Sunday, 11 August 2013

I find salvation at a farmers market.

Living in a first world economy, many challenges face today's working age population, I myself am no exception in this. One of the biggies is establishing and exchange work for income. Since industries we work in are competing with counterparts in 2nd and 3rd world countries. To make matters worse, access to good food can be a problem, Either because the nearest supermarket is 50kms(30miles) away, making access difficult if not impossible for those without there own vehicle. Groceries tend to be heavy and public transport rarely goes from shop door to home door step.

Often supermarkets are operated by corporations whose priority is profit over ethics. So a 10kg bag of potatoes leaves the farm gate for $2.60/bag, and is offered to the public at a supermarket for $12.

Enter the hero, the farmer's market. That same bag of potatoes leaves farmgate, to be sold directly to the public for $8.50, through a cooperative.  This returns a much greater margin to farmers and a better deal to the public.  Prices at a farmers market tend to range from 30% to 50% cheaper than the supermarket price.

Tesla are doing something similar, they have a show room where you see, touch and test drive the car before going home to order your own car on line. This has been so successful that the Tesla S out sold a bunch of its big name competitors. Tesla's experience isn't without wrinkles. Dealers successfully lobbied Texas and Florida to make law requiring that cars must be sold through a dealer network. Oh the irony of the low regulation state regulating against innovation.

For me the farmers market, saves enough to put me "in the black" at the end of most months and catch up on some debts. For many others, they are the only way out of food deserts where all there is to eat is junk food and almost certain obesity and diabetes.

Detroit even has urban farms, and there are similar projects here in Wellington, where people perform some task related to tending crops and are paid with produce.

Over all these endeavours are a quiet revolution. They are overturning the way things are done.  Cutting out the corporate middlemen with their obfuscated overheads and margins, offering greater benefit to the public and producers while breaking down the monopolies of corporations that are short changing us all.  People are looking for and creating solutions to circumvent the problems of the broken economies.

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