We never think some things will change. The Crusaders will always beat the Blues, USA will always be the most powerful country on earth, the Yellow Pages is the best place to find a panel beater, Holden will always make great cars and there will always be food in our supermarkets!
Actually what we have learned over the past 15 years is that many things we thought would be here forever have changed - or disappeared. United Video, The Hot Bread Shop, DVDs, saveloys wrapped in paper, the Post Office and Fantasyland are all gone. Will supermarkets go as well?
Remember when we were all concerned self check-outs would put people out of work? Little did we know Countdown would employ more people than ever, often picking and delivering the food we order. For a long time we have had two supermarket chains controlling what we put in our fridge and pantry. They determined what we ate and more importantly how much we paid for it.
The global food supply chain guaranteed the crackers we ate were made in Estonia, our biscuits in Spain and our pesto in Chile. Huge ships moved huge containers from Austin to Auckland, Caracas to Christchurch, and Phnom Penh to Palmy where they would be stored in huge warehouses until we were given the privilege of buying those crackers for the special low price of $2.99.
Until now. Now we have a global pandemic, a labour shortage, climate change and a war in Europe between two of the largest grain producers in the world. Instead of sowing barley, Russians are sowing fear. Ukrainians are not ploughing fields for wheat, they are ploughing missiles into tanks. We have already been stung by the cost of fuel and produce, the next thing that is going to hurt is the cost of a loaf of Vogel's.
Our small motu needs global trade, but it's time we take back control over the decisions we make around food, instead of being told what to eat by the supermarket chains. We can do this in a number of ways.
Buy local produce from farmers' markets, veggie box deliveries, local butcheries (if you can find one) and local food startups. I love the fact the queue outside Crafted and Co is usually longer than the one at Burger King. We can also concentrate on buying in-season to save money and save our environment.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Most importantly we can get our fingers dirty and grow our own food. Many of us do not have the time or space to grow enough for all our whānau, but we do have 10 minutes a day and a few square metres to tend to some lettuce and potatoes. And that 10 minutes a day with our hands deep in our whenua can link us back to our ancestors who had to do the same thing for most of the day to survive. The bonus of growing your own pumpkins is that you always grow too many, so you can bless your neighbours with a tasty butternut.
Take back control, by controlling where you spend your money. The more things change, the more things stay the same.
• Dave Mollard is a Palmerston North community worker and social commentator.