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supermarket vs local  RSS feed

 
                          
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Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
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I try to use a supermarket as little as possible and prefer to use local markets and road side stalls
the other day while in a supermarket i spotted mangos (not localy grown) for $3.50 each curiosity got me so i watched the amount of people buying them, they were one of the same variety that are grown localy, could not understand why they were moving well and left just shaking my head!
on my way home i bought a bag of local ones for $6  12mangos and they looked better than the ones in the supermarket, at least my home grown should be ready for harvest soon, dont have any early's
 
                          
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Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
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so what i'm asking is why do people buy goods from supermarkets when the same produce can be bought local, probably better quality and definately fresher. it is understandable if the the required product does not grow in your area
 
Jennifer Smith
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lazy/programmed , don't know where else to go...
 
Brenda Groth
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well in Michigan ..road side stands and farmers markets and the like are only open from July thru October..so I guess we get to where we have to shop from supermarkets or can or freeze our own food..and we can't grow mangos here.

there are some roadside SIGNS where you can buy some things from the farmers themselves..but usually any fresh produce except maybe eggs and meat are not available year around here except at a supermarket.
 
                          
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Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
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Hi Brenda

here in Darwin during the dry season there are markets everywhere, this slows down a bit in the wet season, the road side stalls are around most of the year, some local fishermen sell straight from the boat and one even has a fridge truck he uses as a road side stall up the highway. As with most markets/roadside stalls you can get most things fruit, veg, fish, plants/seedlings ect, but the money goes straight to the producer.
I realise everything cant grow in evey area, i used mango as example because it's in season. if i want apples or stone fruit i have to use supermarket as they wont grow here. i just cant understand why people pay inflated prices to a multi national company when they can get it localy and cheaper. Local product = local jobs = improved local economy as opposed to money flowing out of local area to multi nationals
 
paul wheaton
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I think it is very wise to fully understand the question and the answers.

Here are some things I think contribute:

1)  The grocery store is trusted - there could be a problem with the roadside food making it something that the store refused to sell.  Something that the average consumer does not know to ask about.

2)  Time.  Make one stop at the grocery store instead of 20 stops to different vendors.  You left out all the people that didn't even bother to stop at the grocery store and just got their food at a restaurant.



 
                          
Posts: 250
Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
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many times i have seen farmers bulldoze their entire crop into the ground because multi national food chains offer less than the price of growing the stuff i say good on em, the multies will sell at 200% plus markup. A local grower here has donated his entire mango crop to charity this year in protest of these money grabbing super chains

sorry but i cant buy into purchase of a product that has been freighed long distance when joe blow up the road has the same thing picked fresh, not picked green, ripened under refridgeration. carbon footprint ect, ect
 
Leah Sattler
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I wish I could buy more locally grown stuff. as with brenda there just aren't that many places to do it here. locally grown markets are considered a trendy upscale thing around here and until it becomes something normal and there starts to be more awareness and concern about health and the enviroment and until the average income starts to go up it wont' change.

the farmers market has very limited hours and very limited selection and is very small. I inquired about placing my own booth there and was told it was full but he might be able to make room around the corner! I looked around at the 15 or so booths almost all of which were selling the exact same things and walked away incredulous. I checked out a small produce store that is open year round in our nearest town and casually inquired about the origins of some of the produce. it was all trucked in. I have found several ads for 1/2 beefs and pork etc......sometimes eggs. as it is it isn't unusual for me to need to make a trip to the regular supermarket in tulsa (two hour drive) to buy items that I want and aren't carried anywhere down here. mostly organic or msg free convenience items to be honest. we have two very puny health food stores that are poorly stocked as far as food goes and very expensive.

our local walmart (I know many hate wm) sells locally grown produce and marks them so.  we can buy peaches and cabbages and watermelons, canteloupes in season that are 'local'  or are supposed to be. if I want locally grown I generally have to take my butt down to the garden.
 
Jennifer Smith
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Leah Sattler wrote:
I wish I could buy more locally grown stuff. as with brenda there just aren't that many places to do it here. the farmers market has very limited hours and very limited selection and is very small. our local walmart sells locally grown produce and marks them so.

Sounds like we live in the same part of the world..
 
paul wheaton
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I think the spud thing is really cool.  And similar stuff, like azure standard.

The idea is that rather than have lots of cars drive to the market, to have one van load up and drive an optimized route to 40 homes.  Less gas.  Less parking lot.  Less fancy-froo-froo grocery stores. 

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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In my part of the world, local produce commands a premium price. Some products have comparable prices, and there are unlicensed street vendors with low prices in some neighborhoods, but a farmer's market apple might cost two to ten times what a grocery store apple does.

In many parts of Oakland, a lack of transportation and a deeply-held emotional association between farm labor and slavery combine with a high crime rate so that the poor eat mostly some combination of fast food, school-provided lunches, and whatever a liquor store might carry.

The politics, economics, and sociology of it all are fascinating, and frustratingly complicated.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Bird, what an important topic, and I agree with many of the points brought up and want to add more about the money/time stuff.

But first, Leah, I heard about Walmart selling more and more local stuff - it was a headline somewhere, but I didn't read it. I think that's fascinating...and incredibly wise of them. It would be great if they set an example for other larger corporations to follow. I think Costco carries a lot of local products in each of its warehouses, too.

And Paul, of course I raved about spud! here before, and you told me about azurestandard.com, which is Oregon-based. Being in the Seattle area, I consider the Oregon grains and produce that azure provides as more local than most things I'd get in the grocery store.

I'm with you Joel that I think the price is what prevents most of the people I know from buying local, or organic for that matter. In light of that, here are three ways that buying local/organic actually saves me money:

1. my kids and myself are healthier with local, organic food - science shows nutrient levels drop off as produce sits around, and also that there are, for example, increased pycnogenols (sp? and is that the right component?) in organic tomatoes. How much is your health worth? How much money can you save with less doctors visits or less prescription medications? My 21-year-old daughter has been on antibiotics once in her life so far. How many twenty-somethings in America can say the same?

2.  if you can't grow it yourself, getting a weekly produce box, whether from your farmer's market, your neighborhood CSA, or from a delivery service like spud! can save gas and keeps one away from all the impulse buys in the supermarket--all money savers! (It's more eco, too, in that these usually require less power than all those open refrigerated or frozen cases in the supermarket and the lights and heat on long hours or even 24/7 in some places.) Buying from a buying club type of organization like Azure, also saves time and trips to the store, because you can order in bulk and stock up.

3. local produce lasts longer and there's less waste. For example, trying to buy beets with greens attached at the supermarket is disgusting. The greens are usually wilted, pathetic remnants of something that was once green. But from a market or spud!--YUM! I can actually use all of the plant, and it's even more so worth the little bit extra!

Helping economically-challenged folks afford it - that's challenging. There was an article in a UK publication about how meals for the poor were made from 5,000 pounds of "mishapen" produce. Veggies and fruits that were bound for the dumpsters because it was considered too ugly to sell. Some group salvaged that food, made batches and batches of soup and such and fed a lot of people.

(Wish I had links to these articles I keep mentioning...sorry! )
 
                          
Posts: 250
Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
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It's sad that locally grown produce is not cheaper than store bought

On my way to or from work i can get exotic meats (camel, croc ect), seafood, fresh fruit, veg, plants and even bags of chook or horse poo, but that being said i would kill for a fresh crisp apple (only soft store bought here) so for me i do not need to make extra trips for these type food stuffs if my gardens aren't producing, so at least i can support the locals, but still need the big chains, i just try to limit the of.

I try to grow unusual varieties and heirlooms to get a competitive edge when i have a stall,( I have found single veg seedlings sell well to people with small gardens that dont have room for say 1/2 doz tomatoes and would prefer variety)  i still grow the everyday stuff for home, i will not go to the expense of say building a glass/shade house for the protection of just a few plants, if a n out of area plant doe's not acclimatise within a couple of years, out it comes, dont want sickly plants that could bring pests or disease

Many years ago i saw a sighn asking for people interested in learning how to prune fruit trees ( my way if branch in way cut off) so i rang and attended this was run by a community health centre in a low incme, high unemployed and high crime suburb.

At this pruning lesson i spoke with the co-ordinator, asking what she was trying to archive, her overall aim was to stop the wastage of food products in such a poor suburb, by starting a free tree maintenance service for the elderly I left my head spinning with ideas)

A couple of days later i went to visit this person to discuss expanding her idea, we organised a meeting in my garden and talked passing ideas around, from this meeting a new community group was born - eventually called Home Harvest-

A community meeting was advertised asking people to attend if interested in food production, only 6 people came, but still we pressed on
our aims were simple
- assist elderly maintain fruit trees and gardens-

Boy were we wrong

This simple idea turned into a thriving community owned and operated buisness,

some of the things that eventuated

Community came together ( race was not an issue, a feat on its own)
young and elderly came together helping one another
frail gardeners were taught no dig gardening so were able to get back into it, many thougt they were to old for digging ect
we installed raised gardens for disabled, new gardens for others, hydro ponic gardens for others

All this started with an idea and a few people
A gov grant gave means to start a commercial kitchen so jams, pickles, preserves could be made and sold.
So now theres a meeting place for the people, sharing of ideas, cooking lessons from the various ethnic groups, a break down of racisim,ageism and sexism (all benifits not even thought off)
The group then got involved with a food co/op in the next suburb and nutrition was enhanced even more, the group when i moved was self sustaining and no longer needed the Gov grants from the earlyer days and kept growing from strength to strength.

Overall we got
Reactivted elderly people
interested youth
improved nutrition/ health/ and outlook on life
less raceism ect.
a vibrant meeting place with a mixing of the ages and races
a reduction in local crime (we liked to think we did it)
we also salvaged a hell of a lot of deppression era/war time era survival methods
Better food more variety and cheaper costs leaving the pensioners more money to enjoy other persuits

Not bad for a free pruning lesson-
 
paul wheaton
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As for saving money:  one thing I like about azure is that I can get a 20 pound box of local, organic apples for less than $1 per pound. 

I like the idea of "local" produce being within walking distance.  If a person isn't much of a gardener, I think it would be cool if somebody three blocks away had a driveway market tuesday, thursday and saturday at, say, 5 to 7. 

And for  meat, I like the idea that folks have big chest freezers and buy half a beef from a local, organic farm once a year.  And something similar for chicken and pork. 

 
                    
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In many parts of Oakland, a lack of transportation and a deeply-held emotional association between farm labor and slavery combine with a high crime rate so that the poor eat mostly some combination of fast food, school-provided lunches, and whatever a liquor store might carry.


I've talked about this with a good friend of mine, an african american man born in philadelphia (where we met), he was living in oakland until quite recently.  In many poor neighborhoods, liquor stores and small bordegas are the only options for food besides cheap restaurant "to-go" type stuff - I've heard this situation termed a "food dessert".  But it might be a chicken or egg issue - he said he absolutely can't imagine his family sitting down to a home cooked meal together.  (And obviously this isn't the case with all black families, but I have a feeling that trend is not entirely uncommon these days across all racial lines.)  The issues Joel mentioned also contribute to damaged family structures, and there is little food heritage left to form bonds between family members.  You aren't going to be interested in local nutritious food if you aren't interested in preparing it (the art of cooking is seen as a chore by many people, regardless of affluence), or if you don't have someone to enjoy it with. 

It's difficult to say if industrialized, distant food producers have caused people to be less knowledgeable about food sources and preparation, or if these companies are meeting a demand for easy hunger satisfaction.  Many people do not see food as an important part of their existence, certainly not part of a political or social choice. 

Philadelphia has sprouted several urban farms in the last decade, and was the epicenter of the restaurant program "buy fresh, buy local" which puts farmers and restaurants in more direct contact.  Many people do only eat what others prepare for them, so I think encouraging restaurants to be part of the sea change in our food system may do a lot of good in the short term, though the entire restaurant industry is generally wasteful. 

Paul, I'm more for a community having one large freezer, with people being able to add to and access it collectively.  Why does everyone need their own freezer, tractor, car, etc?  I hope we learn to share in later decades.  Individualization of everything ends up leading to way more consumption overall. 
 
Travis Philp
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Leah Sattler wrote:


I'm suspicious of the large chain stores and their local produce. I went to lawblaws (one of the biggest chain grocery stores in canada) and they had leeks listed on the price display card as grown in the province but when I looked at the rubber band around the leeks it said " product of mexico". I asked the grocery manager about this and he said it was an error and that he'd change the sign. I've since seen the same thing in other big grocery stores around here, and not just with leeks. Something is wrong here.
 
                    
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I'm also suspicious of large box stores trying to cash in on the 'green' buzz word.  Local might become the next lie. 
 
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