Our dependency upon supermarkets has decreased over the past few years. It’s not something we intentionally set out to do. Rather, in our efforts to eat locally and sustainably, and to do so without spending a fortune, we found ourselves visiting the supermarket less often.
Instead, we buy our food through a Community Supported Agriculture farm, a local greengrocer, the farmer’s markets, local organic food stores, a local mum-run bulk-buying club, a wholesale market, and also in the past through a local food-co-op.
We discovered skipping the supermarket wasn’t a hassle and improved our life in many ways. The most unexpected outcome was that shopping became an enjoyable way to connect with our community. We stop and chat to friends while at the farmer’s markets and Little Eco is often treated to a face paint or pony ride. The quarterly bulk-buying packing night provides a chance to catch up with other like-minded mums. Staff at the greengrocers and organic stores are friendly and almost always familiar. And we are lucky enough to visit the farm where our vegies are grown. Racing into a busy supermarket to self-scan over-packaged imported food doesn’t even come close to comparing to these experiences.
Given that our life is a whole lot better when we shop elsewhere, and that there’s a whole lot wrong with supermarkets, I decided to give up supermarkets entirely. Daddy Eco has always disliked supermarkets because of their impact on small-business, so I knew this was a challenge he’d be happy to join me in. Once we decided to skip supermarkets, extending the challenge to include shopping malls and super chains seemed logical.
While supermarkets and shopping malls are self-explanatory, it seems Daddy Eco needs some clarification as to what constitutes a 'super chain'. He just got back from a visit to the post office where he bought a snack from a bakery franchise (that has 700 bakeries across three countries) when there's a perfectly good local independently owned bakery a few shops down!? I haven't set specific criteria for what constitutes a super chain, but it obviously includes large national and international franchises and chain-stores, with the obvious ones being the fast food giants, most of the major appliance and furniture stores, and sadly Spotlight and Bunnings.
Would you like to join us in this challenge? If not for a year, perhaps for a month or a week?
Information that will help you with the challenge:
- Ditching disposables for beautiful reusables
- Where to buy real milk at a fair price in Australia
- You won't find these in a McDonalds playground (alternatives to fast food chain playgrounds when travelling)
Joining us in the challenge*
- Unwindng at my place
- Jen, Mountains and Musings
- Baudains family, Ordinary Eco
- Cooper family, The Organic Gypsy
- Sarah, Fig nut mum
- Kate and Mark, Purple Pear Organics
- Tara, MUMedia
- Kim, The Little Black Cow Blog
- Shae, Yay for home
- Sara, Star-bright gulls
- Kylie, Mealy and I
- Kim, The Little Black Cow Blog
- Stacey, Domestic artisan
- Kyrstie, A Fresh Legacy
- Kyles, Adventures of KT & LT
*For a month or a year, I don't mind. I love that people are willing to give it a go, even if it's just for a week.
Challenge participants are welcome to use the image above and here's the code for a 150 x 150 button (like the one in my side bar):
<a href=http://www.littleecofootprints.com/2012/01/skipping-supermarkets-shopping-malls-and-super-chains.html><img src=http://littleecofootprints.typepad.com/buttons/skipping_supermarket_150.jpg align="center"></a><a