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Consumables

This is an introductory blog concerning the consumables in our life.

Intro:

I intend this to be the start of a discussion on our many daily consumables, both of the edible and non-edible variety. There’s lots of things to be included here – the article from a local farmer outside Paris should be one.  This needs to have a place for recipes, the veggie/vegan/bio discussion, buying high-street/buying second hand ad infinitum.  I (we) want to appeal to a range of people, not to exclude.  To do this, we have to be wary of the pitfalls inherent in many of these issues (nobody likes a ‘hippie’, it seems), and yet articulate the problems of the current structure of consumer capitalism with both aggresive critical accuracy and grace.  Recipe for cheesecake?  Where to buy decent, cheap and second hand clothing?  What things to avoid if turning Veggie?…etc.

As for my (personal) ‘manifesto’, it is simple and obvious: buy as much as you can from local, independent producers and distributors.  Buy second hand.  Reduce, Re-use, Repair, Recycle.   Be aware that almost all meat/eggs/dairy you can purchase comes from factory farming, unless stated otherwise.  (I will include a few links at the bottom to various articles on these issues).  I appreciate that consuming fair-trade is only akin to a ‘band-aid’ on standard (implicitly ‘un-fair’) trade and that consuming in this manner should not allow me to become comfortable or lax in my critical faculties (the very critical faculties that stopped me drinking at Starbucks when I was younger – though now they have gone fairtrade perhaps someone wants to defend them – though it won’t be me).

If it is all so obvious, then, why bother mentioning it? For I’m sure lots of people have similar manifestos, but the point being that it is not in any way easy.  It’s very hard, and my family and acquaintances often jibe at me even when I try to stick by my rules (and often fail).  I count myself pretty good on most accounts, and can become quite militant too (as a humorous aside: an ex and I broke up when, as the culmination of various issues, she didn’t like my cynicism regarding her recent job proposal – from the Disney channel Spain), but if we share and learn from one another then this is an area in which theory can very easily be made practice.  Perhaps – for those of us who, occasionally or often, bow under the pressure of social injunctions to consume in a certain manner – the ‘consumables’ category, can help us stick to our own rules and come up with more.

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2 responses »

  1. This is a brilliant section and it just so happens that I’ve been thinking much the same things (though it sounds like I am altogether less successful than you in not breaking my rules).

    Here’s one that I’ve been pondering over as something to do: start your own vegetable garden. Then, not only can you eat your own beautiful produce, but as you will inevitably have vast quantities of certain fruits or vegetables, give the extras to your neighbours for free. Or even better, cook it up for them and invite them round. The only small problem for me is that my garden is currently a small slab of concrete. But stuff it – feeling inspired, Joe’s allotment project is now under way (read more soon).

    Also, a trip to Ikea the other day, that while exciting was a bit of a failure, has inspired me to build my own. So in the near future, look forward to an article on how to build your own wardrobe.

    Reply

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