The pandemic has caused many people to question how food is grown and who controls its production and distribution. Capitalist agricultural practices are a major cause of climate change and food insecurity around the world, including the UK. Good quality food, like housing, is a basic necessity and should be available to all. Given that the current food industry is about profits rather than needs, many people have begun to take control over both food production and consumption. Already pre-lockdown there were a number of alternative food projects including community gardens, organic city farms and community kitchens, but with the inadequacies of the supermarket system and the hardship endured by many people, the concept of DIY food has taken off even more. This article showcases Crops NOT Shops and is based on information from the blog, Alternative Estuary: https://alternativeestuary.home.blog/2020/06/23/crops-not-shops-dig-for-….
Crops NOT Shops is a guerrilla gardening project that is made up of a fast growing community of people stepping away from the unsatisfactory and unreliable retail food supply supermarket cash removal machines to taking control of their own living spaces, food and diet, by investing in growing and managing their own food supply. They recognise that: “a huge foundation of system change lies in what we eat, where we get it, how to ensure it is in permanent supply, and, costs as little financially as possible”.
Mission Statement and Introduction: https://youtu.be/03ZyOHMw3eQ
“The project has been running just a couple of months but has already unified 800 active community members and is growing by the day. They have just started their 14th community site since January 2020, there is a vibrant seed, seedling, knowledge and work team sharing group that are also establishing contacts with other similar and related groups such as “Food Communities” , “Foraging UK” and “Grow Cheshunt”. Their principles are:
Chemical and cruelty free
Community Support Network
The more free food available in the community also means less cash clogging up checkout registers in your supermarkets. In line with the obvious we can take from this being that food, power, fuel, shelter are the core components to life that tie us to work , school, education, taxation slavery has not gone unnoticed by the powers that be”.
The Covid 19 pandemic motivated many people to get involved because clearly the government and supermarkets were not coping. Not only were shelves empty but with many people losing jobs and income the high prices of supermarkets made it difficult for people to feed themselves.
“We hit Brexit in January, traffic through the ports slowed and failed to complete their journeys, port delays, Dover and Calais were on full stop from January 16th doe to port blockages even and still we are experiencing delays into mid-May. Perishables were not making their delivery window, and, permit transport papers were not stamped. Highways England were tasked with managing the back log of traffic through the ports on this side of the channel. Yet the British press reported the reason for shelves running bare was due to pandemic hoarding and greed, seriously?, How many times did you see that same photo of the overweight guy with two trolleys of toilet roll at Costco be used in the papers up and down the country? The Government cannot be trusted manage retail food supply for the people. Here is a little more reading to check out:
Growing food and finding ways to share this food among those who need it is a key form of mutual aid. It is a way of building united, resilient communities, the foundation for solidarity in other struggles.
Want to set up your own sister group driving the change in your area?
Here is the group page link for crops NOT shops: https://www.facebook.com/groups/824963631333587/
For more information on food, health and capitalism, see the new ACG pamphlet: