I’ve been living with my dad for 2 months now, while I sort out a new home for my daughter and myself, and I think we are just about there. If everyone who reads this keeps their fingers crossed for me, I might just be moving across the country, a week today.
I’ve chosen to move to Tavistock, in Devon. Matilda will start school in September, so I wanted to choose a town that I was happy for her to grow up in. My employer doesn’t seem to want to give me any work, and has cut my salary in half, so it wasn’t an issue for me to imagine trying to start from the beginning again. Tavistock is a Transition Town – a town whose community is implementing projects, in response to the challenges of climate change and a possible future without cheap fuel. For example, they will be trying to grow as much of their own food as possible, so that they will not be so effected if foreign imports start to get too expensive. They will be trying to create their own energy, so that if there are fluctuations in energy prices, it won’t be a problem. They will be trying to make their own products, dealing with their own waste, and cutting down on carbon emissions etc.
Another reason why I chose Tavistock, was because it was voted the Best Market Town in England in 2005, and the Best Food Town in 2006. I am very aware that every time I spend money, I am voting. If I was to shop at Tesco, I would be contributing towards Tesco’s profits. I would be supporting Tesco to continue to destroy communities, close down small businesses, and take advantage of their producers (Heavy negative words, but honest). If, on the other hand, I shop at the local whole food store in Tavistock, run by one lady and her sister, I am supporting my community. She makes ethical choices about which products she sells, and I trust that she will make more ethical choices about how she spends her profits, then Tescos would. Another fun fact that I learnt about Tesco, and in fact most supermarkets, is that our taxes are contributing to their profits….While Tesco reported profits of £3.8 Billion pounds last April, they still pay a lot of their employees minimum wage. Working tax credits is a benefit that anyone on a low-income can claim, to top up their income to one that you could live on. If you are on minimum wage, and working full-time, you can probably claim it. So all those Tesco employees who are not getting paid enough by their employer, are rightly claiming working tax credits, while their employer is reporting £3.8 Billion in profit. Hmmmm
Yes, I know it will be more expensive to shop local, but I save money by rarely eating meat, and by cooking from scratch rather than buying ready meals. My food bill will still be lower than most people’s, and there is a small chance that I just might live longer (apparently the NHS spends £2.43 billion on treating health problems caused by poor diet!) The fact that Tavistock has the best Farmers Market in England, means that it has a community full of people who are shopping in it. They are all voting for their market to survive, and they believe in buying local food. I love them already!
So although I don’t actually know anyone in Tavistock yet, (except one of the Transition Tavistock members, who I had a phone conversation with, who has already invited me over for dinner) I feel like it is a good place to move. I feel like there is a strong and resilient community, which I can’t wait to be a part of. I don’t know if climate change is going to be catastrophic, or if the world’s banking system is going to collapse. I don’t know if there will or won’t be new clean forms of energy to replace oil when it runs out. But I want to be part of a community who takes care of each other, who shares with each other, and one which is strong and resilient. I don’t want to run for the hills and be self-sufficient on my own. I want to be part of a community.
Of course I could have read Tavistock all wrong, but I can change that…So my New Chinese Year Resolution, is to NEVER know what the inside of a Tavistock supermarket looks like. It won’t be about not spending money there, it will be about voting for the small independent local businesses, and becoming a part of my new community.