1. Holy Basil Thai (Croydon)
Holy Basil offers vegetarian, vegan and sustainable seafood dishes inspired by Thai flavours. The restaurant is owned and run by husband and wife team, Julia and Duncan, who each bring their own influences and experience to the table. Julia grew up in a Thai rural village, and Duncan has over 30 years experience as a chef, resulting in dishes that incorporate traditional thai flavours with a contemporary twist.
Their vision for sustainability goes beyond meat-free dishes and locally sourced seafood. All their takeaway packaging is compostable and the restaurant is designed in a way that reduces energy consumption for heating and cooling.
To "give back", Holy Basil customers can donate at the counter to help sponsor four children from Uganda to assist their community to build a kitchen and shelter.
1/66 Maroondah Highway, Croydon
2. The Full Pantry (Croydon)
Located next door to Holy Basil is The Full Pantry, a bulk food store and cafe. Bring your own containers and stock up on as much or as little as you need of their many organic and bio-dynamic whole food options. This place makes zero waste, plastic free shopping easy!
As of the past year, the cafe has made the commendable decision to be disposable-cup-free, so make sure you bring your reusable cup if you want to order takeaway coffee (otherwise you can always sit-in and enjoy five minutes to yourself!)
66/68 Maroondah Highway, Croydon
3. The Fair Trader (Ringwood East)
The ethical in the east trail wouldn't be complete without a stop to visit The Fair Trader.
One customer described The Fair Trader as "a special little get away from the business of life, it seems everything slows down when you are inside and you get swept up by the colours, textures, scents and music that plays softly in the background."
The Fair Trader's goal is to reduce poverty by supporting makers from economically-challenged communities. Browse through unique, ethically made jewellery, clothing, toys, and gifts from all over the world, including products designed by Australian indigenous artists. The Fair Trader also makes every effort to source products that are eco-friendly and made from natural materials.
18 Railway Ave, Ringwood East
Opposite Ringwood East station (Lilydale line)
4. Railway Bazaar (Ringwood East)
Photo: The Estelle Report
A few shops down from The Fair Trader is Railway Bazaar - a treasure trove full to the brim with incredible vintage clothing pieces, period furniture and collectables. Make sure you set aside plenty of time to get lost in the many rooms filled with eclectic treasures from times gone by.
42 Railway Avenue, Ringwood East
Opposite Ringwood East Station (Lilydale Line)
5. Eastfield Natural Foods (Croydon South)
Eastfield Natural Foods specialises in organic and bio-dynamic fruit, vegetables and groceries. They believe that everyone should be able to access food that is free from pesticides and chemicals, therefore they aim to keep their prices as budget-friendly as possible.
41 The Mall, Croydon South
6. SoulPod Foods Cafe (Croydon South)
Next door to Eastfield Natural Foods is SoulPod Foods, an organic plant-based cafe that curates their menu around what is in season, so not only do they support local farmers but it means their meals are fresh and packed with nutrients!
43 The Mall, Croydon South
7. Here and There Makers (Boronia)
Here and There Makers is a not-for-profit that helps fund sustainable sanitary hygiene kits and education programs for disadvantaged women overseas through the sale of zero waste, upcycled, fair trade and handmade products.
Here and There Makers is also an official Terracycle collection point, where you can take participating beauty products, coffee capsules and oral care products to be recycled (see their website for list of products).
139 Boronia Road, Boronia 3155
A couple of minutes walk from Boronia Station (Belgrave Line)
8. Etiko (Boronia)
The headquarters of Australia's pioneering ethical fashion brand is positioned right in the heart of the eastern suburbs within the quaint Boronia Mall.
If you're looking for sustainable, certified Fairtrade sneakers, thongs, basics or underwear at affordable prices comparable to their not-so-ethical competitors, then this is the shop for you.
Shop 22, Upper Level, The Mall, 50 Dorset Square, Boronia
Five minutes walk from Boronia station (Belgrave line)
9. Wholefood Merchants (Ferntree Gully)
This eastern suburbs health food superstore has an extensive offering of vegan and allergy-friendly foods, as well as ethical and sustainable makeup, skincare and household items. In the same building is the Wholefood Merchants Cafe, which offers lots of delicious vegan and FODMAP friendly options for those with food intolerances. We highly recommend the delicious veggie lasagne, which is made with walnut mince.
3/794 Burwood Hwy, Ferntree Gully
10. Market Fair (Ferntree Gully)
Located next door to Wholefood Merchants is Market Fair, an emporium featuring a variety of unique stalls including vintage clothing, secondhand books, records, plants, art and jewellery. With many stalls being occupied by local artists and makers, this is the place to go if you want to support makers from greater Melbourne.
2/794 Burwood Hwy, Ferntree Gully