Slate Magazine Looks at Whole Foods

Article Points Out Image Isn’t Everything and Then Gets It All Wrong

In one the better pieces on Whole Foods Market, Slate looks at Whole Foods phenomena and asks the question is WFM really all that wholesome?

While we wondered whether the story would be just another snaky complaint about high prices and fancy gourmet attitude, the article points out the growing discrepancy between the image of organic farms as small farms (they aren’t folks) and buying local (most of Whole Foods produce is from California and a lot from as far away as Chile, too).

Yet one wonders how the writer Field Maloney (who is also on staff of The New Yorker) comes to the strange conclusion that Wal-Mart might do more towards creating a sustainable future than Whole Foods.

“Wal-Mart,” Maloney adds while acknowledging at the same time that this possibility isn’t exactly likely, “with its simple ‘More for Less’ credo, might do far more to democratize the nation’s food supply than Whole Foods. The organic-food movement is in danger of exacerbating the growing gap between rich and poor in this country by contributing to a two-tiered national food supply, with healthy food for the rich.”

Given the likelihood that Maloney lives in New York, an area NBN knows intimately as a place strangely unforgiving to those seeking grocery values I can understand, those disagree with the supposition that Whole Foods is only for the rich.  What’s’ hard to fathom is how Wal-Mart, the world’s best example of what’s wrong with corporations disregard for social values (especially in regards to pay and benefits) could be cited as a leader for a new sustainable future except in a Saturday Night Live skit.

Furthermore the natural products movement is much more than just with Whole Foods.  Maloney only needs to travel to Brooklyn and visit the Park Slope Food Coop to see a clear reason why the opportunity to create a sustainable, more powerful future lies in the natural products movement and why although the revolution is being led by WFM, John Mackey’s warriors aren’t the only ones leading us to change.


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