I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The world we live in depends on the small decisions we make every day.
The recent horse meat scandal in the UK brought forth anger, concern, and it has to be said, a fair amount of humour. But the fact that the meat was also unfit for human consumption, ressurrects the spectre of C19th food contamination for profit — things like sawdust and chalk in bread and all manner of evil substances being consumed by the lowest in society who could not afford to be choosy. (Sort of Sweeney Todd meets Soylent Green.) Are we really going back to that or forward to that? Do you suppose that Fortnum and Mason burgers would ever have to be made cheap enough to cut production costs? But maybe it’s more about increasing profits?
Whatever — fiddle-deedee! The fact is that we are much more likely to know what we are eating if we buy fewer processed products and if we buy from small High Street shops. This would also have the effect of not turning out town centres into unfriendly ghost towns and preserving outlets for local produce which would support farmers and create wealth within the local economy .
I mean is it really so difficult to buy some good quality minced steak from your local butcher and PRESS it into a burger shape and fry it? Is it really out of the question to slice an onion and put some carrots and stewing steak into a slow cooker and let it sit there all day cooking itself? Do you really need your swede and potatoes ready MASHED for you by M&S? Would you not prefer that the person selling you your meat could look you in the eye and say this is from the grass fed herd at ‘hexham’ or wherever? And they can advise on the cheapest cuts and how to cook them too. This way of shopping can actually SAVE YOU MONEY. Buy 3 carrots from your greengrocer instead of a huge bag from the supermarket. Buy one loaf at a time — not a BOGOF bargain BOTOA Buy One Throw One Away. Large corporations and supermarkets are predicated on WASTE. They are not concerned with feeding the world but with feeding themselves huge profits and building ever greater empires on which we become more and more dependent.
I mentioned the other week how it was costing millions to ‘rebrand’ The Metro Centre and Eldon Square, here in the Northeast where cuts are closing municipal spaces such as Libraries and the Turkish Baths. These are our spaces and they are being taken away from us. They won’t be put back.
This article by Michael Bywater, one of my favourite writers, speaks eloquently of what we are losing by our shopping habits.
And that is my point too. This is our choice. If town centres die it is our doing. Large Corporates can only succeed in raping the planet with our support. They are not too big to fail unless we allow them to be. Be the David to their Goliath! This is not about nostalgia for the High Street. It is about PEOPLE POWER against the Corporates. Take control. Know what’s in your food by buying what you know is well sourced and if it costs a little more, eat a little less. It is not my intention to be preachy — I do use supermarkets too but I use them less. And who knows — maybe if we send them the message that we are fussy about our food and the ETHICs behind our food, we can make them see that they are dependent on us!
Rainforests, Oceans, People’s Lives and Lifestyles — There’s so much at stake. You have the power. Use it.