Friday, March 11, 2011

Whole Foods Debate

How do we simultaneously hold and support the values of a local food economy, and what that provides for our families, and supporting a neighborhood with a diverse socio-economic background? I, personally, cannot support the notion of an "affordable" grocery store at the location of the former Hi-Lo, as (without further elaboration) it goes against the very fabric of my being in terms of food safety, and social justice in the food realm. I understand that without the corporate food-agri monster, many folks would not have access to the kind of nutritious food that they now have. And I also understand that many folks cannot afford the local foodstuffs (with the appropriate salaries and benefits to the farmers). It's expensive.

Those against Whole Foods seem to be against it as a symbol of gentrification. Many would argue gentrification began in JP in the mid-seventies when a home now worth $600,000 could be purchased for less than $50,000. Many homes that turned over during that time period have seen better days. There is a single family home for sale on Spring Park Ave for $319,000 - with a 2 car garage! A steal! But the thing is, it has been unkempt for so long, it is practically a tear-down. Whomever buys that house will have to put tens of thousands of dollars into it to keep it from returning to the earth. That'll take someone with some serious $ in the bank (or serious time and skill) to pull it off. How does that kind of neglect in an economically depressed neighborhood contribute to an eventual gentrification because folks on the lower economic scale cannot afford to purchase and fix-up a home that is that far gone?


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