|Photo courtesy of http://thegoldenspiral.org/|
I have long been concerned by the amount of waste that we in the West produce as those who know me well are aware. In a small way my family does what it can to counter that through recycling, using freecycle, tending an allotment, shopping as much as possible from smaller, local retailers rather than the monopolies such as Tescos and Sainsburys. That said my concern is that we do not go far enough and that was brought home to me by reading the Evening Standard today in which it was quoted that British households throw away a third of the food they buy and supermarket waste adds almost 25% to that.
If we consider that the world's population is to grow by another 2 billion to 9 billion by 2050 then we need to change how we live. It is clear that in the UK we are conditioned into believing that we need loads of choice when we shop. We expect to see supermarket shelves groaning with fresh produce. This is brought home by the experience of The People's Supermarket which has struggled to make money because it is asking consumers to shop in a different way. The idea is that we need to base our shop around the fresh fruit and veg in season and where necessary add meat for flavour. To that end the People's Supermarket has very little choice of meat and fish available and it is all sustainably sourced so appears far more expensive then a battery raised chicken from Tescos which costs £3.
I really hope that Potts Dawson's social revolution is successful because he, like freegans (who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources) is challenging the way we live. He suggests we can eat well without the level of choice given to us by Sainsburys and Tescos. Furthermore he is endeavouring to implement a zero food waste policy by cooking up produce that is about to go beyond its sell by date in the People's Kitchen which is then sold as ready meals to customers of the supermarket.
The People's Supermarket is offering us another model for life because it is a co-operative so all members have an equal share in the business and give four hours of their time to work in the shop thus cutting the overheads and so enabling Potts Dawson to offer produce at a much reduced rate. This makes the produce affordable to a greater range of local people.
So what can my family do? My pledge is to stop being seduced by the two for one offers and just buy what we need for our weekly consumption and be more creative about how I use stuff that is coming up to its sell by date. And what are you inspired to do going forward? I would love to know.