For those of you who are kinda keen on the whole breaking up with the supermarket thing but can’t imagine life beyond Woollies and Coles, why not try it out for just a month?
Everyday-eco-mama Lucy Chan has initiated a campaign designed to get you thinking about how and where you shop: it’s called Supermarket Free Month and it’s happening this April.
I’ll let you think about that for a moment while we chat to Lucy about what inspired her to set up the Supermarket Free Month challenge and website. Her story is very similar to mine and the stories I’ve heard of others who slowly realised the supermarkets weren’t actually the best thing since sliced bread…
Why have you instigated Supermarket Free Month?
I’ve always tried to reduce my footprint on the earth. I’m no saint, but I try. We live in eco-designed house, with solar panels, and we try to reduce our water and waste. We also try to shop ethically, so this is where Supermarket Free Month came about.
I like to shop locally and eat local foods as much as possible, in a supermarket you are overwhelmed with choice and often it is difficult to know where the products are coming from. When shopping at a Farmers’ Market you can talk to the farmer, find out how they grow their produce and what is important to them. I have made friends with many stallholders that I visit regularly – my chicken man saves me a couple of smoked chooks every week. My veggie family gives the kids a cuddle and ribs my husband. I much prefer this connection to the faceless supermarket.
The big two supermarkets hold a 70 per cent share in the groceries market.The farmers are forced to accept whatever price the supermarket will pay as they are locked in to a contract and have little other option. This put huge amounts of pressure on the producers and smaller businesses trying to compete. I want fair prices for all and a fair go for the little guys.
What is the goal of Supermarket Free Month?
I hope to bring awareness to the general public, to know where their food comes from, to know there are alternatives out there. While I don’t expect everyone to never shop at a supermarket again, I would like people to examine their shopping habits, make some changes and be more aware as they shop.
Are you or have you been a supermarket shopper?
Absolutely… I am really normal! I’m not a saint, and I’m not expecting everyone else to be. Even when I was shopping in supermarkets I was aware that much of the fresh produce came from all over the country to distribution warehouses and then out again, all over the country. Also there is a large amount of imported goods, trying to satisfy consumers’ need for all types of produce, year round, which then in turn creates an expectation that they should be available year round.
Issues like the Milk Wars and the anecdotal stories about farmers squeezed down in price in order for the supermarkets to beat the price of the other supermarkets in town also tuned me off. The amount of power these large supermarkets wield and their effect on the food industry is amazing, and the best way we can overcome this is to make a choice about where our dollar goes.
So how does it work?
To take up the challenge, you simply need to avoid the big supermarkets for the 30 days of April, shopping instead at your greengrocer, local market, independently-owned corner store, health-food shop, organics shop, bulk food shop, co-op, box scheme…. You get the drift.
Make the pledge to be supermarket free for the month of April here.
You can choose to make the standard pledge, which means staying away from Coles and Woolworths, or the hardcore pledge, where you commit to avoiding all Woolworths Limited and Wesfarmers companies (the owners of the big supers). We’re talking Big W, Dan Murphys, Country Road, most liquor stores and petrol stations – there’s a reason it’s called the “hardcore pledge”!
When you sign up, you get access to a heap of relevant discounts, including my fav bum fodder, Who Gives a Crap!
Will you become a Super-Freegan this April? Come on! It’s only 30 days :)