sticking it to the supermarkets




I haven't always hated supermarkets.

In fact, I used to love them. I loved "grocery shopping" – as kid, when Mum did it once a month only, as a poor student buying up beans and rice, and as a traveller, relishing cheap wine on the shelves in France, unfamiliar meats in Poland and stuff I'd heard about on TV in the US.

But I've come to really really hate them. Not the shopping: if I've got an ipod and an unmolested twenty minutes of child-free grocery gathering, it can actually be quite zen.

I hate what the buying power of the giants mart represent for farmers. The cheap milk fiasco is a classic example. Every time I see another supermarket discounting milk, not only am I horrified that they don't have to declare the inclusion of permeate (a dairy by-product that effectively waters down milk) but you can count on another small dairy farm or ten going out of business. 

Anyway, there's lots of reasons to boycott supermarkets. The main one being to buy direct, buy from a farmer if you can, buy local and stop contributing to food miles. 

We don't actually have a farmer's market around here. Weird, right? We need one!

What we do have though is a spectacular farmer-to-consumer co-op which does pretty much the same job.

My lovely friend Tricia over at Little Eco Footprints launched a grand gesture up-yours to the big supermarkets for an entire year. 




This is her campaign. I intended to join in. I love a grand gesture.

We almost had an entire year (yes, this year), cooking from scratch. Like, 100%. Given what else we have going on I'm kind of glad I didn't follow through with that one. Maybe next year. 

I've been texting Tricia checking the rules. What about vegemite? (She buys hers from a local deli.) What about Weetbix? (They don't have packaged breakfast cereal.)

Neither of those things would have been permissable on my 100% from-scratch year either, but they do make feeding small people simpler some days. Also, the Arrowroot, pictured top. 

Yes I make biscuits for a living. Yes I still buy Arrowroots. Ivy loves them. Ah shucks, I love them. You had a cup of tea and an arrowroot at 5am when you got up to milk the cows when I was growing up. The Arrowroot is a biscuit I've attempted to replicate but cannot quite get. 

Also nappies. Ivy's in cloth, but not at night. Also, not at daycare. (Did you know she was in daycare? It's excellent! Three days a week, lovely lovely place, she loves it and I love it. Yes I feel guilty about it, some days more than others, but although she loves baking she's really not that helpful at it and the commercial kitchen benches are too high for her and mighty slippery.)

So I pop into a supermarket and buy the Naty eco disposables every month or so.

I also end up at the supermarket if I've forgotten something for a bake. Like today – I don't normally buy small containers of baking powder but I ran out mid-bake!

I love this challenge. It's really made me think. Could you join in?

I'm going to, after we've moved, and not for a year.

I'm sure Naty delivers in bulk. I can buy deoderant at the chemist. But maybe daycare would agree to use an all-in-one cloth nappy? I've never asked. And maybe I'll join in over winter when we don't need deoderant.

And it means I've got a month or so to get that arrowroot biscuit right.

Could you do without supermakets? And do you know for sure that the milk you're drinking doesn't have "filler" in it?


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