Markets are generally the domains of hippies and trinket merchants that want nothing better than to lighten your wallet. Or so I thought. As what could be classified as a fairly modest consumer, I never really had an urge to go to the local market. Under the guise of supporting partner has been the only exception, with the only purchase I ever indulged in being that of the instant gastronomical type.
As a somewhat concerned earth/human race survivalist, I try and make conscious decisions that will have a less detrimental effect on future generations. But, as with most of us, my brain wasn’t connecting the dots on several tiers regarding the excessive packaging and ridiculous amounts of transportation that your every day trip to the grocery store encourages.
Introducing my next-door neighbor Rhian Slapp, and his weekly ritual of grocery shopping at the local Farmers' Market, followed by a cuppa at the local cafe, where he sits and drinks his brew in an actual cup - farewell the throwaway!
Now on a simple level local market shopping (and a non-throwaway coffee!) is fantastic in that it reduces packaging. Simply take a basket or grab a cardboard box and pop the fresh produce straight in there; no need for styrofoam or plastic wrapping. Transportation is as simple as the diesel it took to drive the trusty old rattler down the hill; no extravagant freight liners or massive semis involved here.
But at a deeper level there is something else that seems to be increasingly lost from modern society: face-to-face interaction with other human beings. Not your boss, your family or your direct peers, but strangers from all walks of life. And here is the really shocking part, to acquire your goods you will have to talk to them! You may even find you exchange knowledge, and this is not only the case at the Farmers' Market, but across all local transactions, whether it be getting a book from the library, or picking up a new hand-crafted surfboard.
Increasingly our transactions are being carried out online. Shopping, health-checks even friendships are now primarily achieved in Cyber Space. Believe this isn’t so? According to The Public Relations Institute Of Australia, “Australians spend one in five minutes (3.6 hours) a day on social media”.
But we do have the ability to decide otherwise. Choose with your feet and make the connection between the excessive greed that drives the increasingly destructive and influential multi nationals of the world, and instead support you local community. Head to your local market, go and see the surfboard shaper down the street, pop into you local timber yard, or say "hi" to the local seamstress.
In return for keeping the cash in your local community you will be rewarded with intimate knowledge of a product the vendor is passionate about, and you'll be contributing toward rebuilding the trust and accountability that cannot be garnered online.