Guy’s news: Supermarkets, muckspreaders & unholy couplings

I’m very excited about my ‘new’ muckspreader. Actually it’s twenty years old, and tiny; a toy by modern standards, spreading a mere tonne at a time. No one else wanted it, but I think it’s just perfect for the job, spreading its load with a light, nimble touch on the land. Can a muckspreader be elegant? We do have a larger one, taking ten tonnes and needing a 150hp tractor to pull it; this behemoth is a cheaper way to get the job done, but it crushes everything in its path, leaving a trail of destruction behind. The true cost of its lumbering is long term and subterranean, making it hard to resist the short term benefits of speed, convenience and cost. Nobody asked the earthworms, but I squirm in sympathy as the beast devours their homes.

The unholy coupling of Asdapod and Sainsceratops will create a clumsy gargantuan, let loose to destroy all in the path of its flailing battle with Tescosaurus rex. More anonymous, over-travelled, additive-laden food, larger distribution centres, more low-paid jobs… The earthworms here will be the helpless, invisible suppliers: forced to wait ever longer to be paid while their cash feeds the beast’s insatiable appetite for growth, and squeezed to extinction just to shave a penny off the price of butter. No, I don’t think the merger is a great idea. I used to feed these monsters myself, before side-stepping into a cave too small for them.

How do we turn this around, for some sanity to prevail? It took a massive meteorite strike to end the dinosaurs’ reign, allowing those freaky, light-footed mammals on the fringes to have their day. Might the internet topple the vast, inflexible beasts? Perhaps, but beware the voracious Amazonosaurus.

But it hasn’t all been bad news. The EU virtually banned neonicotinoid insecticides last week, as the evidence of their contribution to the catastrophic decline of bees and other pollinators became overwhelming. Michael Gove, Defra, and the UK government’s advisory panel on pesticides even led the way. Well done.

Guy Singh-Watson

22 responses to “Guy’s news: Supermarkets, muckspreaders & unholy couplings

  1. Barbara mills

    Well said Guy. Is a shame most are brainwashed.

  2. Keep up the good work, progress is happening!

  3. Totally agree Guy. I agree with Barbara Mills, people are brainwashed and yet think they are so clever. Many people I speak to on the street have the same beliefs and feelings as us, or so they say, then proceed to buy their plastic wrapped produce, eat their mass produced ‘burger’ on the street and toss away packaging anywhere missing the bins. Good job they don’t play sport where aim and accuracy is essential!

  4. Jill Willmott

    I am very worried about this merger; It will lead to lower prices for farmers, and dairy farmers are already on the brink. IMO, time to bring back the Milk Marketing Board, so that farmers get a fair price. A Vegetable Marketing Board wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

    • Funny you should suggest that Jill, VegPower has launched this week, which is a Crowdfunder marketing campaign with backing from Hugh F-W and Jamie Oliver, to help kids and parents to get more veg on the table. Currently on 1.2% of advertising spend is on fruit and vegetables.

  5. Margaret smith

    I agree this merger with Sainsburys and Asda will make matters worse. I fear more corners will be cut. We will lose more of our farmers and we will be at the mercy of farmers overseas. I just hope that the poor animals welfare will not suffer. Humans have a choice.
    I sincerely hope we do not get more American food over here the N H S will go under with effects of that on people.
    People ask me how I can afford Riverfords I tell them that we find them good value and we prefer to spend money on good quality food and cut back on unnecessary products and luxuries.
    Thank you Guy and all involved with Riverfords I always look forward to my deliveries.

    • “People ask me how I can afford Riverfords I tell them that we find them good value and we prefer to spend money on quality food and cut back on nnecessary products and luxuries”> Which unnecessary products and luxuries would those be? I ask because so many people are using food banks, and struggling to make ends meet. naturally, I’m wondering what those “unnecessary products an dluxuries ” might be?

      • Margaret smith

        Sorry my comments on unecessary products was not really aimed at people who rely on food banks.
        I was thinking of people who spend money on giant television screens having two or three holidays a year meals out a couple of times a week in a restaurant.

        Perhaps it is me and the way I feel about animal welfare and the environment .
        People say they care about animals but there shopping basket tells a different story yet these are people who could afford to buy from places like Riverfood.

        Or perhaps because I remember when people were really poor, yet still bought the best food they could afford because mothers went to work to keep their families as healthy as they could. Next to the mortgage or rent food was the next biggest outlay but I believe that has changed.

  6. Paul Richardson

    Guy, as always you are spot on with your comments on mega companies which want to become larger and larger. Their path of destruction is very evident but when consumers insist on their lies of convenience and lower prices those who are shouting in support of the environment are little more than a still small voice in the desert. Unfortunately the trend is global. One day at a time with determination a individual can make a difference. As I heard a number of years ago, one right opinion is a majority.

  7. Right again as usual Guy!

  8. This only confirms my belief in Riverford, I know the provenance of my food I know the distribution methods used and I’ve seen the Facebook video of the cows where my milk comes from.Peoples responses are still geared to “oh good cheaper food”…ref the merger..I just don’t get it!!

    • Here’s £20. You have to feed your family (and any pets) on that for the nexy two weeks. Do you “get” that?

  9. Asda is bad news, its part of the Matalan giant I believe, global distributors……I am in the process of unpicking seams of a cardigan sewn up in a hurry in a sweatshop, probably Bangladesh or something, its a tale of woe and the garment was uncomfortable. The seams have been sewn twice, over machined and corrected and forced and very hard to undo…..unneccesary and ugly in so many ways….. just saying!

  10. Most people are totally disconnected from the way in which our food is grown and distributed. Heard a story recently of a group of children aged 9 or so who were shocked to hear about having to wash mud off potatoes as they didn’t realise they grew in the ground. I hope this is an exceptional story but I fear not. Keep up the good work, Guy!

  11. Yes, and in addition to all the above, where will it leave Sainsburys commitment to Fairtrade? Currently much of Sainsbury’s own brand tea, coffee, chocolate etc are fairtrade (at a reasonable price), so are all of their bananas. I can’t see Asda continuing this…they are owned by Walmart which are globally renowned for being shite for workers, for the enviroment, etc.

  12. The neocotinoid ban is great but I believe it is only agricultural use that’s banned. I discovered to my horror that most supermarket and garden centre bedding plants are pre-treated with pesticides including neocotinoids that will remain in the soil for months if not years. So, friends, ask if your local suppliers use these substances and if possible buy plants that haven’t been treated. They do exist. I guess we need a horticultural ban too. Guy, single-handedly you and your team have undermined those supermarket dinosaurs for years, much to the appreciation of your customers. Well done!

  13. The Sainsburys / Asda merger cannot be allowed to happen – a real test for the CMA, let’s hope they don’t fail it! If the merger is allowed I fear for their suppliers but equally we’ll get the supermarket from hell that we deserve because not enough of us have the intelligence or desire to see through what that extra 5p off a pint of milk (for example) really means. We live in a world where the only criteria that matters is how cheap something is irrespective of the cost to the environment, suppliers, workers wages and conditions etc. Thank God for Riverford, its ethics, the value for money and the quality of the produce. The neocotinoids ban is also excellent news!

  14. Thanks for this article. It’s so good to read someone who agrees with my view. I already refuse to enter Wal-Mart in the States and ASDA here. I’m sad to see Sainsbury’s joining these unprincipled stores and will now have to boycott them too if the merger goes ahead. Wal-Mart has already ruined the town centres of small town America and I can’t support anyone they partner. Long gone is the small friendly Sainsbury’s of my childhood

  15. I’m glad you mentioned Wal-Mart Anthea, because Guy didn’t mention the Walmartadactyl in the second paragraph of his great article.

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