All posts by trevor

Why we need to defend cash

Selection of cash at the British Museum. Credit: Blatant World (CC-BY licence)

Novara Media just published a long interview with anthropologist and former financial services worker Brett Scott, talking about money.

One of the key themes in Cloudmoney, the book that Brett Scott is doing the rounds promoting, is the need to defend and encourage cash — “the bicycle of payments” — as we make a point of doing at Fareshares.

The interview is a pretty broad exploration of money and politics, but here’s where they begin to discuss cash in particular:

Lots of interesting stuff, including how the progressive veneer of the fintech industry has mobilised the urban graduate class to act as the vanguard of the privatisation of payments, how the “left” and “right” elements of the pro-cash movement currently sit in relation to each other, how the elimination of cash plays into power (corporate, state and geopolitical), and how we might build a cultural movement to defend the right to a non-corporate, offline form of payment.

[The above link is to an Invidious proxy, which lets you watch YouTube videos free of Google’s tracking, advertising, profiling and bubbling. Another advantage of using an Invidious proxy is that you can click the little headphone icon next to the video title and it switches to audio-only. But for posterity/reference the direct YouTube link is this.]

Did you send us a cheque?

We recently received a generous donation in the form of a cheque through the post made out to “” (sic).

Banks are a bit picky about the payee details being correct on cheques, and we don’t think that our bank will allow us to pay it in, unfortunately, especially as there is another similarly named organisation (whom we predate by five years or so) called FareShare (without the final “s”).

If you are the kind person who sent us the cheque and happen to see this in the next week or so, please either drop in to the shop when we’re open, or get in touch with us via email at so that we can sort this out.

Or indeed you are very welcome to send us another cheque made out to “Fareshares Food Co-operative”, and we’ll tear up the other one!

If we don’t hear anything, we will return the cheque to the issuing bank who will no doubt get in touch with our would-be benefactor.

If you would like to donate to Fareshares to help cover our outgoings (rent and bills) so our volunteers can continue to provide the cheapest organic wholefood in London, the best way is via bank transfer and our details are here.

VEG1 is back in stock

VEG1, the affordable and reliable source of nutrients in which vegans are often deficient

If you’ve been to Fareshares in the past few months hoping to get your VEG1 supplement, you’ll have found yourself out of luck. Sorry about that!

We’re glad to say we now have VEG1 back in stock, in 90-tablet pots (orange or blackcurrant flavours) — a three-month supply for one person — at £6.60 each, working out at around 7p a day.

If you haven’t come across VEG1 yet, it’s a nutritional supplement developed by The Vegan Society which provides an affordable, reliable source of vitamins B12, B2, B6 and D3, folic acid, iodine and selenium, covering all your bases.

You’re generally onto a winner health-wise if you eat the kind of wholefood plant-based diet that Fareshares helps to support, but you can still end up deficient in some vital nutrients.

In particular you risk serious health consequences if you don’t take special steps to make sure you get enough vitamin B12 which, with very few exceptions, is not present in plant foods. Likewise it is difficult to get enough iodine from a strict plant-based diet. And everyone, irrespective of diet, should be supplementing with vitamin D between October and March in these latitudes.

Herbs are back

We’ve finally restocked on some herbs and spices, thanks to the enthusiasm and effort of volunteers Laura and Lucy. We have cumin seeds, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, cinnamon quills, thyme, chamomile flower, mixed herbs.

Sourced in bulk from the Organic Herb Trading Company in Somerset and painstakingly packed into 25g and 50g paper bags for minimal packaging waste and maximum value.

Come and get ’em!

Bulk bread flour available

We’ve accidentally ordered two 25kg sacks of flour — one is strong white (£1 per kg) and the other is strong wholemeal (88p per kg).

If you bake, next time you shop at Fareshares please come with your containers and take some of it off our hands!

The white is £1 per kg and the wholemeal is 88p per kg.

No longer inviting “advance orders”

While our door was closed during the early months of the pandemic last year, we set up a system of “advance orders”, allowing people to send a grocery order by email or on paper, which our volunteers would prepare for pickup.

We continued to invite advance orders for a while after we re-opened in August, but we found that they were rather time-consuming because of all the communication about pickup times and about what was and wasn’t in stock, and there were quite often mixups and slow responses on both sides.

Now people have generally been able to come back and do their shopping in person (served by volunteers for the time being at the door where there’s good ventilation, in order to reduce infection risk). We receive very few requests for advance orders any more, and we have been slow to respond to those few that we have received.

So to keep things simple, and not over-promise, we have decided to stop offering the service of advance orders now.

Please come to the door during opening hours and our volunteers will serve you as efficiently as we can.

We appreciate it if you bring your own containers for us to fill with loose goods, as it’s quicker and less wasteful than fiddling with paper bags.

(NB We are still accepting “pre-orders”, by which we mean non-stock items that you would like us to order from the Infinity catalogue, paid up front.)

open for service at the door

We are open again at our usual times (Thursdays 2-8, Fridays 4-7, Saturdays 3-5), volunteer availability permitting.

For the time being, customers are not being admitted into the shop, but will be served from a table at the door. You are encouraged to bring your own containers for bulk items which volunteers will fill for you. Please wear a face covering if you can … and bring an umbrella if it looks like rain!

We are also continuing to accept advance orders, either posted through the door or sent by email to food AT — please make sure you include a phone number with your order so that we can call you with queries and let you know when your order is ready for collection, which will be during normal opening hours.

It is actually quite useful for us to have some orders in advance, especially if they’re quite large, so that we can be working on them when there are no customers at the door. The only drawback is that we have to use paper bags for loose goods (grains etc), which is wasteful and rather fiddly. So ideally you might like to send us an advance order of your non-bulk items, and then bring your reusable containers to be filled with loose goods when you come to collect your order.


Looking forward to seeing you again!

Why aren’t we opening Fareshares as normal?

We are sorry not to be letting you back into the shop yet, but with coronavirus still as prevalent as it is there is a consensus among Fareshares volunteers that we should err on the side of caution for the moment. Our decision takes into account the lack of space and ventilation in our little shop; the need there would be for constant sanitisation of scoops, lid handles, jars, pens, calculators and weighing machines if customers were serving themselves; and the fact that Fareshares is under much less pressure to open conventionally than if it were a for-profit business.

We understand that not everyone will agree with our decision not to open in the normal way yet but we ask for your patience and co-operation anyway. It will inevitably be quite time-consuming for volunteers to serve you, and you may have to queue for a while (though we’re finding that people are often enjoying the opportunity this provides for a natter). We are doing our best to maintain our offer of good food at affordable prices in difficult circumstances, and we will review how we work as time goes on.

Eat the rainbow

If your cupboard is looking a bit bare, get yourself to Crampton Street and fill your containers with a colourful array of pulses, seeds, grains, nuts and all the other good things to be found at Fareshares.

Gorgeous grains, beautiful beans, pulchritudinous pulses, stunning seeds and so much more