Friday, 3 October 2008

Freedom food

I had a horrible flash-forward this morning in the netherworld of sleep/wake. In this nightmare it was the supermarkets, not the banks, experiencing a run on their food stocks as their fragile infrastructure, based on cheap, plentiful oil, water and labour, and a healthy soil and climate, came tumbling down.

In the cold light of day, that’s not so hard to imagine, as we have literally handed over the power to feed ourselves to these giants and their suppliers, Monsanto, Cargill and the likes, who are, technically, interested in profit, not us (Tesco profit up 10% globally during this year’s world food shortage). This week, Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University and government advisor said that Britons should dig up their gardens and start growing their own fruit and vegetables in the face of a looming world food crisis. ‘Ultimately people have to take more control of their food systems...If you depend on Tesco or Sainsbury's or Waitrose, you are a consumer. In other words your food supply is under their control. But if you garden and can grow at least some food to eat, however little, then you are injecting a little food democracy into your food supplies and asserting your food citizenship.’

If you are reading this you are almost certainly one of the 98% of ecologically aware people identified in a recent survey of Lewes District residents who still shop primarily at supermarkets. I am still recovering from the shock of hearing this from the friend who carried out the survey. There was never a more urgent time to radicalise your eating; and you can do it cheaply too; check out May’s bulk food: oats, rice and beans, cheap, organic and delicious. Bills is supplying budget options these days, with 5 avos or huge bag of local apples for a pound. Get a veg box, go to the Farmers Market, in fact, go to every independent food shop in Lewes, and you will find that giving up supermarkets is one of the best, most liberating things you will ever do.

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