Over our lunch break The Market Stall got chatting to Team Pugh: Ian, Rebekah and daughter Lizzie – a young family who decided to live without supermarkets for a year. Here they discuss why gave up on convenience, and what street markets offer them. Check out their fantastic blog about the experience: ayearwithoutsupermarkets.com/
What does the Team Pugh project involve and how and why did it come about?
We are Team Pugh, Ian Rebekah and Lizzie – just a normal young family from Oxfordshire! We gave up shopping in supermarkets on 5th November 2012 for a year. There were several reasons why, not only because supermarket shopping with a 6 month old baby was hugely inconvenient, but we wanted to see if it is possible to eat great food, which, where possible, has been locally produced and sold and actually save money.
We wanted to support our local producers and traders and help keep our independent high street alive by putting our money back into our local economy. Also, we felt it might be fun to start the blog to record our journey so that in years to come Lizzie could look back on her formative foody years.
What were your main reasons for rejecting supermarkets?
When we set out we simply wanted to save money and not step foot in a supermarket for a year. Since then it has got a lot more complicated! We feel that it is our duty to support local food producers and traders and to shout the message from the roof tops that local isn’t as expensive or hard work as people often think. Another aspect of the challenge has been that we now feel compelled to blog every day, this is no mean feat but we have so far achieved it. At the end of the year we are hoping to write a book all about our year so….. If you’re a publisher feel free to give us a yell.
What role have street markets played in your journey?
We regularly use our local farmers’ markets, which are held once a month in our town (there is another marker every week) and in neighbouring towns. Markets are great for getting bargains and for finding different items each week and getting fresh seasonal produce.
In what ways are street markets helpful, or inadequate?
The markets could be more frequent, however generally the stalls can provide everything that we need, with our locally run homeware shop able to provide the non-food items that we may need that we would have previously bought in a supermarket. Our town does not have a good dedicated greengrocers so the market veg stall is vital to our supermarket free existence.
What do they offer which supermarkets do not?
We have got to know some of our local traders and we are helping to support our local economy by putting our money back into it. We have also extended this into our lives away from food shopping, buying more of what we can locally and trying to spend our other money locally when we can, even if it works out slightly more expensive.
To what extent has the internet overridden your use of street markets?
We have never really used the internet for shopping, and never for food shopping. It is so much nicer to be able to see and choose the food that you buy, and whilst online shopping may be more convienient for some you do not get the choice of food, the quality control or the enjoyment of food shopping.
And lastly, the big question: from what you’ve experienced so far, how viable is it to solely rely on street markets for sustenance rather than the high street?
Our project is all about buying from the local economy as opposed to supermarkets, which includes our high street shops and markets. We’ve proved it is completely viable to rely on this way of life and avoid supermarkets. In our opinion it would be possible to rely solely on markets for all of your food needs, if we so wished!
Featured image credit: Team Pugh, used with permission