Local is resilient

21 March 2018

When the Beast from The East struck it was interesting to see how fragile the supermarket supply chains were. The normally well stocked shelves quickly became, and remained, empty after just one or two missed deliveries. Probably not helped by the all-too-easily-fermented panic buying, it nonetheless raises the question of how we would cope during an extended weather crisis. Perhaps some lessons can be gleaned from the small, community owned retailers with their shorter, more locally based supply lines. Dig-In Bruntsfield point to three things that made them more resilient in the face of the weather.

We’re just about thawing out after what was an incredibly eventful week in the life of our wee shop.

Tuesday evening, the snow starting drifting in as we gathered for our 5th AGM, reflecting on the successes of last year and catching up with our members, shareholders, volunteers and community built through this wee unassuming grocers. Little did we know that the Beast from the East was on her way, wreaking havoc with our food supply and collective ability to function…. or did it?

By Wednesday evening, the Beast had landed, red warnings issued, all public transport had ground to a halt and workplaces were being closed up and down the country with people being urged to STAY AT HOME. But not for Dig-In… Thursday, Friday and Saturday passed in a white, windy blur as Morag, Claire, Katariina and volunteers kept the doors open all our usual opening hours as we served more customers than ever.

Small scale producers (not driving HGVs) were able to deliver direct to us, bypassing distribution centres and off site industrial bakeries and processing units. The incredible logistic machine that is the supermarket supply chain is immensely impressive, but as evidenced last week, simultaneously vulnerable and fragile. It’s a good time to reflect on our short supply chains and why in the face of a storm that emptied shelves across the country, our community shop proved resilient to the shock scarcity and absenteeism.

See what we learned Here.

References:

Dig In Bruntsfield. 2018. Retrieved from http://www.diginbruntsfield.co.uk/dig-in-vs-the-beast-from-the-east-the-power-of-local/

Scottish Community Alliance. 2018. Retrieved from http://www.scottishcommunityalliance.org.uk/articles/2713/

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