Early one morning in down town Stroud, I bumped into my friend Jemima who was standing outside a shop waiting for it to open. I had never consciously noticed this shop before so I followed her in as we were chatting. It was the Stroud Valleys Project shop and I couldn’t believe I had never been inside it (neither could Jemima). The shop is filled with ethically sourced household items, bird feed in paper sacks, books, gardening supplies, stationery and more – mainly made from natural and sustainable materials. I was ecstatic to find a roll of British made compostable bin liners made from 100% natural materials (they smell like vegetable broth).
Jemima handed her empty refill bottles of laundry and washing-up liquid to a friendly looking chap who asked “Ecover or Bio D?” I was curious to learn what ‘Bio D’ might be and was shown into the back room where an Ecover refill station was dwarfed by a row of unbranded containers with various grades of locally made laundry detergents and cleaning liquids. Here you can fill up your glass bottles if you’d prefer that to a plastic bottle. Apparently ever since Ecover the company was sold, their products have contained GM ingredients and other objectionable components and many people are looking for a greener alternative. How is it that I drive miles to an Ecover refill station when I have this gem of a shop right at my doorstep? Why did I never notice it before or take the time to investigate what Stroud Valleys Project actually is? I think the reason is that these small community initiatives are overshadowed by the glare and dazzle of the big brands and high street shops. You have to take an interest and make a real effort to look for the small but beautiful things in life!