Launching this week is Blasda – Scotland’s local food feast, a massive celebration of the alternative to supermarket food culture happening across the country next month.
From East Kilbride, where the entirely volunteer-driven EKDT are heating their polytunnels with dung-heaps and kitting out every school in the town with food gardens, to Uist where they’ve been experimenting with winter vegetables, to Glasgow where another huge Glasgow Harvest will host a Blasda event, it’s all kicking off next month as part of the normally very industry driven Food and Drink fortnight.
Why is the local food movement important? Apart from the impact of food miles, it’s the extractive nature of our globalised corporate food system.
As John Harris writes here (‘Supermarket Sweep‘): if we’re not careful, we will sleepwalk into a future where the Big Four supermarkets represent the only choice we have. There are just over 8,000 supermarkets in the UK, and they account for 97% of total grocery sales. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons take 76% of that market. Their share of non-food retailing currently stands at 14%, a figure up by 75% since 2003. In the two years up to November 2010, planning permission was granted to 480 stores run by the Big Four, which works out at one supermarket every other day. Since 2008, they have accounted for 87% of the retail floor space given planning permission. In May, Channel 4 News reported that by 2014 retail space operated by the Big Four was set to increase by 20%: as its report put it, “an expansion drive on a scale never seen before”. One pound in every seven spent in Britain goes to Tesco alone – and the recession seems to have only boosted the Big Four…’