If each of us in Greater Manchester bought a tenth of our fruit and veg from local farmers we could create up to twenty thousand jobs in and around our great city!
If you’re not sure why we are trying to change the current food system or if you’re not sure what the food system is then this page might help!
We are trying to do things differently. But different to what? Lets start with business as usual:
The mainstream food system:
The current food system has many benefits and has come about for many justifiable reasons. On the face of it, supermarkets offer convenience and choice at a low price. However there is growing awareness that perhaps there is a better way of doing things.
As it stands, supermarkets control a whopping 95% of the grocery market(1). The choices on offer are therefore not based upon seasonal produce, upon where we find ourselves, or upon nutritional value, but instead by the profit-driven choice of food corporations. It is this profit-driven choice which rejects an estimated 20-40% of fruit and veg before it reaches the shelves, simply because they are not considered aesthetically 'uniform'(2). In addition to this staggering scale of food waste, supermarkets also produce vast amounts of non-recyclable waste through over-packaging and carrier bags(3).
There is also mounting evidence of supermarkets having a detrimental effect on local economies through squeezing suppliers and pricing shops out of business(4). Supermarkets have been accused of setting artificially low prices for products, the brunt of which is felt by the farmers and producers. The scale of this issue has been demonstrated by the recent crash in milk prices, as farmers were unable to meet the costs of production after supermarkets continued to slash their prices(5).
These problems are complex and inter-related, and given the scale and power of the corporations and supermarkets, they can often feel insurmountable. The infographic shows the challenging nature of the issues we face within the current mainstream food system.
Small steps to Big Change
Let's be clear, we aren't asking you to stop shopping at supermarkets, not yet anyway! But by diverting just a small portion of your weekly shopping budget our way, you can have a huge benefit on small and family farmers. For example, if each of us just bought a tenth of our fruit and veg from local farmers we could create up to twenty thousand jobs in and around our great city. While you consumers change demand for vegetables, we are going to be changing supply by participating in founding a new farm- The Kindling Farm. The Kindling farm will provide the Veg Box People scheme with swathes of local organic veg and bring the reality of a new food system even closer. We will keep you updated with the progress of this farm and how you can get involved in the coming months.