Buy locally and support your local community

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basket1In the UK and other western countries, we are reliant on supermarkets supplying our every need, 24 hours a day.  We are promised convenience, and good quality at good prices, but some evidence suggests that the quality of food we get at supermarkets isn’t always of the optimum standard – especially the budget lines.

Personally, I always find shopping in supermarkets a somewhat surreal experience.  You look at the apples for example.  Each one identical.  You don’t even need to choose between them…but yet you know, that in nature there isn’t that uniformity.  You know that the apple in your hand is not only the same as every single one on that shelf, but on all shelves in all supermarkets nationwide.  Spooky.  But is it because as consumers, we now demand perfection? 

I believe that supermarkets have far too much control over consumers in the UK.  Tescopoly suggests that the trading practices of major supermarkets…

“…are having serious consequences for suppliers, farmers and workers worldwide, local shops and the environment”

Convenience food can be part way to blame for the higher incidence of diabetes and obesity here in the UK.  Processed foods supplied (although not exclusively) by supermarkets are packed with sugar, fat, preservatives, e-numbers and salt – things that you wouldn’t add in vast quantities if you made the same food at home.  Tescopoly have written an article about Food Poverty, and what this means to us as consumers.

And don’t get me started on the pesticides used in food production in the UK.  Mass demand, means mass supplies needed, and what better than using pesticides, insecticides, and all manner of other ‘cides’ to guarantee a quick growing and uniform crop?   Visit PAN UK to find out more about the use of pesticides in food production.  

Then there is the environmental cost of buying your food from major retailers.  Supermarkets often import fruit and vegetables from overseas at a huge cost to the environment.  This is because as consumers we demand that we have produce available all year round.  We don’t eat seasonally any longer – we want avocados all year round and so our demands can be met…but at what cost?

And because of the sheer size and power of the major supermarket chains, they can afford to undercut some local businesses, until they go out of business.  Then you find that there are whole communities where there is no choice but to buy from the local supermarket. 

I think it is really important to rebuild those relationship between the urban area and the local rural areas – the major benefits to buying locally or growing food in your local area being that:

  • You will be keeping money in the local area – relying less on imports, and making the local community more sustainable
  • You will be strengthening community relationships
  • You will be ensuring that you maintain your freedom of choice rather than handing the monopoly over to the supermarkets
  • Buying local ingredients, and making your own food gives you more control over what you put in your mouth!
  • Eating seasonally (as human beings are designed to do!) is better for your health
  • You will be minimising environmental costs
  • I believe that it is cheaper to buy locally than from supermarkets *(see ‘My Experiment’ below)

But what about the fact that supermarkets are major and fair employers here the UK?  Well, I’m no employment law expert, so read more here, and see if you still agree with that statement.

I am encouraged to read about communities that are starting to ‘fight back’, by running urban farming projects, such the one in Middlesbrough, and one that is just getting going in Brighton.  These are designed to encourage local produce, to reduce food miles, and to strengthen community relationships.

So to summarise…I think everyone should, where possible, buy locally, or even grow your own if you can…

*My Experiment

Always one to practice what I preach, and despite the fact that I am about to move into a ground floor flat in North London, with only communal garden space, I am going to run this as an experiment:  Is it possible to buy everything I need locally, and avoid the supermarkets?   Are supermarkets really the cheaper option?  Or is it more frugal to buy locally?  I believe so, and I will keep my blog updated on my ‘experiment’


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  1. […] your local economy and high street.  I won’t repeat my original blog post here – but click here if you want to read what I think on the […]

  2. […] green fingered, home growing, leigh on sea, red onion, strawberry, tomato, veg Around a year ago I blogged about boycotting supermarkets and trying to buy only fresh local produce.  This was actually easier said than done in London, however, now that I am back in the wilderness […]

  3. […] really, really, hoping that this article is  a spoof.  I’m not a lover of supermarkets, and truly believe that they already hold too much of a monopoly over our buying habits, put local […]

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