Life @ EA
A spotlight on: Tim Roads (EA 1991-2004)
Welcome to our new blog series, where we shine a spotlight on the work and lives of some of our Accies. Each blog will look at each Accies journey having left the Academy, and will provide a little insight into their work now and their memories of their time at school.
What is your current role, and how did you get to be in this position?
My current role is running a small Edinburgh grocery delivery business called Schop, which my fiancé and I launched at the end of 2019.
Schop is an online market place and delivery service which allows “schoppers” to order groceries from high quality local suppliers and producers. We use as little packaging as possible and use reusable, compostable or recyclable packaging if we can. Carbon-neutrality is important to us too, so we invest in a native woodland planting scheme in East Lothian.
Whilst Schop is still a very young business, the arrival of COVID-19 meant that we ended up having a very busy 2020!
Having previously worked in surveying, when did you know you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
I’ll be a bit careful what I say as I do still to some consultancy surveying work for a friend. However, having worked as a Chartered Surveyor for the best part of a decade, I became increasingly disillusioned with the industry, and was no longer gaining satisfaction from the work. At the same time, I was getting increasingly frustrated at the amount of plastic packaging on food and increasingly worried about the climate crisis facing the planet.
Having always been a huge advocate of the quality and value of buying from independent butchers/fishmongers/bakers etc., I thought there must be a way of creating a service which allows people to buy better quality food and drink whilst also reducing the amount of excess packaging and the carbon-footprint on the planet.
What are you passionate about achieving in this role? What are your proudest achievements to date?
With Schop we have three primary aims:
- To be a one-stop sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly shop, and in the future, advice service.
- To make a meaningful and positive impact to:
The health of the planet.
The businesses we work with.
- To help provide a positive and satisfying lifestyle to Schop’s employees.
My overall passion though is to make shopping more sustainable, both environmentally and socially. We hope to achieve this by helping other small businesses and helping people to consume food and drink whilst reducing their carbon and waste footprints.
How do you see the food industry changing in the next 5-10 years?
I hope that we will become much more local and seasonal in our diets, as well as choosing quality over quantity. For example, British asparagus and Scottish strawberries taste better than their globe-trotting equivalents, whilst supermarket meat & fish might be cheaper but the quality (and often welfare) is far inferior; given the choice I would far rather have one properly butchered and matured Scotch Beef steak over two steaks from a supermarket.
I also hope that society’s use of packaging vastly decreases and that the alternatives become much more widespread and common. Alongside that, I hope that municipal recycling and bio-digestion facilities become much more sophisticated and able to deal with necessary packaging.
We need to radically change societies life-work patterns; COVID has proved that people can work from home, which I hope will give people more opportunity to prepare higher quality meals, which in turn may improve wellbeing and productivity. The change in working patterns also has the ability to reduce emissions relating to office life.
Do you feel your time at the Academy prepared you/helped you for your career and if so how?
Tony Cook (EA 1951-61; EA Staff 1975-2003; EAC President 2019-present) has especially had a great and enduring impact on my life and values. He, along with Mrs Arbuthnott (EA Staff 1983-2016), really fostered my interest in the natural world, which lead me to studying zoology at Aberdeen University. Moreover, Tony very much taught me that all life is connected, a fact which is becoming increasingly relevant with the climate and biodiversity-loss crises we are facing today. Another valuable lesson from Tony was to appreciate the small things, and that pursuing one’s interests is an enduring pleasure.
Do you have any advice to other Accies or current pupils at the Academy?
Do something which you believe is important and which you enjoy. If you do that you will wake up motivated and get to the end of day feeling that you have achieved something worthwhile. Whilst this sounds simple it is, in my experience, easy to lose sight of.
Do you want to share your story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org