A crash course in changing the world.
It's March 10th, 2020; more importantly, it's Tuesday.
Tuesday is shopping day, and like other residents of my neighbourhood I use my computer or mobile device to access the website of our neighbourhood's co-operative online grocery store. We usually wouldn't order anything through the internet - there's really no alternative to touching the vegetables to see if they're fresh and to checking the expiry dates on milk products to make sure that you don't get swindled. But this is different - this is OUR store. We created it, we paid its establishment and initial operating costs, we all manage its stocks and bargain with suppliers when it's our turn on the rotation, and we know full well it's a non-profit organization that has no interest in selling us low-quality, unhealthy or spoiled products. And besides - our neighbourhood is small. There's several hundreds of us, we know each other, and we therefore trust each other.
Browsing the weekly price charts, I take notice of products marked 'L'. These are locally grown products grown by amatuer farmers in community and rooftop gardens, guaranteed to be very fresh and full of flavor. I notice there's a harvest of lemons this week, so I order a few. This, I think, calls for a lemon pie, as I check flour prices. The price of wheat flour is high again due to the ongoing world crisis, so the website offers me several alternatives. Of these, I think chickpea flour would suit my purpose.
Trying to come up with a main dish, I notice the co-op has gotten a good deal on eggplants and tomatoes, so I order several kilograms of those, some onions and a stack of parsley, intending to cook sliced eggplants in sauce. I also see a notification that Miss Finkelstein from the third floor wants to buy half a chicken, so I answer her request, order a wh*** chicken and inform her at what time she can drop by to pick up her half.
I press the checkout button as the website informs me that I didn't purchase any wh*** beans or grains, and would I be interested in any? Thinking it would balance my weekly meals nicely, I look at the offered list, and mark a bag of flava beans. These would go well cooked with lemon, garlic and coriander, so I update my shopping list accordingly.
Since I'm expecting no guests this week and can easily fit a few more portions into my cooking pots, I inform the website that I can cook for two more people. If any of the many students living in my neighbourhood wouldn't feel like cooking for themselves, they'll be able to share the costs of my groceries and in return pick up prepared meals later that day. I press the checkout button one last time. Delivery time is set for 3PM - just early enough for me to whip up a quick meal by the time my wife gets home for work.
All this is done in a manner of minutes by me and my neighbours at a time frame of several hours. Using a decade-old social network technology we are able to form a true partnership and enjoy collective bargaining power that promises us fair prices, good quality, and access to locally grown produce. A few hours after the hired delivery truck comes to our neighbourhood from the co-op's warehouse at the industrial district, filled with crates packed by this week's volunteer workers, the smell of cooking, frying and baking overflowing from the kitchen windows and filling every street and alley of our neighbourhood will be our justly-earned reward.