Comment 73841

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 13:19:56

I've been struggling with this since first getting MyStoneyCreek's email. In general, I tend to feel a lot like Borelli - I really don't like (Fortinos-styled) supermarkets and don't know that I want to pledge tax dollars to support the industry. There are obviously a lot of small grocers downtown (Asian, Portuguese etc), but not a lot of selection of wider staple goods. That leaves some going to Giant Tiger, others to Hasty Markets, and doesn't leave a lot that's cheap, nutritious or local.

I have to wonder if we couldn't achieve something different here. Larry and Capitalist have a very valid point about subsidizing private businesses - it's rarely good for anyone but the owners of the business in question. If we're going to pledge public funds, let's make sure it's for something the public has a real stake in.

What might I suggest? The formation of a Hamilton food co-op. There's already smaller ones in existence (I'm on the email list of one which orders organic food at wholesale prices) and plenty of other communities have co-ops as their main supermarkets. This could offer both the selection and low prices needed, along with maintaining community control. There's other benefits too - such as allowing members to pay for groceries with work instead of money (pretty essential in poor communities). Finally, this offers a lot more options for expansion (syndication) of the model beyond one or two large stores into a network of local food providers with lots of smaller outlets in residential areas.

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