Food Waste. The huge maw that we call the media, has to be fed with new material hourly, if not by the minute, with the result we get badgered by statistic after statistic often with no offered basis for these statements. One of them was that we in the UK waste more food than any other nation in the world. For a start I don’t believe it, I was brought up to think that everything in America was bigger than everywhere else, right down to lying, up to now I haven’t been proved wrong. On the other hand, I know that Sophie and I, as a very small unit, brought up to be sensibly careful, but not overly frugal, do waste food. This has worried me because I don’t like waste for its own sake, so I have decided the basis for all this waste is the loss of the corner shops. If you have to go a number of miles to do your shopping, you don’t want to do it every five minutes, and when you see the trolleys on a Saturday morning issuing from the supermarket, sometimes duplicated, and loaded to the gunwales, you realise that people are buying for the future, without a constructive thought of what the future holds; by the future I mean the following week. When Sophie was ill and I was doing catering, I budgeted for what I needed for about four days, planning the meals and buying accordingly, but then relatives took pity on me and turned up with packets, boxes, and plates of prepared meals. That was when I began to seriously waste food, and because this kindness was totally unpredictable there was no let up to the waste. On the wider horizon, waste is inevitable, because no longer do we buy all our produce when it is fresh. This particularly applies to fruit and vegetables. When I was a boy on holiday I went fruit picking, and we were paid by the wicker basket. I was picking Victoria plums, ripe ones, not barely ripe, coated in some sort of chemical that would ripen them over the period of time which it took to pack them, send them halfway round the world, and have them sitting on a shelf in a shop for a week. In my youth you went shopping en route from doing something else, because the shop was just round the corner and you could pick up what you wanted on the way home, so you were buying to eat, not as today, guessing what you might need, buying something because it’s on offer, and buying something that takes your fancy, over and above more than you would have wanted anyway.
If we’re going to start expanding with all these new government building proposals, let us give the corner shop the edge it needs to compete easily with a supermarket, and make provision for them in the middle of these building estates, and take us back to a time when we didn’t have to spend acouple of hours gathering up the provender, in fact, we hardly noticed that we were shopping,.