JB from Whangarei has written in response to last week’s column about shopping smarter. “There are many different market places now other than shops and online. Think food cooperatives, farmers market and many innovative local food initiatives. Look up the nearest Transition Town or Localising Food Project to support local growers and cut out the big multinationals. I only support the stores in my town which are NZ owned (think The Warehouse, Pakn’Save, New World). Don’t support companies which favour imported produce over local growers. Vote with your dollars!”
There are indeed many alternatives to the traditional store. Some time ago we compared the same-day prices paid at a local growers market with prices from a nearby low-price supermarket. We found there was not a lot of difference in prices generally – there were unders and overs but the best deals were to be had by bargain hunting at both places.
Putting aside all of the ideological reasons for buying local, we think the best deals and best produce come from your own backyard. Many oily raggers take the view that a lawn is a wasted opportunity. Nowadays it’s quite mainstream to see a family to transforming their green space into garden space. The Localised Food Project that JB mentioned has quite a few examples of back-yard gardens (see localisingfood.com). You don’t need a lot of space, especially if you make use of boundary fences for trees and vines. Putting in a highly productive garden and orchard is simpler than most people think and more satisfying.