from my state – literally and figuratively – and other places. i'm not in florida any more, but i haven't given up the sunshine.

1.05.2006

put your money where your mouth is

when whole foods opened up in midtown atlanta it became one of THE places to be. it’s great that fresh and organic became trendy. and while whole foods is certainly not the ultimate utopian market, it is a triumphant step up from traditional chain grocers. similarly, a small market chain in portland is banking on a new trend in buying local. the result is fresher, better tasting food for customers; a boost to the local farming economy; and a helping hand for the environment. ‘new seasons market’ also stocks many of the usual suspects, but the store encourages patrons to buy local and clearly labels items that are. and they’ve taken a stand on certain products:

… the chain has stopped selling the rockstar energy drink… rockstar's chief executive is russell goldencloud weiner, who developed the company with the help of his mother and his father, michael savage, the far-right talk radio host. mr. rohter said he made the decision because he vehemently opposes mr. savage's views. "we have a few products we choose to make a stand on to help influence the direction of our community," he said.
particularly in our capitalist society, every dollar we spend is a vote. the idea of “influencing the direction of our community” is important but often overlooked. i often think about balancing the convenience of going to the closest store versus buying at the store most worthy of my hard earned cash.

is it necessarily better to buy organic and local from stores like wild oats versus encouraging large chains as they explore the profitability of social responsibility, including what they choose to stock on their shelves (a la publix greenwise products and method brand at target)?

6 Comments:

Blogger Trista said...

But Wild Oats is a chain...

We shop at a locally-owned store. Kristin and I love this store so much that even when we lived far away we drove to it and our ice cream be damned. When we bought our house we looked in the store's vicinity so we would be closer. This store has always been very responsive to it's customer's wishes and was one of the first mainstream type grocery stores to put in an organic/healthfood section. They also prioritize locally grown produce. Why do they do this? Because the people who use this store let the store management know what they want and what they expect, and the store respects that. I'm not sure a large chain like Target or whatever would respect the wishes of their customers to the point of taking risks, but it's worth a shot.

1/05/2006 04:52:00 PM

 
Blogger Kiker said...

Hm. I love the idea of shopping at a locally owned market... But there seem to be a shortage of them in Tampa. Or maybe I am just not looking in the right places.

I would much prefer to shop at a store I knew took a responsible position on social issues. However, I am glad that, when shopping at a place like Publix or Target, I am provided with some healthier/more environmentally-conscious options.

Right now, Publix gets my business because I can bike there. I love not having to use gas in order to buy groceries.

Did I say anything at all during that rambling? Hm.

1/06/2006 10:11:00 AM

 
Anonymous ramer said...

Technically speaking, Publix is a locally owned market for us in Tampa as they are based out of Lakeland. While working next to headquarters, I was able to meet many folks who work for Publix. Their benefits given to employees are absolutely amazing. They are well above Florida standards.

I think before shooting down large corporations just because of size, we need to look at the companies indivudually. Publix has opened a franchise of healthy eating called Fresh Market, and is soon to open Hispanic markets in South Florida.

I understand the support of small, local grocers. But think about this. A small grocer employees a small group. Given the types of jobs a grocery store requires, typically these individuals are paid less. If you have a company such as Publix who employees thousands of people and requires a large range of skill sets, there is more opportunity for jobs.

Now for the arguments of local meats, dairy and produce. I completely understand supporting local farmers. But of all of the groceries you purchase from a local market, how many are really locally grown?

1/06/2006 12:10:00 PM

 
Blogger betsy said...

trista - you're right! it is a chain (hm) but they do note (http://www.wildoats.com/u/community100070/) a commitment to working with local farmers. i haven't yet found a truly local store here.

my thought re: the targets of the world is that big chains are here to stay whether we like it or not. i'm ALL for supporting local businesses as much as possible but chains are a part of our economy that isn't going away anytime soon. so maybe it's worth at least encouraging them when they DO do something good.

nevermind that the reason kik can't find a local market nearby is because too many of us shop at the big stores so they can't stay in business. and of course, it's different for those of us in big cities. when chains threaten small town economies (walmart) that's not the time to support them.

1/06/2006 12:15:00 PM

 
Blogger Miss Kris said...

I try to do both. When I shop at the big stores, i buy the Method soap and the natural foods. I do most of my grocery shopping at the local co-op and Trader Joe's.

I'm for supporting both, but it's really easy for me to do where I am. Hell, I have 2 locally owned natural food markets within blocks of where I live. I also have 1 Trader Joe's and 4 big chain grocery stores within walking distance. It's nutty!

1/06/2006 01:17:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would just like to know how kiker goes grocery shopping on a bike? feeding an army of ants, are you?

1/09/2006 02:39:00 PM

 

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