- By glens
- In Danielle's Mission Check
- Posted June 22, 2017
The Whole Foods Acquisition
In this series, Glen’s Founder, Danielle Vogel, shares her thoughts on current events, products and makers, and any and everything that impacts our mission.
Last week’s news that Amazon plans to acquire Whole Foods got me thinking about how far we are from the days when my great grandfather sold sides of beef from the back of a truck. That was long before the era of the mega market – a time when folks bought meat from a butcher, milk from a milkman and bread from a baker. They made special trips, with a consciousness of intention.
The day after I learned the Amazon/Whole Foods news, I stepped into a large, chain grocery store on the West Coast. I watched people shelf-sweep industrially produced products into over-sized carts. I saw aisle after aisle of the same processed food I could find at any similar store around the country – food with no sense of place or season, which had traveled a great distance to its stage. Next, I walked down the street, past the exact same chain stores and fast food restaurants I’d find in any American city. Three thousand miles from my home in DC, I could buy the same hoodie, throw pillow or hamburger I could find down the block from my house, and none of it came from anywhere near where it was being sold. How impersonal and uninspiring. And I say this not just as the founder of an all-local market, but as a fourth generation grocer with a genetic mandate to care deeply about the intersection of nourishment and urban neighborhoods.
It seems like the only difference between the industrial fast food that lines our streets and the processed food that fills our supermarkets is that one is served hot. The experience of walking down an aisle of stripped and manipulated wheat products is no more delightful than selecting an item off a menu that you could find in any other restaurant of the same chain anywhere in the country or the world.
Shouldn’t there be joy and pleasure in the adventure of nourishing ourselves? Shouldn’t our meals be just as much an expression of our personal values and priorities as are our politics? Where is the wonder in walking a grocery aisle in DC filled with the same commodity corn derivatives you’d find anywhere else in the country? Grocery shopping under those conditions is as devoid of excitement as shopping for fast food, because that’s exactly what it is.
Let’s care where our food comes from. Let’s take pride in our region’s bounty and the labor of the mindful food producers that surround us. Let’s notice that tomatoes grown far, far away, harvested before their time, and shipped across the country in the back of a truck are both bad for the environment and less delicious than the perfect heirlooms of summer, which grow just up the road. Let’s express ourselves through our food choices, and let’s celebrate the unique options that are available only to us, and that will never land on a shelf across the country. Let’s forage for Good Food from close by. Let’s not shop like we’re doing our best impression of the drones that deliver it.