The People’s Supermarket

1 06 2011

By Aaron Murphy

I was really taken with a TV Programme that I saw recently; The People’s Supermarket. Perhaps the reason for my interest stems from the fact that I am a student struggling to get by on under £20 a week! This year I have really noticed an increase in food prices especially in comparison to two years ago when I was an undergraduate. Therefore, early on in semester one I made a pact with myself; not to shop at Tesco! I dread to imagine the percentage of my student loan that I spent in that oh so conveniently located Jesmond store. This year, bar the occasional rummage around supermarket bins with a few friends of a Sunday evening (didn’t you know? it’s all the rage these days – you never know what treats await your dangling hands!),   I have done the majority of my shopping at the Grainger Market, and it is not only my purse that has reaped the benefits. I have found the vegetables to be of a higher standard, the staff a delight to talk to and I have always left feeling as though I have done something to help the independent business person.

Herein lays the motto at the heart of the Peoples Supermarket; ‘For the People by the People’. The concept is simple: members of the community get involved by working voluntary shifts at the supermarket, and in return prices drop. The concept is not new. This kind of thing is going on at much larger scale in cities such as New York.  However, it would be great to see a growth of this kind of community action across England. For this reason I thought a ‘Peoples Supermarket’ would work wonders at our sustainable masterplan for the Freight Depot Site. Let’s hope ideas such as this actually go ahead and don’t get trampled upon by greedy developers!





4 responses

2 06 2011

Aaron, this one automatically reminds me of a contrasting news of Bristol’s Tesco riot in the April, just a month ago. Police raided a squat building and confiscated some petrol bombs, which were prepared, according to the police, for attacking a new Tesco shop in the neighbourhood. But, many local people claim that the police’s heavy-handed tactics provoked the violence.

It seems, the conflict between mega-supermarket chains and small or medium sized shops is getting more and more serious. Also, at the same time, where to buy your groceries is becoming more and more important to people, for many different reasons. In this discussions and arguments, planning permission seems to be one of the focal points. In South Korea, for the same issue, people are trying to make corner shop protection law which would control the ruthless expansions of mega-supermarket chains, one of which is actually partly Tesco-owned.

2 06 2011

Jun, thanks for that, its a really interesting article. Rest assured, Tescos may rub me up the wrong way, but I have no intentions to petrol bomb it! Seems there are people more passionate than me!

Another interesting thing I read about recently concerned me in terms of sustainability. I learnt that a massive amount of the UK’s vegetable product get rejected by the large supermarkets for a variety of seemingly crazy reasons. Reasons included: vegetables being too large, too ugly, too curved, or whole orchards of apples being rejected as the demand for that type of fruit has vanished! In retaliation, the People’s supermarket are helping out farmers, and reducing this absurd amount of waste by offering full market value for these products.

I think this great to hear. Afterall, who cares if their cucumbers a little curved!?

2 06 2011

I want curved cucumbers!

2 06 2011

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