DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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17 March 2014

Local shopping

When I was growing up, my mother, like most other women, did her grocery shopping at what was often called the corner shop. This was a little shop that sold goods such as flour, sugar, tea, biscuits as well as butter and cheese. She also shopped at the butcher shop, green grocer, and delicatessen, then known as the ham and beef shop. They were all close together along the main road near our home. My first memory of a local "supermarket" was a converted grocery shop that had long narrow aisles where people served themselves and put goods into a basket, and then went to a checkout. The car-friendly, enclosed, all-in-one supermarket/mall came in the mid-1950s but we didn't go to the one a dozen miles from our home because we, like most other Australians then, didn't have a car. But we still thought it was all very exciting.


When supermarkets started opening, it was generally understood they made grocery shopping cheaper. These shops could order stock in much larger quantities, so they sold it on cheaper than the old corner shop could. The idea that supermarkets are cheaper is still with us but I have found that often they aren't. Now they win their market share because of convenience.

There was a time when you could go to your grocer and ask for something in particular and they'd get it in for you, and stock it after that if it was popular. You used to be able to do that to a certain extent in the big supermarkets too, but now it seems we don't tell them what we want to buy, they tell us. Now they trade for the benefit of shareholders; customers come second or maybe third, after the employees. They have more product lines now than you can poke a stick at, far too many in my opinion. Like many other things, you pay for the convenience and if you have the butcher, green grocer, baker and groceries all in the one place, you'll pay extra for it. Step away from that convenience and you'll reap the rewards.

I decided to look at the Woolworths online shop just to get a general idea of what they're selling now. I was shocked.  They have 32 pages of baby products, 43 pages of beauty products, 100 pages of beer, wine and spirits (I didn't know you could buy alcohol at the supermarket), 47 pages of biscuits and snacks, 87 pages of canned or packet foods, 23 pages of condiments, 97 pages of drinks, 87 pages of confectionary. There is a lot more but it's too depressing to go on.

These rolled oats are the best quality for the lowest price we can find in our area.

In the beauty aisle they had a bath cleansing puff, exfoliating towel, loofah pad, toothbrush bath (I don't even know what that is), the ready to wear cosmetic lashes, face wipes, cosmetics and sunscreen. In biscuits and snacks they have the obvious, including breakfast fruit and fibre (whatever that is), popcorn, nuts, "health" bars and crackers. Breakfast foods is particularly depressing. We buy the homebrand traditional rolled oats for 17 cents/100grams, even though we could buy the Uncle Toby's Gourmet Selection Sachet for $1.81/100grams - over priced because you pay for all that extra packaging and the advertising. There are also a lot of different flavoured "liquid breakfasts". What happened to a cup of Milo or a banana smoothie?

In canned and packaged food, there are almost 100 different varieties of tuna (why?), there is canned chicken! canned beef! canned frankfurts! canned soup! something called finishing sauces (whatever that is) long life custard, jelly, cones, waffles, pavlova mix and creamed rice in a tin (oh no!) and get this - one cup of wild hibiscus flowers in syrup for $10.39 - they are rosellas! One cup of rosellas and sugar for $10.39. If anyone here buys them I will personally track you down and show you that if you made this at home it would cost you less than a dollar. Be warned.

Some of the ingredients I use to make soap, laundry liquid and cleaners - borax, washing soda, bees wax and soap flakes.

All these convenience foods cost much more than what you make at home from scratch. Your home made goodies taste better too, there are no preservatives in them and you know exactly what's in the foods you eat. I can clearly see how dependent we are on supermarkets because I wasn't brought up with them, I have seen a different way of shopping. We can all choose to do our shopping in a way that doesn't make us dependent on brands and shopping centres. If you can find a good green grocer or fresh food market, a local butcher, a bulk food store for all your dry goods like flour, sugar, rice etc, if you make your own cleaning products, bread and snacks, then you won't have this reliance on supermarkets. You'll have more money in your purse/wallet too. Women do about 85 percent of the shopping for families. If we all thought more about the power of those shopping dollars I think we'd have a better system.

I have no doubt that like us, you'll still do some shopping in your local supermarket. It's crazy not to stock up on items at a good price when you see them,. There are also things that only a supermarket will stock - like Lux Flakes, butter, Vegemite and the like. But doing all your shopping in a supermarket will cost you more. There is usually a balance in these things which you'll only find if you look carefully at what you're doing and then do some research in your neighbourhood.

If you've already started moving in the direction of local shopping, I applaud you and encourage you to continue. You're not only doing something fine for yourself, you're helping your local business community and you're cutting down on your carbon foot print. If you're still at square one, I hope you'll think about this and deconstruct your shopping. Work out what you buy, list them in categories such as dried goods, cleaners, dairy, meat, fruit and veg etc., then look around your local community and see what the shopping alternatives are. There might not be any, but if there are, I hope you'll try them out and see the difference it makes. And don't feel guilty if you still shop for some of your products at your local supermarket, or even all of them. The main thing is to be mindful of your shopping and change it for the better if you can.

34 comments:

  1. This is such a great post. People need to think about how their dollars are being spent. I wish I had access to corner shops, green grocer etc. In my town, I have a large supermarket and then smaller higher end food shops (read more expensive). I think there may be a cheese shop but I have heard that the prices are outrageous. Even if I shop in a supermarket, I believe that by buying basic ingredients and cooking at home you can save a ton of money. And if that is all that you can do, then do it. With the warmer weather, farmers' markets will be open soon. I would like to support them but find that they price their goods so high. Even higher than the smaller pricey food shops. I won't shop at a farmer's market just because it's trendy. And so back to the supermarket I go. ~ Pru

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  2. I wish it were easier to shop local where I live, but it's almost all commercial, national chain supermarkets. I try to go to the farmers' markets when I can. I just blogged today about a book I enjoyed a lot, looking at whether to make or buy given foods. The book is called Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, and it was very interesting. I tried one recipe so far, homemade lemon curd, which was a huge savings over the commercial type. Thanks for sharing your shopping experiences, it's very thought-provoking. I'm sorry to see that other countries have the same issues we have in the US, but it's good to know there are ways to make this easier on ourselves and our budgets.

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  3. We are lucky in our relatively small town to have an Aldi, IGA and Woolworths. There is no independent fruit and vegetable shop (although there is a small holder at the local markets on the weekend) but we have several butchers....this is a farming area! I have been going to one lately for all our meat. You know it is fresh because when I asked for a cut of brisket he said he couldn't do it until after Sunday when he had his meat delivered. It is also the same butcher that has come out of his shop and stopped me on the street to confirm an order I placed with his apprentice! You don't get that kind of service at a supermarket. What I can't get at Aldi, I tend to go to IGA for. Failing that Woolworths. We are also members of Costco, our nearest is Canberra, and we stock up there on A2 milk and there frozen australian peas and corn.

    I have noticed that the superstore is all pervasive. Spotlight for fabric, as an example. Now there is a depressing experience - most of the staff know nothing about sewing and knitting, and many times I have found them entirely unhelpful when you ask for, say, the location of a particular product. We have a small shop in town for fabric....but really only quilting fabric. Otherwise it is an hour and half drive to the nearest spotlight.

    Anyway, I notice you have homebrand oats. I always just assumed Aldi would be cheaper for oats. I will have to go and do a cost comparison!

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    1. Good pick up on the oats, PH. The Aldi brand are slightly cheaper at 15 cents/100 grams but the quality of the Homebrand is superior, so we buy them. I'm going to do a post later in the week on Costco, I hope you come back to take part in that conversation. xx

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  4. I so agree with all you had said in this blog post. I have started to source my meat products from a local Mediterranean shop that has its own butchery department. The meat on offer there is of higher quality than anything I could buy in supermarkets. My fruits and veggies I now get from an Aldi shop just down the road from my home. Once again, quality is higher and prices much more reasonable. It pays to shop around and find the best quality for money you can afford to pay.

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  5. Hi Rhonda! I've been stalking your site for some time but haven't 'made contact' until now :). I also grew up in an age without supermarkets - in fact my first school holidays job was in the local grocer's, taking telephone orders and filling them. I can remember carefully putting eggs into paper bags because there were no egg cartons! And weighing out 1 lb of sultanas from a big sack. I have been edging slowly towards simple living for a little while now - we live on a few acres up the road from you (ok actually in central qld) and I was made redundant last year so have some time to do things now. This will probably continue as the local work force doesn't seem to want 58yr old women at the moment.....My sister retired at the same time as I got the flick (vol sep from the same employer - hard times) and I bought her your book for Christmas - she also has a few acres, nearby. Then I picked it up while visiting and had a better flick through and bought my own copy. Then our 84 yr old mum spotted it and was overcome with nostalgia for a simpler time and I bought her a copy too! So you have 3 friends here in central qld (I'm sure you have way more than that). So far between us we have made our own laundry liquid, soap, candles and bread and are immersing ourselves in veggie gardens. I am very jealous of your lovely veggie garden, mine is a constant battleground against harsh weather and wildlife. I am tenacious but the elements are winning at the moment. Thank you for the inspiration, sorry for the rambling...... Robyn.

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    1. Ahhh, I remember those eggs and sultanas in paper bags. :- ) I'm sorry to hear about the redundancies but it seems you've both taken the bull by the horns and are now both working for yourselves at home. Hello to your dear mum too. We used to live in Glenden - near Nebo - and while we were there we had chooks and a small vegie garden. We only gardened in winter and even then we had shade cloth over the lettuces and cucumbers. So it's possible, but probably not so easy in summer. Good luck with all you're doing. xx

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  6. Ich denke ebenso und finde die Vielzahl der Produkte in den Supermärkten auch überflüssig. Weniger ist in diesem Fall einfach mehr, für uns, unsere Kinder und die Umwelt.
    Grüße von Marie

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  7. My thoughts exactly, Rhonda. Although I do not remember the pre-supermarket era, I can clearly identify with your description of the early supermarkets. Greengrocer, milk fish and bread deliveries were still commonplace.

    I shop at various local, independent stores including a butcher, fruit and vegetable stall, as well as two shops which sell all of the dry goods and bulk ingredients that I use. My reliance on supermarkets is fairly limited.

    My supermarket shopping on the weekend was cat food, milk, cheese, yoghurt, tuna and rice cakes.

    I could (and sometimes do) make my own yoghurt. Since we eat a gluten-free diet, the rice cakes are a useful addition to our packed lunches. We do not eat them every day. Sometimes it is home-made wraps or buckwheat pancakes to add interest.

    Thanks for the reminder and I would add my voice to encourage others to move away from buying everything at the supermarket. Apart from anything else, it does not make good sense to 'put all of your eggs in one basket', so to speak.

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  8. I am probably about 10 years younger than you Rhonda, but I remember those days too. The milk was delivered to the door every morning and the local baker delivered a loaf just before lunch. My mum was disabled, so my sister and I were daily sent to the corner shop and butcher next door to pick up Mums orders. They had an account for her and I suppose Dad paid it monthly. When supermarkets came in the corner shop declined, the deliveries stopped and it became so much harder for Mum as she couldn't drive and being paralysed down her right side, pushing a trolley was difficult and she had to use a taxi to shop as we girls were in school. For some members of the community supermarkets were not progress. Also being mostly housebound (60s and 70s) the daily deliveries would have been extra social contact besides the neighbours. Love Julia in Bowen

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  9. What a great post to start the week, Rhonda! I had to laugh at your remarks about not knowing what some of the products are….. because I'm the same!! I have set things I buy and most of it is good basic food that I can still recognise as such. I sometimes stand and look at all the other 'non food' looking packets and wonder if people actually buy them! I guess they must or the Big Two wouldn't stock them.
    I can't help feeling sad for the children that know nothing other than fast food or 'food' from these garish packages.

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  10. HI Rhonda, love this post I had a giggle about the rosellas or wild hibiscus flowers in syrup. I must say I loathe going to the supermarket, I tend to look around when I am there at what people actually have in their trolleys and am just amazed at the rubbish that they buy . There are some clever marketing people out there. You mentioned tin chicken and I have seen this and also seen people at work use this . I just cant comprehend tin mashed up chicken ew.
    My Dad often talks about the local corner stores when he was growing up, it would be so lovely if we still had these what wonderful memories

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  11. Der Rhonda - as I have been reading your blog for a few years my outlook on a lot of things has changed and now I buy very little at a supermarket. My grocery list is VERY small as everything is made at home from scratch. This year I am having a go at making cheese after my SIL made me a cheese press and seeing we are almost out of meat ( we normally get a beef a year with our farm job) I will be buying our requirements at the local butcher- not the supermarket.
    Today I have made sweet cucumber pickle and have beef casserole ready to be put in the canner - this casserole tides us over calving period when we come home tired off the farm. Only have to open a jar and heat it up :-)
    Like you I remember going to the little grocery store in town and the cheese being cut of a wheel with a wire and a room FULL of flour that Bert Addison or Gordon Brierly would weigh out into a brown paper bag for Mum. Meat was purchased from Ormsby and Glossop and on the rare occasion that Mum brough a vegetable it was from the greengrocer. Tom had a veg garden that kept the house going all year round and they had fruit trees. Milk was delivered to the front gate. I do remember the change however with the advent of supermarkets and then Mum seemed to stop preserving and baking, the vegie garden went, the fruit trees cut out except for the plum. Thank goodness my brain has kicked in the last few years to get back to the more peaceful and therapeutic way of life of getting away from mainstream type living
    Karen NZ

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  12. I remember putting the billy out for the milkman to fill, although we didn't have bread deliveries in our small town. WE didn't have a green grocer either but did have a supermarket and a butcher, the town wasnt big enough to support much else.
    Tinned beef has been around for many years and other tinned meat does have its place, it does make a good addition to the food box when camping especially when many miles from a butcher/supermarket/convenience store especially when relying on eskies and ice.

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  13. Hi Rhonda,

    you post made me giggle. I was given those Hibiscus flowers by a friend who has not a lot of money at all and I thought - why, why, why???? Also I didn't say so to my friend as she would have been upset.
    I'm much younger and there was always supermarkets when I grew up. However, I'm from Germany where not everybody has a car; we had one for my Dad to get to and from work, my Mum had to walk everywhere, she doesn't even have a licence and that wasn't unusual. I remember well that when we went shopping, we went to the Supermarket to get dry products; we then went to the drugstore to get soap, toothpaste ect; afterwards we shopped at the Greengrocer for fresh fruit and veg and finally at the butcher for a variety of cold meat and dinner meat. Mind you, my parents were neither frugal nor did they make things from scratch, it was just the thing they did.
    When I moved to Australia, I missed being able to do that. I missed walking to the shops and being able to go and get fresh produce as easily. Nowadays I have discovered a local Farmers Market where I buy local and seasonal produce; I buy from the Farmbutcher which is much much cheaper; I stockpile from Aldi and only need to buy the remaining things at the Supermarket. I have saved lots of money since I started doing that and I enjoy creating things. I'm not a crafty person but I love to create a nice meal.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Frances

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  14. I just find it plain old more enjoyable to shop at independent stores that specialise in something. I love the rhythm of visiting the 'butcher, baker, and candlestick maker'! These people take interest in their product and how you intend to use it. They offer not just good quality but also their expertise in how to store, prepare, and cook their product. These people remember you when you shop with them often and go that extra mile if you need something out of the ordinary. I love the Chinese ladies at our local Paddy's Markets (fruit & veg markets) who remember me and always have a couple of logans or lychees to sneak into my daughter's hand as she waits patiently in the stroller :)

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  15. It does seem crazy when you listed the number of pages relating to one type of product. I remember the corner shop and in fact I am still using our corner shop from when we were kids in this neighbourhood. I am aware of the price difference (huge) but on occasions I buy from the corner shop one or two items rather than going to the supermarket. They are probably the same distance from my home in opposite directions however if I go to the corner shop I will just buy the 2 items needed (due to the cost) and I know if I head to the supermarket, there will be specials, and while I'm here I get this and that and my shopping for 2 items could end up being $30 so sometimes I pay more at the corner shop to save money. Does that make sense. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  16. Yes, being of the same vintage And growing up in a small regional city, I remember well the pre-supermarket days. I think the demise of the corner store has been detrimental to the sense of community in our towns and cities as often people used to catch up with each other there and had a sense of who their neighbours were and whether they needed help or not, etc.

    We are spoiled for choice here with Woolworths, Coles, IGA, ALDI and Foodworks but our local fruit and veggie shop which has been here for yonks is cheaper than them all! It feels like the middle of summer here today as we are heading for 33 degrees again. Too hot for us up here on the range. :-)

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  17. I was considering shopping online at Woolworths last week as I was short of time. However, when I went onto the website, there were so many items, I ended up squeezing in a shopping trip instead. When I visit the supermarket, I shop with a list for my planned meals for the week, and that is it. It is like shopping with "blinkers on" to all of the other choices available. It helps me be focussed and not end up with other things which I don't really need.

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  18. I too remember corner shop days, and remember when the grocery store was converted to a "supermarket". I used to roll that word around and wonder what was 'super' about it, as I gazed around the tiny shop now crammed with more shelves and people having to serve themselves. I still don't 'get' the supermarket thing, but the big chains are necessary for some things. I'm fortunate to have quite a number of farm stalls in easy distance, some close enough to walk to, and a farmer's market every week. My favourite shop though is 'the Indian', as everyone calls it, just around the corner, where I buy all my spices and lentils etc.....big packets much cheaper then any of the supermarkets, or the bulk store, cheap local fruit and veg from their own farm, and the chance to chat with the lovely old Punjabi lady who is happy to tell me the best way to cook cabbage or how to make a nice chapatti....don't get that at Coles! Thanks for an important and entertaining post Rhonda.

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  19. Rhonda, your opening paragraph reminded me of shopping when I was little (late 50s). On Saturday morning we went to the "PDF" to do the "big shop", then Dad carried the (one) box on his head to our car which would be parked a few blocks away. While Dad and Michael did that Mum and I went to the butcher and greengrocer, during the week Mum picked up a few odds and ends at the milk bar.

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  20. In our small town we have a woolworths as our main source of food supply and lucky for me I know how to shop in there and only buy decent products (I also supplement food from farms and markets and bulk health food shop). I can see how people get lost and confused in there because it is set out the opposite of how you are suppose to buy food. Luckily for me I was brought up to shop how you described our mothers did. I argued to get back the mozzarella balls when they had gotten rid of that line and replaced it with 10 different varieties of grated cheese varieties. I had to explain to staff that I don't want to buy grated cheese with preservatives but the full ball without the preservatives. Yes, I can grate my own cheese thank you very much. In fact it's more convenient for me to do so! Now the plain preservative free sausages have disappeared so back to the shops to re-educate!

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  21. This was how we shopped when I was a child. We would walk to the 'village' shops actually a neighbourhood within a town for the green grocer, butcher, deli and grocer shop. We had no car and the nearest supermarket was three miles away so we never went. Once my mother went back to work the supermarket was what we used because it was open later in the day. I followed this pattern and used a supermarket exclusively to start off with. Now I shop in many different places including the supermarket as, like you, I have found that I cannot get some items any where else. It does need more work and perhaps a little more time to start off with, but once it becomes a part of your life I wouldn't change it for anything. Visiting a local farm to buy milk has been wonderful in so many ways. A lovely post, thank you for sharing.

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  22. I was lucky enough to grow up in the 1970s near a small town in the Far North of Australia and I can remember going with my Mum to, of all things, a drapery! What I'd give for that kind of service at Spotlight!!!!
    I source my unprocessed ingredients and fruit & veg from quite a few different sources depending on seasonality and price and time. In a small town not far a local harvest store has opened up and I love going in there and seeing what produce from nearby is available. I love the Farmer's Market - the other week the market closest to me had the most wonderful, reasonably priced apples and it was the farmer selling them to me! You don't get that kind of freshness and connection at Woolies.

    Yes, I do go to either Woolies or Coles but only for things I can't get somewhere else. I talk about this all the time to my young son, telling him why it's so important to support our local shops so that they are there into the future.

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  23. I found this post quite depressing. Not your fault Rhonda - I was thinking of the mass consumerism that dominates shopping these days, and the number of people that get sucked in by it all. I worry about the state of the planet when I think of all the resources that are used to make sheer rubbish, such as so called beauty products. The outrageous prices of some of those creams and things are enough to feed a family in a third world country for a year. . And don't get me started about the obscene amount of money that is paid to 'professional sportsmen'....
    Anyway, apart from that, I'm lucky that our town (outer suburb of Melbourne) still has many country qualities about it, despite the presence of three major supermarket chains. I much prefer to shop at the independent green grocer, butcher, chicken shop and bakery, although I have to go to Coles etc. for a few things.

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  24. Wonderful post! As a child I spent time with my family in Paris. Twenty years later, my aunt still walks from her apartment pulling a basket on wheels, visiting the meat shop, the cheese shop, the fruit and veggie shop, the bread shop. Everything is so unbelievably fresh and far more convenient. I am so glad for our family owned cooperative where we can buy everything in bulk. Packaging drives me a bit crazy, so I love bringing my bottles and bags and filling them with oils, grains, and beans. So often it seems that corporations draw people in with the promise of better service and drive family owned business out, only to raise prices and lower the quality of things. You captured this all so perfectly. xoxo! marian rose

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  25. Hi Rhonda! Due to hard family times, our income keeps shrinking, and our skills keep expanding, so we really don't feel a pinch! I've come so far, that I think, oh well, we'll make do now too. Here in our little corner of Ontario, Canada, we live five minutes from the nearest town. The local baker actually gave me a bread recipe and some great tips. Now I'm kneading my bread in the bread machine and baking it in the oven. It works great every time and tastes far better than bought bread. In our fridge, we onlyl store basics, milk, butter, etc and homemade foods. So it seems fairly empty. But our freezers and pantry are full! So there is lots of food ready to be made. I used to have a big grocery list every week. Now it is just watching for sales on staples. I wouldn't know what to put in my cart every week anymore. We buy our organic grains bulk. It is about an hours drive, but I'm hoping I'll only need to go 2 or 3 times a year. Veggies come from our garden and eggs from the chickens. Meat I buy from a local organic farmer. So we really do have it made. I just preordered your newest book. Keep up the great work, Rhonda. I really enjoyed your post today. I also just knitted my first homemade dishcloth. Thank you so much! Janina

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  26. I was fairly happy to shop locally in the beginning, but I found myself somewhat disappointed. At the greengrocer, I was shocked at a certain moment that they would tell me that it was absolutely the right moment for sweet blueberries, while it wasn't and what they offered came from Argentina (I live in Belgium). I don't know where there food comes from and I'm not willing to ask for each veg of fruit. Quality had been good - at first, but when I bought melon salad, they apparently used not too ripe and poorly tasting melons. I like the people, but I'm not convinced anymore. At the local supermarket at least I know what I'm buying and buying non-seasonal food is then by choice, not by ignorance.
    Same goes for the butcher. I have no guarantee their animals live in better conditions than those at the supermarket. It's possible, but I'm not sure. Plus, I think their minced meat is way too salty - a pity, I think. Bread is something that a do get from our local bakery - they make it just the way I like. I plan to do more baking myself in the Easter holiday though. The local biological veggie farm has a shop, but its opening hours are nearly impossible. I try to go to the market on Sunday mornings, it should be biological, but again: not really sure. I try to buy from people that have only a few things in their assortment, as at least then it's probably very local. But I keep trying, although sometimes my choice to buy locally produced food is easier at a simple supermarket. The irony!

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  27. I remember our Corner Shop which later became a Four Square Store. The Grocer was a Mr Duance and Mum and my sister and I would go shopping and she would buy eggs (in paper bags) and broken biscuits (cheaper for 2 growing girls) and other biscuits (from a huge metal biscuit box on the counter) which were kept if company came. Mr Duance duly boxed the goods and delivered them free of charge later that day. Mum seemed to be always cooking something...biscuits or scones or cakes or soups or stews and then of course Tea for the 4 of us. Milk was delivered by the milkman with his horse and cart. Bread was also delivered (still warm) by the bread man with his horse and cart. People would wait till the horses had gone past and check if there were any horse droppings then rush out with a shovel and scoop this 'treasure' up to put around the base of their roses. I remember one particular rainy Saturday morning and Mum needed a few more eggs than our 2 chooks provided so being the older girl I donned my raincoat and duly went to the four Square Store and started for home with 6 eggs in a brown paper bag which I put into one of my Raincoat pockets. However by the time I got home the brown paper bag was sodden and most of the eggs were broken. I could never get rid of the scrambled egg smell from my raincoat. We all had a bit of a laugh about the incident. Mum decided to cook something else that Saturday afternoon :-)

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  28. All I can say is thank goodness for famers markets, my local egg and my sourdough starting bubbling away happily in the fridge. My children have become used to my refusal to buy anything with palm oil and are very good at rolling their eyes at my insistence on local, then South Australian, then Australian. The du-opoly of Coles and Woolies is becoming a joke. As you said Rhonda, they tell us what we are going to buy - not the other way round. And don't even begin to get me started on the new self serve checkouts "for our convenience" HAH!! It is a money saving exercise people!! They couldn't give a toss about our convenience - and there is a great huge long queue of people lining up to take part in this con. I know they think I am a stupid pain when I ask for the express checkout to be opened. I am also glad to see that I am not the only one who is so depressed to walk into Spotlight these days. The days of the ladies behind the counter who could tell you how much material to buy for a circle skirt or an A line dress or how much wool for a long sleeve cardigan are long gone. It is a soul-less place now. Oh for the day when I can step back and live the simple life!

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  29. And as a society Rhonda we are paying the ultimate price for all these processed foods. We are fat and sick like history has never known before, why? directly to do with processed food. Our children are addicted to high sugar and salt content before they are 2 years old. Sometimes I feel like we are raised, like cattle (in grain feed lots), to be money suppliers for the large corporations. At times it costs us some more money (we purchase 5kg of Organic Oats from Kialla for $25, they are imported) but I know our money is going to an Australian ethical company. Our family has not given the Coles or Woolworths company money in 2 years, this includes their hundreds upon hundreds of companies attached to them. What they are doing to our farmers in this country and not supporting a local supply chain, makes me outraged that we are letting this happen, by the choices we make every time we open our wallets. Our shopping is done at the local farmers market and by bulk online or our local organic store. Supporting garage sales and op shops, we don't go without anything, and we are teaching our children how to be ethical. We also shop at Aldi as they are a German family owned company, still. We are a family of 5, so we can't afford all organic all the time, but we make certain we afford to purchase from ethical companies without compromise. There are some amazing Australian companies producing all we need and they are fully supported by our independent supermarkets. We just need to make the effort.

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  30. This post really got me thinking! My Dad was self employed all his life and my parents believed in supporting local businesses. Mom shopped at a small independently owned, Mom and Pop corner grocer each week for my entire childhood. They then stopped at the butcher to buy meat for the week (I can still remember the painted red floor with wood shavings all over it and the men in red shirts and crisp white aprons and hats!). It was quite the place - VERY clean and boy those men were proud of the meat in the case - it was a family owned shop and there were 3 generations of men in there all working at massive butcher blocks (in full view of the customer area). It was a SIGHT, I tell you!

    Where I live now, we have no such shops :( There's no corner grocer, no butcher, no produce market - they simply don't exist! Here's how we obtain local food that we don't grow:

    1) I barter my time in exchange for organic, NON-GMO local wheat, rye, oats, lentils, etc. They are grown 2 miles up the road from me!

    2) I buy pastured local meat direct from a young farming family - a LOCAL trusted producer. I bulk order online (as is the way of the times) and they deliver on their way to city markets (saves gas as I'm on the way). I do get a discount if I order in bulk, so I plan accordingly and often pre-order as it helps them plan their farming for the season.

    3) Bulk order winter staples in the fall from a trusted long time local organic farmer. I do this to compensate for any garden failures on my end and also, to round out my supply.

    4) I support a Western Canadian owned grocery store (Save on Foods) for other items that I can't obtain through the previous producers. I like to support them because they are working hard to stock local food and their selection of it grows all the time.

    5) I do shop at Costco occasionally, although there's not much that I buy there besides milk (they stock organic milk from Alberta dairies), maple syrup (Canadian), sea salt, etc and gas.

    It does take effort to source local producers, but I'm passionate about it - it's vital that we do it to show our support. As many have said, it's literally voting with our dollar!








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  31. Thanks for the good article! Personally, I believe people are paying for marketing and the brand with many of those items. I just buy the Woolworths brand products at low prices in bulk and I save lots of money. Like you, I think half of the products they offer are ridiculous. I'm not a baby, so I can't see why I need a 'liquid breakfast'. I'd just settle for a good old bowl of cereal. I love your content, keep up the great work!

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