Over supper the other night our family were discussing what it would take to make Tesco disappear. Smuggling rats in by empty cereal packets was one option the children came up with. We talk about Tesco rather a lot, as the great ugly monster of our own making. According to Tescopoly, the supermarket now controls 30% of the grocery market and made £2.5 billion profits in 2007. Colin Brent’s description of pre-Tesco (pre-oil) Lewes as a vibrant, robust local economy with a huge diversity of crafts, skills and community shops and enterprises still haunts me. I’m deeply upset when I think of the financial choices we have made to gradually erode away the resilience of our local economy and our
natural resources such as topsoil and clean water.
We can blame corporate agriculture and retailers but, essentially, it is we who have chosen through our purses to give away our power. Our family stopped shopping in supermarkets a while ago, mainly using them occasionally as after-hours convenience stores. We tend to eat further down the food chain now, which helps make supermarket liberation affordable. And hey, we eat so well from local shops. There’s a wealth of fantastic food to be had here in Lewes - staples and luxuries too. Humanity has created Tesco so we can uncreate Tesco, and the first place to start is in our mind, just imagining life without Tesco (and Waitrose for that matter). Look at the excuses, one by one. Do they really stand up? What is your gut feeling?