Many people wish that they could break their reliance on supermarket shopping, but don’t feel that they can afford to do so. We’ve all become so used to the ease, convenience and affordability of supermarket food that it can be difficult to see how we can do without them. But with a little work, it is easier than you might think to shop at supermarkets less – even if you cannot avoid shopping in them at all.
As you are no doubt well aware, shopping at farm shops, through farmers’ markets, CSA and veg box schemes and the like is a far more sustainable choice. But we all know that buying high quality, organic produce can be expensive.
One thing to remember is that we need to value quality over quantity. Many people – even those on very limited budgets – often buy more food than they really need. Impulse buying can be an issue when you shop at supermarkets where there is so much choice.
Buying smaller quantities of high quality organic food and making it go further can be more cost effective than buying bulk junk from supermarkets. Remember, to make your money go further, you should cook from scratch, preserve, and make full use of leftovers.
You may also be able to save enough money to buy higher quality food direct from producers if you only have to buy some of the food you eat. Every little you can grow on your own at home can help – even if it is just a little on a sunny windowsill.
Another thing to consider is that you may be able to forage for a proportion of your food. There may be far more wild food available in your area than you think. Even many common ‘weeds’ are useful edible plants.
When you really stop to think about it, growing your own, foraging and generally living in a more sustainable way (buying less in general) can leave you with a little extra money that could go into buying more ethical and sustainably grown, healthy food.
Moving away from supermarket shopping is not always easy. But it is usually possible if you take small steps – one at a time – to boost your self-reliance and become a producer rather than just a consumer.