Starting where people are

Tim Young - 02 March 2012

Tim YoungWe're in the morning discussion session of today's conference, and Julian Walker-Palin the Asda representative on the panel has been taking a bit of stick with questions from the floor. In response he made a good point, well - the views of his customers (as expressed through big surveys) are real, and they count; they can't be ignored because they're not convenient, or they don't chime with our views of how the world should be.

Starting where people are, is, in my experience the most sensible place to start in almost any situation in life. So that truism throws up two equally important questions: first if we think we need to change people's values and shift their starting place, how do we do it? But, equally important (and the point Julian was making I think), how far do we need to challenge our own activities and ways of doing things to take more people with us? 

Tim is editor of the Soil Association's Living Earth magazine, and has written on food, health and consumer issues for the last ten years.

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