainability and zero-waste efforts.
Humble Market is a small, waste-free grocery store inside of YDG Coffee sh0p ( a super-cute coffee shop with great Chai tea, Matcha, and coffees!). What does waste-free mean? The store has large dispensers filled with different ingredients. You bring your own container*, weigh it, and then fill it with the item you want to buy. They also sell different sized glass containers if you need to stock up or forgot to bring some.
The store is small but you can get some often hard to find ingredients like chlorella powder, spirulina, goji berries, and Adlai, as well as kitchen staples like extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, rice, and a variety of nuts and locally made nut butters. For a full list of products available visit their website here.
They also have home and hygiene products that make sustainable living easy (they also make great gifts) like cloth produce bags, stainless steel lunch containers, menstrual cups and cloth sanitary napkins, soaps, charcoal toothpaste, and soy candles. They are always getting new items so I love stopping by just to see what they have in stock.
If you visit on a Sunday the Good Food market is outside with all sorts of vegan food options and sustainable shopping pop-ups from 10am-5pm.
* HINT- Don’t throw away your glass jars from pasta sauce, spices, and jams. Wash them and use them as a free container.
Ritual is a waste-free shop and they sell products at Legazpi Sunday Market as well as Good Food Sundays at Mandala Park. Ritual has a few different things than Humble Market and it is a little more convenient for people living in Makati. They sell a variety of local Filipino foods like Adlai, coconut sugar, and Davao chocolate as well as jams and rice wines.
Ritual also sells original home cleaning products with natural fresh scents, like laundry detergent, liquid hand soap, essential oils, and face masks. They sell their home products in glass bottles that you can re-fill in the stores.
Down to Earth Farms practices sustainable, biodynamic farming that nourishes soil and creates a healthy ecosystem. They sell a variety of organic, heirloom vegetables, micro greens and edible flowers. They also raise and sell grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, pork and lamb. The store also sells vermiculture and composting kits. We just bought the vermiculutre kit and I can’t wait to share our experience with you!
Most commercial farms consist of mono-cropping systems that require the use of pesticides on the farm and antibiotic use in animals. Using biodynamic farming practices like Down to Earth farms results in more nutritious plants and meat because the soil has more nutrients. It also reduces, eliminates, or counteracts harmful environmental impacts that result from conventional animal production farms.
You can learn more about composting, urban farming and backyard farming at one of the workshops that they offer.
You can find Down to Earth products at the Salcedo Saturday market, Legazpi Sunday market, their store front in Makati, and they have a subscription service where you can buy produce online and have it delivered to your door.
Kai Farms is as organic, biodynamic, permaculture fruit and vegetable farm outside of Manila. You can order their produce basket on a weekly basis and it will be delivered to your door in the most beautiful way. All of the produce is wrapped in a banana leaf and it comes in a traditional Filipino straw basket.
Every week you will get a variety of different produce. The basket will come with recipe ideas for ways to use the unique Filipino items. You will get items like coconuts, lemongrass, malunggay, a variety of local greens, butterfly pea flowers, herbs, eggplant, peppers, hibiscus, and much much more!
Kai farms also offers workshops and you can visit their farm to learn about permaculture practices and seed saving.
The good trade is a sustainable trade fair in BGC. You will find a variety of local venders selling all sorts of things from ethically made clothing, zero waste tools like bamboo straws, cloth bags, bees wax food wrappers that replace plastic wrap, vegan skin care products, and handmade jewelry.
It is definitely worth checking this fair if you want to support small businesses making a difference! To find out when the next fair is taking place you can visit their Facebook page.