Tag Archives: supermarkets

No Tesco in Stokes Croft fundraising party – Chance to win a Banksy!

Here (above left) is breakfast, a sourdough loaf from the Stokes Croft pop-up bakery (above right), just across the road from the famously-unwanted Tesco.

“A year ago these streets were the scene of riots following the bitterly opposed opening of a Tesco store. Twelve months on, Stokes Croft, Bristol’s most bohemian neighbourhood, is booming,” wrote Stephen Morris in the Guardian earlier this week.

In a debate in parliament on 17 January 2012, Stephen Williams MP said:

“I am probably the only Member in the Chamber who has experienced a riot in his constituency caused by the opening of a branch of Tesco. It took place over the Easter and royal wedding bank holidays in April last year. I certainly do not condone the antics of those constituents, but I very much share their frustration. Large businesses do not work with the grain of local opinion.”

Here’s some background, briefly: Our No Tesco in Stokes Croft campaign, began February 2010 after Tesco arrived in Stokes Croft by stealth.

Against all odds, we took our legal battle as far we could – to judicial review.

We lost – our court costs are £2,126.50.

We are having a fundraising party on Friday 13 April at 7.30 pm with music, poetry and street theatre at 35 Jamaica Street, Bristol BS2 8JP. Join the group on Facebook.

Buy a limited-edition bone china “I Paid The Fine” mug produced by The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft, and be part of social history.

Twelve of the 250 mugs will be accompanied by one of the original Banksy posters donated by the graffiti artist as a “commemorative souvenir poster.”

Every campaign, whether you win or lose, is worth its weight in gold for it raises awareness of the issues.

I will be part of a round-table discussion – The High Street Fights Back – at the Natural Product Show this Sunday with campaigning journalist and author, Joanna Blythman.

This month, Tesco withdrew its planning application from Herne in Kent after huge local protest.

Thus, I, like my fellow campaigners, remain

relentlessly optimistic.

STOP PRESS 23 April 2012: Last Mug Sold!

Organic premium – who profits?

Why do we need organic food?

(As in the picture above of the beautiful stall from Somerset Organic Link, the farmers’ cooperative, at the Organic Food Festival last September).

What kind of topsy-turvy world do we live in that organic food has to be ring-fenced by regulations? Organic food should be the norm. It is food grown with chemicals that is the aberration!

NON-organic food should have to jump through all the hoops to be certified. Those that use the farm chemicals and potentially-harmful food additives should be paying extra in time and money to be regulated.

And people should pay more for the privilege: if industrial food factories had to pay for the damage they do – for instance polluting rivers and encouraging obesity – non-organic food would be very expensive indeed.

Instead it is organic food that attracts a “premium” (i.e. costs more).

Sometimes I wonder: Why? Who profits?

I include this letter from a farmer in the latest issue of Organic Farming which indicates that the profiteer is the supermarket.

“…If the Soil Association is serious [about challenging the public’s perception that organic is too expensive] it might do well to investigate the ongoing disparity between the supermarket shelf ‘premium’ and the ‘premium’ paid to farmers. Take lamb mince as an example: on 1 July 2010 Tesco was selling organic at £7.48/kg, compared to £5.74/kg for non-organic – that’s a difference of £1.74/kg or 23 per cent. Yet I am lucky to get a 5 per cent premium…..”

It’s annoying that eating organic often costs more (unless you are canny and take the extra effort to eat organic on a budget.)

It strikes me as grossly unfair that those of us who want to eat food – grown as nature intended – have to take more time, effort and money to do so.

What do you think?

Celebrity to market


I had to set an organic challenge for Hardeep Singh Kohli of Celebrity Masterchef fame: become 100% organic in two weeks. See how the comedian fared in olive, on sale now. It was a tall order because, in truth, going organic happens gradually.

I was mad-keen for Hardeep to visit a farmers’ market but he stuck to supermarkets. Farmers’ markets only set up stall once a week (or less), so I can see why they are not convenient. But the difference in quality between local organic food grown, made – or reared – within 50 miles, and the much-travelled organic food in supermarkets, is beyond compare.

Buying organic food from the person who grew it (from farmers’ markets or veg box delivery) adds a new dimension to shopping – you know where your food is from. Price-wise, buying direct is cheaper than supermarkets – no middleman to add costs.

Last Thursday at noon, catching a lift with Mike to Exeter train station, we unexpectedly passed Exeter’s farmers’ market.

“Stop the car,” I said. I had ten minutes to gather dinner (see above). Everything was organic apart from the fish, which was wild. With only a short season, the sprats, caught in Dorset , are special. And cheap. I got six portions-worth for £5. Sprats are sustainable to fish and healthy to eat. Grill without oil – they are naturally rich in must-have omega-3.

I fried the above darlings, eating them with Rod and Ben’s salad and Emma’s homemade bread, fresh from Exeter’s Farmer’s Market.

As well as shallow-frying the fish, I slathered oil on the salad and butter on my bread – what am I like?

The next day my pal and child came round. We ate the fried sprats whole, crunchy heads and all. I was surprised a four-year old would enjoy them but he did.

This time I served them with organic mash potatoes grown at Radford Mill Farm 30 miles away, and sold at its inner-city organic farm shop luckily on my flight-path.

How do you access local organic produce? Do you find it hard like Hardeep?