A nice press release (which I've edited down a bit) from my employers, CPRE:
CPRE is encouraging people to spend their money locally when buying Christmas lunch this year. Charles Dickens’ three visions of Christmas are a useful reminder of how we have changed our food buying habits in recent years, and what future Christmases could look like if we don’t reconsider how and where food money is spent.
Christmas Lunch Past
Bought from a variety of local shops owned and run by knowledgeable traders, stocking distinctive produce that bolstered the local economy. Little packaging and virtually no waste.
Christmas Lunch 2009
The same big names in cloned towns and high streets and retail sheds spreading across the country. The model of ‘big and cheap is better’ retail is concentrating our food shopping into the usual few chains. Job cutting efficiency combined with excess packaging and needless waste.
[though Morpeth is luckier than most in still having a variety of local shops not to mention an award-winning Wednesday Market and an excellent farmers’ market]
If we don’t support the shops and markets the future could belong to the retail giants. In their relentless expansion they could squeeze out remaining local traders and any real choice of where to shop. We will forget what fresh, seasonal food tastes like.
In contrast, local food can offer incredibly good value and it doesn’t need to be the expensive option. Local food bought from farmers' markets, farm shops, pick-your-own farms and box schemes also tastes superb with wholesome, fresh seasonal foods aplenty. The variety on offer is the spice of the season.