Co-op

At the end of August 2012 I returned from my amazing Otesha tour full of enthusiasm for being a change maker in my local area of Swansea. My intention was to begin this blog and document my journey into sustainable living. I have found this journey to be a juggling act of priorities trying to decide what is best for the environment, for social justice, what I can afford and how far I am willing to go from ‘normal modern life’. I want to do the right thing but also I want to find a way of life that is attractive to other people. I know that no matter how much I am doing I could always do a bit more but each person has to find the balance that is right for them. As long as you are prepared to listen to new information, thoughtfully evaluate the impact of your everyday practices, and be prepared to make changes that feel right to you, you are on the same journey as me.

Since the Otesha tour my enthusiasm has worn off a little (very predictable though, I am only human after all). I have continued to live my life in as sustainable a way as I can. I STILL haven’t shopped in a supermarket. I have been getting the majority of my food from local shops, the market and the veg box scheme with occasional visit to the Co-op when it’s necessary. I agree that the Co-op is like a supermarket but the difference is that it is owned by its employees and customers and therefore, there is a fair representative of societies’ views among the shareholders and not the promotion of consumerism at any cost.

The Co-op has often lead the way in ethical practices which the big supermarkets have yet to embrace. Just the other day I was watching the film “The Vanishing of the Bees” about the effect that pesticides and mono-cultures have on our little black and yellow friend. In this documentary, the Co-op was specifically mentioned, for spearheading a campaign to save the bees that are under direct threat from the industrial farming practices endorsed by the big supermarkets. The Co-op have done other things besides, such as committing to only ever using free range eggs, fair trade coffee, chocolate and cotton in their products. By competing in the same arena as the big supermarkets they have the power to challenge and change the food system and prove that doing the right thing isn’t bad for business but obviously they can only do this one step at a time. They are a long way from providing the perfect solution to shopping sustainably but either way I am behind them and hope that they continue to make more changes.

And while we are on the topic of co-op’s….. We are just waiting for the bank account to be set up for the new ‘Swansea Organic Food Co-op’ and we are going to have a trial run, hopefully at the end of january. I cannot wait to get stocked up on Suma organics! Watch this space….

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