Gardening and local box schemes VS recent supermarket shortages...
and a growing wave of consumers having enough of single-use plastic
Supermarkets chains are to consumers and the environment what glyphosate is to nature.
IT IS UNDENIABLE!
Supermarkets have created a worldwide environmental problem, creating a demand for the manufacture of many toxic chemicals that enter every single stage of the food chain, from drenching the soil with pesticides and synthetic fertilisers and other petrochemical derivatives, to the thousands of additive (e.g. preservatives, flavourings, colouring, texturising agents, laboratory-made vitamins, minerals and enzymes, catalysers, gelling agents, solvents, propellants and anti-caking agents) and non-intentionally added chemicals found in the final food (e.g. heavy metals, BPA, phthalates and many more), and the millions of tonnes of plastic polluting every corner of the world.
According to recent reports, the use of single-use plastic cannot be avoiding because supermarkets chains are so hungry for it, while being at the same time the biggest contributors to single-use plastic use and the environmental disaster it represents.
Grace Browne wrote in an article for the BBC: "Plastic used on farms is typically difficult and expensive to recycle because it becomes contaminated with soil, pesticides and fertiliser. These contaminants can amount to up to 50% of the total weight of the material collected for recycling, making the process costly and inefficient. If agri-plastic can’t be recycled, the only options for disposing of it are to burn it, bury it, or to send it to landfill." She adds: "Plastic is omnipresent on farms. It is used to wrap silage, to cover crops, in tubing for irrigation and to transport feed and fertiliser. According to a 2010 report from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), 45,000 tonnes of agricultural plastics are produced every year in the UK."
These data are extracted from from a Defra report dating back to 2009, which confirms: "Each year 45,000 tonnes of NPAP [non-packaging agricultural plastics], such as silage wrap fleece plant jackets, mulch film and polytunnel and horticultural covers, is sold in the UK. Once used it creates around 85,000 tonnes of waste plastic."(1)
We can expect plastic use and waste to have increased exponentially, and tonne after tonne of plastic waste sent to landfill and polluting the environment or sent to incinerators and release some of the most toxic of substances into the atmosphere.
picture extracted from https://www.thedailygardener.com/best-greenhouse-plastic
A KPMG reports says that if the growth of plastic production continues at the current rate, the plastic industry could account for 20% of the world’s total oil consumption by 2050.(2)
It is also stated that 40% (around 9 million tonnes) of all food packaging ends up in landfills(3) and that only 14% of all plastic packaging is collected for recycling.(4) The biggest parts of the problem is that the scale of single-use plastic is astronomical and often fails to be collected or recycled, mostly because people don’t know what type of plastic can be recycled very often place highly-contaminated packaging in their recyclable waste. Many local authorities do not even provide separate recyclable bins, and so mixed recyclable waste is mostly sent to landfill or incinerated because it is so contaminated, it cannot be recycled.(5,6)
These are quite a strong cases against supermarkets and their impact on CO2 emissions, plastic pollutions, and their extremely-questionable reliance on the petroleum industry, and blackmailing farmers to sell their goods at unfair low prices (Tesco, for example, was found to intimidate farmers to sell their good on the cheap or go extinct.). But these practices are used by all of the biggest chains of supermarkets. How would you otherwise expect to buy a piece of broccoli for just a few pennies.
Have you heard lately of farmers saying they got a fair deal from their buyers (the supermarkets)?
I believe it has never been the case... Ever.
While, the sounds-so-great-but-does-so-little FairTrade label has tricked millions of consumers to believing their purchases leads to a greater share given to farmers or small producers on the other side of the globe. But the truth is, whatever you believe the farmers or cooperatives are getting is nothing compared to what it should be — and many companies are not doing enough.
Some multi-billion pounds companies claim to help build schools and other facilities, but in all honesty that's a drop in an ocean of wealth. Sure, they could just not do nothing and increase their margins, but they wouldn't be able to stick that label of trust, that so-called "believe me, I care" fairtrade label.
Really think about it.
Think about how your shopping habits are shaping the world of today.
While a multitude of conspiracy theories has inundated the internet since the beginning of the plandemic, scared people started to avoid public places and stayed indoors. For those who ventured outside, hours-long queues at supermarkets and food shortages (with miles of empty shelves — even toilet paper became gold) made it impossible to get provisions.
It was so bad that supermarkets would allow customers to only buy a maximum of 3 the same items. They had to create slots for the most unfortunate, like the elderly and disabled people.
But whatever supermarkets tried to do, it was not helpful. A single women of 90 years old would have to be at the supermarket door by 8 am to be allowed the freedom of grocery shopping.
I have to be fair, somehow. In the UK, we are extremely lucky for the way many shops operate. There is not one store today that do not deliver. Some online grocery stores deliver within 2-4 hours of ordering. This is convenience.
But, did you know that supermarkets in France, for example, are still — unashamedly — not offering deliveries. You have to go to their pick-up-point, a system identical to the junk food outlets drive-thru. You order online and go collect. So, instead of one van delivering dozens of households, each is driving to the supermarket to shop or collect.
So what happened since the beginning of 2020 worth talking about?
Well, one thing is clear: THE WORLD WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.
Another thing that is clear, people will never shop the same way again. The longer the 'craziness' will last, the more decisive the action of consumers. People who had enough of additive-laden supermarket foodstuff, ultra-processed and refined empty-calorie products, the unforgivable abuse of single-use plastic, and their many questionable practices, have now found more suitable alternatives.
The rise of the food box schemes and a shorter food chain.
How amazing that farmers and cooperatives have jumped on the wagon and are now offering — and delivering their produce directly to our doors — fresh and in season fruits and vegetables. Even ethical meat platforms have exploded online.
Why would we go back to supermarkets when we have convenience, better food and fairer prices. Because, the middle men are cut out, the price we pay for our food boxes go directly to the farmers.
Farmers, then, don't need to cut corners to survive. They can once again care for their labour and for their animals — and indirectly reducing the ever-increasing number of suicides because they cannot stand to the supermarket dictatorship.
Dr Phil, the technical officer of the British Tomato Growers’ Association told the BBC in a recent report. “
“There has been an upsurge in local box schemes, producers supplying their local market and direct sales to houses...Though it’s not currently very profitable [for the food producer], it looks like consumers and producers might have formed that habit now.”
This is good news, right. Well, to me it is. My brand has always been about helping people reconnect with food and enjoy real, fresh whole foods as part of a healthy balanced diet.
What could be better than buying directly from the producers?
To me, nothing... Visiting farms and witnessing how they care for the land and their animals could not be a better selling point. Did you know that most farms organise tours of their premises?
Well, if you haven't done so yet, I urge you to visit the grounds of your favourite farms.
It is abherant that when asked where milk comes from, some people answer: "the supermarket chelf...", having no idea where milk comes from, let alone from a cow.
But, this is what we have become. Ignorant and unwilling to find the truth, because it requires too much effort, all the while, all that we are offered — and now expect — is effortless convenience.
Liz Bowles, Associate Director for Farming and Land Use at the Soil Association, also recognises the potential for change. “There’s a huge opportunity to think about what food looks like, not only the cost of it, but what goes into it, how it’s produced and what impact it’s having on our climate, the health of our consumers and nature.” She adds: "I think a lot of people are feeling more connected to food and really thinking about where it comes from”, says Liz, before quickly adding, “perhaps a shorter supply chain is better – and would help to alleviate any potential food shortages if there was another [lockdown]*. If you have a really long food supply chain and one part of it goes wrong, it’s hard to reconfigure all of that.”
* Our currently Google penalises any site using the latest virus name and so we had to remove it from all of our articles, including from original interviews and transcripts. This is what our search engine company had to say: "As of 9/17, 'XXX' is having a significant negative impact on the organic traffic of all websites".
The good news with changing consumer habits is that we should see a shorter food chain — less middlemen involved — and, I sincerely hope that more and more people will catch on and never go back to shop the old way. and so say goodbye to the supermarkets and what they represent: pure capitalism, waste and direspect toward nature and the world as it is, by being the biggest contributors of land pollution and the disappearance of top soil, the emptying of the sea resources and proposing alternatives that are so much worse, and replacing fish by palstic bags and microplastic, of which many of the personal care products they sell are full of.
Another growing trend is gardening. Many people prefer to spend their time in their garden, or balconies, instead to face police because they should not be in park enjoying the sun and socialising with their friends and family.
This has led to many people enjoying good food straight from their own little patch. No matter how big or small, it is enough to sensibilise people about food and waste and to know where food comes from whenever they have to source from someone else.
Isn't time to put an end to the reign of the supermarkets?
I believe there is no better time to stand our ground and avoid supermarkets.
if there is no demand, then the multi-billion pound food industry will cease to produce additive-laden and poorly nutritious foodstuff, the petrochemical indsutry will stop producing single-use plastic, and the local authorities will worry less about sending million of tonnes of plastic waste to landfill or incinerators (all the while polluting rivers and oceans, and our drinking system and the air we breathe) as well as the unpunished food waste all along the food chain will be dramatically reduce, providing more than enough food to feed the world and more.
3. Guillard, V., Gaucel, S., Fornaciari, C., Angellier-Coussy, H., Buche, P., & Gontard, N. (2018). The Next Generation of Sustainable Food Packaging to Preserve Our Environment in a Circular Economy Context. Frontiers in nutrition, 5, 121. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2018.00121
Registered Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Iridologist, Lecturer, NLP practitioner and Personal Performance Coach.
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