The Slow Shopper: One Week In
I’m now a week into my six-month no supermarket challenge, and so far things are going smoothly. But then it’s only been a week, and as I tend to hoard food like a neurotic squirrel, I’ve mainly been living off the ample supplies in my freezer and storecupboard. When these supplies start to run low as they soon will, I’ll start to worry.
Since I can’t to nip to the supermarket to fulfil every food-based whim, I’ve started planning meals a bit more so I know what I need to buy and when. As I said I’ve not had to buy much this week, but I did discover a very nice farm shop called Lane End Farm Shop that’s sort of on my way home from work, so I picked up some milk from a Grassington dairy and salad that had been grown on a Yorkshire farm. They also had some lovely chickens, donkeys and sheep in the field outside. A definite improvement on the ocean of cars that passes for a view outside my local Morrisons.
As you might have guessed, I work at Suma. This gives me certain advantages when it comes to shopping ethically, for instance I can buy some food toiletries straight from our warehouse and even get the occasional short-dated or slightly dented freebie. Don’t let this fool you into thinking I’ve got it easy, oh no. For starters, Suma staff-shopping is fairly admin heavy, as we input, pick and pick our own orders. This requires a degree of organisation that at the end of a busy working day, I don’t often have. Secondly, despite the large and diverse range of products, Suma doesn’t sell everything. I have to go elsewhere for my fresh fruit and veg, birthday cards, hardware-type stuff and the occasional bit of meat (I confess I’m not a veggie, but I’m still an OK person, honest!). Thirdly, for the sake of The Experiment, I’ve decided to limit my Suma shopping to a few items a week, for fear of taking the easy way out.
Earlier this week my self-sufficiency attempts suffered a minor setback this week thanks to an unexpected bout of snowy weather. The makeshift cover protecting my carrot and salad seedlings had blown off in the gusty conditions, so the tiny plants were half exposed to the elements and half squished by collapsed plastic sheeting. To be fair, it was held down mainly with clothes pegs, so it’s my shoddy workmanship that’s to blame here. Undeterred, I added a few extra pegs and have crossed my fingers that the little shoots will continue to grow into something I can eventually eat.
Excitingly, after some cajoling, my husband James seems to be coming round to the idea of keeping chickens in our back garden. I’ve heard that Wilkinson’s sell chicken houses cheeply (sorry, couldn’t resist) but under the current regime Wilko’s is a no-go area, so instead I’ve been searching for a local carpenter on Ebay. I’ve heard that now is the optimum time of year to start up with chicken-keeping, so hopefully by next time I write I’ll have further news on this!
By the way, there are a lot of books and websites that I’ve been referring to in my quest to be an ethical shopper. I’ve compiled a list of them on a resources page on this website, so if you are interested in finding out more about any of the things I mention in this blog, have a look at these useful resources for the ethical shopper .
To see other posts in this series click here