Lamb’s Conduit Street has been one of my favourite streets in London even before I moved here. I had read about it in an issue of Monocle, and stumbled upon the street itself while staying at the hostel in the first few days of being in London.
Lately, there’s been a new reason to pay a visit to this awesome street, and that would be The People’s Supermarket, a new co-operative supermarket staffed by some paid workers, but mostly volunteers. I went to their grand opening of sorts on a Saturday back in June and had a look around the place. Employees/volunteers were in yellow shirts featuring “The People’s Supermarket” written on them. Prices for goods were pretty good, and I wound up buying some delicious Somerset soft cheese, although I had to go to Kennard’s (also on Lamb’s Conduit Street) for the bread I wanted.
If you’re expecting some sort of hippie shop, or a place full of organic produce, prepare for a correction. Although products and brands that are organic and sustainable are featured, conventional products one wouldn’t find at Planet Organic or Whole Foods are also available. At least for now, anyway, as those who volunteer with The People’s Supermarket also have a say in how it is run and what products should be stocked. In order to become a member of The People’s Supermarket, there is a £25 annual member’s fee, and you are required to volunteer four hours a month, which really isn’t much to get an even better discount (20%) on already inexpensively-priced groceries and household needs.
Here’s an article talking about The People’s Supermarket before it opened. You can also read my friend and Anthropology of Food colleague Hannah’s take on The People’s Supermarket on her blog, Food Rant.
I like the idea behind The People’s Supermarket, and I’m curious to see how this will be put forth into praxis. I’ve been in really quickly since earlier this week, and noted that there wasn’t any air conditioning in The People’s Supermarket. I wonder how that will affect the Kit-Kat bars. They do have a cooled chocolate shelf in order for chocolate bars not to melt, so there’s that.
Seeing as how I don’t know if I will be staying in London or not after November, I probably won’t be joining up with The People’s Supermarket anytime soon, but I’d be interested in hearing and reading about people’s experiences as members. Once I’m settled into my new temporary Hackney digs, a house with two kitchens (whaaat!), I’d like to peruse the shelves of The People’s Supermarket a bit more. I hope some of its members can vote for the place to start stocking yummy baguette-style bread.