It's what the Consumer Demands
by, 12-24-2010 at 03:54 PM (1180 Views)
The devastating effect that supermarkets have had (and are having) on this country (and no doubt others) is plain to see. Take a little walk around pretty much any residential area and the only shops you are likely to find are fast food places, off-licenses and ones that are all bordered-up and covered in graffiti. This is not new news of course, it has been happening for ages, yet this to me is still awful. It is always painful for me to walk around my local area and to see it every day, whatís more, it is worse to be forced to shop in the very places which have caused it Ė the supermarkets.
When I shop at the supermarkets I refuse to eat plastic fruit, shipped out of season from half-way around the world. I just donít do it. I totally refuse to eat junk food (which makes up about 90% of most stores anyway) and I canít even look at caged eggs (or the caged eggs which other people are buying) without feeling both sick and angry. I cook from scratch and bake my own bread. I always seek out organic produce where possible and only buy the top quality free range meats. If I canít get free range chicken I donít buy it (my local Tesco doesnít do free range chicken Ė it is probably ďnot in the consumersí best interestĒ). However I canít do the same all the time for veg and am angered to have to settle for bags of value carrots or chemically sprayed veg.
Naturally I seek alternatives. I shop at the local market every week or so and buy from farm shops or hunt out the farmersí markets when I can, but these are just too infrequent. We are talking about once a month markets Ė this is just not enough to side-step the supermarkets and to provide a do-able alternative. I keep reading that approximately one farmer goes out of business every day and at the same time a new supermarket opens - the future is not looking good then.
Next year I am going to be growing as much as I possibly can, claiming all the available space I have with pots, barrels and old two litre plastic bottles - which I plan to hang around the shed and fence and grow real strawberries in. I intend to flood the windowsills with even more herbs than I have at present and basically do everything I can to add up the short comings. This will make a difference I am sure, along with continued bread making, but it will still not be enough to avoid the supermarket food altogether I expect, unless there is some radical farmersí market revolution and greater public demand for them!
Iím not saying that you canít get some decent stuff in the supermarkets, you can sometimes, but it is getting increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to get fresh local produce. Supermarkets do not want the hassle of dealing with lots of small farmers and instead prefer larger suppliers. I also keep on reading about how badly farmers are treated at the hands of the powerful supermarkets who constantly force the price down and back-track on pre-arranged targets and do just about anything to squeeze price and increase profit margins. Also Iím sick of reading the old manta ďit is what the consumer demandsĒ in relation to just about any shoddy supermarket decision, be it plastic fruit, salad bags pumped with chemicals (Jesus salad bags anyway?) tasteless, force fed tomatoes shipped in from Morocco Ė no it is not what the consumer demands. Hands up the parent who wants to feed their children with tasteless, chemically pumped veg and mechanically recovered meat? This is cancer food. This might sound too strong or alarmist but it is true, seek out the facts if don't believe me.
Anyway, I am prepared to pay a lot more for decent, local produce over junk and I am sure that I am not alone. Whatís more, I donít care if the parsnips are an odd shape, the apples are below supermarket regulation size or if the tomatoes donít bounce when you drop them. I just want to be able to buy decent, local food. Itís what this consumer demands anyway.
Edit: err, it was suggested to me by another source to get home delivery direct from a farm or similar organic supplier. A quick online search soon found a couple of local suppliers matching this description. It seems that they do free delivery on a range of excellent local organic produce - success! Here is a good link to check if you have one in your area too:
Edit: I have now posted another blog to counter some of the points raised by this one. Thank you.