Blackburn with Darwen Food Alliance

Darwen’s Eco Refill Shop

After living in Darwen for eight years and having no choice but to shop in other towns to buy products that were eco friendly, Kate Coop took the plunge and decided it was time Darwen had its own eco friendly store. She opened Earth Evolution in July 2020 to serve people who were looking to buy more sustainable, organic and vegan friendly products.

Kate has created a welcoming environment. You will find many wonderful items including waste free products, wholefoods, organic fruit  & veg boxes, low waste dried food and snacks, pantry staples, cleaning and beauty product refills. Just make sure you take your own jars! Kate strives to offer as many products as you would find at a supermarket.

Although it is challenging Kate has never waivered from her why in regards to what she stocks at the shop. She has strict criteria on who she stocks which includes distance from Darwen, their manufacturing processes and their packaging. As Kate explained “I would rather stock a smaller business over a larger company. Like the line of bath bombs ive just started – the lady comes from Blackburn. The others came from Ireland and they had individual packaging”

As we walked around the shop nearly every product line had an ethical story behind it. Something new that I learnt from today was about bird nest safe olives. Their extra virgin olive oil comes from a small farm in Greece. Not only are the olives from slow grown trees i.e. organic , all of their olives are handpicked rather than machine picked- as the machines knock the olives off they also knock the bird nests off at the same time. It arrives in a huge drum that is then stored in a Kilner jar for customers to refill their jars.

Myth busting

Kate said she was shocked to find out that one of her now regular customers said at first she was apprehensive about going into the shop- why? She thought it was posh! “The Posh Shop” Kate said she hears so many of her customers say it was cheaper than they had expected. When in fact shopping at a refill shop can be more economical than a big supermarket shop.. For example they have a customer that budgets for the week. She comes in and buys just enough ingredients by weight for her meal plan that week.

You can buy as much or as little as you can afford. Giving people the opportunity to try something they may not have done before because the full pack was too expensive.

“We are not competing with the supermarkets. Its just another way of shopping with values and literally its not costing the earth!”

Our vision for the next 12 month is to continue to stock ethical and local suppliers. The challenge with this is minimum order levels.  We hope moving forwards companies will re look at their order levels and be more realistic in order to support local and small business growth.

Come along to be surprised at what you will find. There is parking right outside the shop so no parking costs. But please don’t forget to bring your containers!!

Duckworth st Darwen

Tues, Thursday, Friday and  Saturday 10-4

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