I’ve been thinking about where we shop and what we eat. We’ve long term dreams of going off grid and when I think about some of our motivation for that it made me think that I needed to go one step further and start living what we’re dreaming. We want to live a simpler life more in touch with nature, to try and escape the predominant materialistic and consumerist culture that ensnares so many, to support local businesses and traditional values, to teach our children about the importance and strength of waiting (we have such an instant culture), of hard work, of being mindful and impassioned custodians of the Earth. And so much of that is reflected in the choices we make daily in what food we buy, where we choose to shop and the convenience that we had succumbed to in those choices.
When we were living on a boat in Brighton Marina I felt a constant uneasy nagging at our daily (sometimes twice daily) trips to Asda but ignored it for convenience. Now we’re living in Topsham it’s harder to ignore; we have several small shops nearby (a bakers, butchers, greengrocers, independent pharmacy, hardware shop and cheese shop) and have gotten to know the people that work there and we are more aware of the plight of ethical small farms, struggling to make profit whilst not compromising their values.
So I proposed to Dan that we go supermarket free for a month and see how we go. He was up for it but unfortunately (like many families) money is a concern so I’ve the extra challenge of doing it to the budget we have already set for groceries. However, three weeks in, I think it’ll cost at least the same, if not less.
We collected our first vegetable box (from Shillingford Farm) from the local collection point and after a bit of a hunt for recipes I realised I had the makings of 5 meals with few or no extra ingredients needed. I was excited! In the last two and a half weeks we’ve had more different meals than we have in two years. It turns out this was just the kick we needed for variety and real flavour in our diet. We’re feeling healthier, fuller from smaller portions and with the exception of a dodgy cauliflower pizza, all the new meals have gone down a treat with all 4 of us!
We’ll be getting a meat box monthly from West Town Farm and the rest from our local shops. We’re transitioning back to cloth nappies and I’m going to buy some soap nuts to replace laundry detergent. I’m going to be more diligent with bread making and revisit making granola to replace the kids breakfast cereals.
There are so many benefits to doing this; better health for our family as we eat more vegetables and better quality meat, supporting local businesses, improved animal welfare of the meat we do have, seasonal eating which helps us stay in touch with the seasons, less waste to the landfill, food that hasn’t travelled the earth to reach us and is much less processed with no added nasties. I love that we’re actively supporting local farmers and business and eschewing the big corporate supermarkets and I love that the kids are asking questions and witnessing the transition. They are both so young that I really hope that as a result of the changes we are making they will be able to make wise and informed consumer choices when they reach that age that will have a positive impact on the society around them.
Hannah Durdin lives in Devon with her husband and two young children and blogs about life and their home educating journey at www.thestarlingsgatherhere.wordpress.com