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Soapmaking workshop

This year, several of you have learned through our series of workshops how to create handmade soaps thanks to the guidance of our sustainable cosmetics expert Marisa from Primal Essence.

This has made many more interested in participating; however, spots and space are limited so we cannot accommodate everyone as much as we would like. That is why we have decided to continue organising more soap workshops from now until the end of the year! Take note: our next workshop will take place on Monday, September 25th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at our store in Oud West.

As usual, you do not need to bring any materials, as Marisa will provide you with everything you need! If the weather is merciful, we will hold the workshop in our backyard.

You can buy your ticket here

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Mini News

It's time to take a break! From 9th to 22nd of August we will be retired in a remote place in rural Finland. No electricity, no running water, but a sauna and a lake. Could we ask for anything else? I don't think so!
For this reason, our physical store will remain closed, but you can place your orders online whenever you want. We will send them after the 22nd, so we ask for a little patience.

Meanwhile, let us tell you what is coming around the corner:

🌱 We will introduce a change in the purchase process in our physical store. Until now, it's necessary to weigh the containers before refilling and then again after the refilling, to later subtract the weight of the empty container. All this recorded by hand in our "analog scanner" (the white little papers). Starting in September, it will no longer be necessary to weigh the jars or bags twice! One time will be enough, the rest will be done by us (well, the new cash register system!)

🌱 We will start bringing some organic products in glass jars. We know that there are many products that are difficult to sell in bulk, such as tahini, olives, tomato sauce, etc. However, they are basic in the kitchen and always useful to have in the pantry. Also many of you have suggested to have them in our store. That is why we are glad to announce that next month we are inaugurating a small corner with organic products contained in glass jars.

Throughout the coming month and until the end of the year we will be adding more products to this new section. What would you like to find in our store in glass jar? Send us your suggestions!

🌱 Some of you have already seen and tried it. We have a new toy: a machine to make peanut butter! Now you can come to our store and make your own butter, bringing your jar or using one of the ones we have in the 'recycled jars' section. The peanut is natural roasted and, after pressing the magic button, the butter comes all warm and smooth, fresh and ready to eat! Here in the photo, Aaron using it for the first time.

 

 

That is all for now. Remember that our online shop continues to operate during our absence. Orders will be shipped upon our return. Au revoir! 🏔🌲🌼

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Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. It all started as a campaign launched in 2011 by Plastic Free Foundation, in local government in Western Australia, and is now one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world. Millions of people across the globe take part every year, with many committing to reducing plastic pollution far beyond the month of July. 

Our mission as a zero waste shop is to help reduce plastic consumption as much as possible and this type of initiative contributes to raising awareness among those who have not yet joined this good cause, but also to remind ourselves that the battle against plastic reduction it's from day to day.

Where to start? At Little Plant Pantry we help you to implement small changes that will lead you to achieve a more sustainable life. For example, you can start by using dishwashing soap bar instead of buying the liquid version that comes in a plastic bottle. Or maybe you can save the plastic containers that you already have and refill them with the cleaning products that we have in our cleaning station. And, as you already know, you can always come to our store with your own containers, bags or jars and refill them with goodies, avoiding buying those same products in plastic packages, whose degradation takes centuries!

Remember our motto: recycle, reuse, refill. That's the key! Are you ready for the challenge?

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A New Collaboration! – De Stadsgroenteboer

Summer is just around the corner and with it a wide variety of fresh vegetables to eat and share. Did you know that in Amsterdam West there is a group of local farmers who work hard all year round to supply the community from May to November with seasonal vegetables? Did you know that you can subscribe and receive an incredible box of vegetables grown without herbicides, on fertile and healthy soil every week from them? And finally, did you know that you can pick up your crate every Saturday at our store? Sign up with De Stadsgroenteboer guys on their website by clicking here. Your crate of vegetables will be waiting for you in our backyard.

🥦 All the veggies come loose or in paper bags, so no plastic involved!🥦

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Mini News!

With April comes spring and it seems that nature woke up from its hibernation inviting us to recharge batteries. That is why we want to keep you motivate with this mini news we will share with you.

Join us in the garden: if you have more plants than space in your garden and you are planing to get rid of a few, wait! We will be happy to give them a second chance in our garden. Or if you have extra cuttings that you need to plant, why not come to our store during our opening hours and plant them yourself in our backyard?  For our part we will start this week by adding flowers and herbs, maybe also some decoration! Help us to make our garden more beautiful and give a proper welcome to spring.

King's Day: many people have asked if we will open on King's Day. The answer is: of course! Last year we worked together with Leticia's Recipe, cooking a vegan paella at the entrance of our store and it was a complete success. For this year we thought of bringing back our yummy Focaccia, which delighted palates of several diners last spring. We will also put available our full range of sweets that you already know and some "special" soft drinks. Don't miss it!

Easter: This week we will have all our whole cakes with a 15% discount. Surprise your family and friends with a completely vegan and gluten free cheesecake or banana bread to share. All handmade from our kitchen. You can order online and pick up at our store or choose home delivery if you live in Amsterdam. Also remember that our store will be closed on Easter Sunday.

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Soapmaking Workshop in Valentine’s Day

We are glad to announce we will host a second edition of the soapmaking workshop after a successful first one. In the previous version we counted with 4 participants who, with the guidance of Marisa from Primal Essence, learnt the art of making natural soap from scratches. They took 1 kilo of soap with them, made and decorated as they wished.

February is the month we celebrate love. And we thought it would be nice to offer the experience of learning together with your partner, friend or relative, the manufacture of handmade soaps. Join this 'Soapmaking Workshop in pairs' and spend your Valentine's Day in a different way. You don't need to bring any material or tools, just your wish to learn, have a good time, meet new people and bring back home no less than one kilo of soap!

soapmaking

The workshop will take place on Monday 13th of February (a pre-Valentine's!) at 18:00 hrs. We will prepare everything for you on our dining table at Little Plant Pantry, including delicious cookies, coffee and tea.

Tickets available here

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Crowdfunding a Compost Machine

Crowdfunding_Circular_Store

This project has been in the works for a long time and today we have finally launched our crowdfunding campaign to buy a commercial compost machine that will allow us to deliver our products in compostable packaging and turn used containers and food waste into soil for local farms.

Since early 2019, we've sold a variety of plant-based organic products in our store but we now want to go further with our mission to develop a waste free delivery service. With your help, we will buy an industrial compost machine and implement a system for taking back and composting all food and packaging waste produced by our sales. We will compost this waste onsite and give nutritious compost to local farms we collaborate with. They can use it as fertiliser or simply to improve the quality of their soil, so they can continue producing healthy organic food.

We call this system the Circular Grocery Shopping Model and Little Plant Pantry will be the first store to implement and test it. But for this to be successful, the active participation of all actors in the supply chain is needed, including the community we serve.

Crowdfunding_Circular_Store
Graphics by Zuza Kurzawa

The compost machine will allow us to convert the waste of 100 households into 700 liters of stabilized, ready-to-use organic compost every week but it also provides us with the opportunity to make a serious contribution to the city by preventing not only our own food and packaging waste from ending up in landfill or incineration but also the waste of our customers and the community.

Having this machine closes the loop in our circular grocery shopping model and brings us closer to our ultimate goal of creating an urban zero-waste ecosystem.

We have some wonderful awards for those that contribute to our campaign. And being the time of year that it is, any of these awards can be given as a gift by inputting the person’s name you wish to give the gift to when making the donation or purchasing the award.

Thank you for all your support and feedback over the past two years. We’re excited to be entering this next phase with our waste free delivery service.

Having this machine closes the loop in our circular grocery shopping model and brings us closer to our ultimate goal of creating an urban zero-waste ecosystem.

Acknowledgements

This campaign has only been possible with the help of the following people who have all volunteered their time and energy to make this happen:

Zuza Kurzawa, Feef Anthony, Angela, Domonkos Molnar, Bernadett Suhaj, Justin Baker, Annekee Wagemaker, Jennifer Sun, Stefanie Behrendt, Danika Moore, Sylvia Huang and Honorine Schaeffer.

We sincerely thank everybody for their efforts. A special thank you to Feef and Zuza who have carried this campaign through from the beginning to the end and have devoted an immense amount of work to it. It could not and would not have happened without you all!

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Business as a Platform for Change

Business success should not be quantified in terms of profit alone but its ability to find innovative ways of tackling system-wide problems.

Photograph by Rebekka Mell @rebekka_mellphotography

Maria, co-founder of Little Plant Pantry, was invited to give a short pitch at TEDxAmsterdamWomen Talent Night 2020, which resulted in her writing a little "manifesto" outlining her outlook on business as a platform for change.

Some human needs have short-term projections, such as “I need a sugar rush!”. Others have long-term projections, like living in a world with clean air. The second group almost always requires us to work with other people, to reach out and connect.

Business offers us the convenience of satisfying our momentary needs, often ignoring the true hidden cost. But what if business addressed our long-term needs instead? What would be its message? What would be our role as customers?

Early in 2019, my partner and I opened the first minimal waste store in Amsterdam. This news provoked a much varied response from the general public. Why would a business such as this be seen as disruptive or idealistic?

We didn’t just offer produce, we took an environmental stance: that production and consumption as we know it is no longer sustainable. This is a systemic problem with far-reaching consequences. We’re trying to find a solution by developing the circular grocery shopping model in which a store takes responsibility not only for its products but also for the waste produced from its sales. Thus we’re creating an urban ecosystem that relies on customers’ active participation in completing the circle of production and consumption while minimizing waste.

My education is in literature and film. I’m not a business person. We opened the shop because we realized that we wanted to change our own consumer behaviour. That there is a relation between the current environmental crisis and our own actions. It was a citizen act, not a business act. Was it an irrational business decision?

There is a perception that business success means profit. Profit means power. If one refuses to pursue profit, one has to admit that they will have little say in the redistribution of resources. But I disagree. I see business as a tool for research that can be used to address structural problems in society. Business shouldn’t settle for convention. It shouldn’t just offer convenience. Business can serve as a platform for change. It can generate public awareness.

A business pursuing ethical and environmental practices makes a pact with its community. It has to be open to communication. The community in turn has to be open to participation in building better models together. We’re not just exchanging money for goods, we’re exchanging knowledge. Business in itself is a call to action and as such it has the power to involve communities as active contributors to the research, not just passive users of a service.

How can you create such a business? Discover a problem and formulate a research question. Have a thesis and put it to test. Don’t be afraid to fail. In the spirit of research and innovation, every failure should be seen as valuable as every success. What you're working towards is finding an operating solution. Finally, choose your call to action carefully so you can personally live with the consequences of your choice.

A truly rational decision should maximize options for everyone. Business that endangers the environment is not rational for it limits potentialities for all living creatures. Business that overlooks ethics is not rational for it lacks a faculty for self-reflection. Business that quantifies its success in terms of money alone is not rational for it roots itself in fiction.

Business is inevitable. And it can be a valuable tool. Instead of treating it as a means to an end, we can use it to build participatory models allowing people to collaborate for research and discussion. Not just to fulfill our momentary needs.