Having been locked down for periods of time – unable to travel more than five kilometres from their home – and unable to go overseas, many Australians have taken to the road and are exploring the country in caravans. As well as allowing families to escape from the stresses of everyday life, hiring a campervan or caravan means that they are supporting local businesses on their road trips while exploring and enjoying nature.
In an effort to help ensure that this boom in domestic travelling champions sustainability, the caravan, campervan and motorhome sharing community Camplify has partnered with sustainable online grocery Your Food Collective to create a range of food boxes for those travelling in a caravan across the country. All the ingredients of the boxes are sourced directly from the farms of local producers, and contain everything you need for a perfect campfire brekkie and a simple fresh lemony trout pasta.
“Being on the road always makes you hungry and good food is what the perfect trip boils down to.”
Both businesses, based in Newcastle, strive to support local communities and businesses. Camplify enables local caravan owners to rent out their vehicles and earn a profit, with those renting them getting to experience the stunning landscapes of Australia. Your Food Collective is dedicated to supporting local farmers and producers by providing travellers with locally-sourced produce.
The perfect partnership
Camplify CEO, Justin Hales, said that the partnership was a “no brainer”.
“Your Food Collective believes in everything we wish to communicate to van owners and holidaymakers alike, that sense of community is vital and that Australia has so many hidden gems where people can visit and support the local businesses as they travel through,” Justin says. “Our hope is that the food box that has been created inspires people to live on fresh, delicious food that has been grown on healthy land as they road trip.”
Your Food Collective co-founder Lauren Branson has always been passionate about saving the world, and sees food as the perfect vehicle to do that.
“It’s something we all need every day and if we can get food right, the impact is huge,” Lauren explains. “By partnering with Camplify and helping more families get out and explore their own backyard, we’re helping people appreciate the amazing land and people behind the food we eat.
“Being on the road always makes you hungry and good food is what the perfect trip boils down to,” Lauren adds. “It feels good knowing that eating insanely fresh, sustainable food is also protecting our unique environment from climate change.”
Turning crisis into opportunity
With the onset of COVID preventing travel for a period of time, Camplify focused on developing their offering to make it easier for customers and van owners.
“We dedicated time to improving our platform to make it more user friendly for holidaymakers to search and book,” Justin explains. “It was also a key opportunity to work with our community of van owners to educate and provide assistance on COVID protocols, from cleaning to flexible cancellation policies and how to navigate border closures.”
They also saw an influx of new van owners join the platform, from those who had spent time in lockdown renovating their vans to those who were seeking a new flexible working arrangement.
From the perspective of Your Food Collective – Lauren co-founded the business with Cara Cooper – the general shift to thinking more sustainably that we have covered in recent issues of ISB, accelerated significantly during the pandemic and has brought far more people into line with the organisation’s ethos.
“Our current food system is toxic for both the environment and our bodies – because of long supply chains our food isn’t fresh, is wasted and is one of our major greenhouse gas emitters,” Lauren bemoans. “If we can get food right by making local, sustainably grown food accessible, it gives consumers the power to eat well and do good.
“It’s not every day you’re given the opportunity to save the planet simply by choosing what food you eat, but at Your Food Collective we’ve made that a reality and it’s incredibly powerful,” Lauren adds.
“One of the most empowering things people can do when it comes to understanding their food is to get out there and visit local producers,” Lauren says. “By partnering with Camplify we are giving more people the legs they need to get out and explore our regional communities, really dive into the roots of the nation’s food bowls and start to reconnect city and country.”
This article first appeared in issue 33 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine