Michael Pollan’s Response to Whole Foods Market

By John Mackey, June 26, 2006  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by John Mackey
Last month, John Mackey, the president of Whole Foods, wrote me a letter (also published on the Whole Foods Web site), taking issue with some of the points I have made about his grocery chain-in my book "The Omnivore's Dilemma," in my column for TimesSelect and in some of my public remarks. What follows is my response to Mr. Mackey.

June 12, 2006

Dear John Mackey,

Thank you for your letter, and for the time you spent with me in Austin last month. I was delighted to have a chance to meet and to learn more about Whole Foods. Thank you, too, for the $25 gift certificate, which more than makes up for the $6 I spent on the disappointing Argentine organic asparagus. Though I know you are troubled by some of the critical things I have written and said publicly about Whole Foods, it was clear from our conversation that we agree about a great many things, including our concerns about the future direction of organic agriculture. Since you are in a position to do much to shape that future, that cheers me no end.

I want to take this opportunity to address some of the points you made in your letter, and to pose a few of the questions that it begs. I hope you will take my remarks in the spirit in which they are offered — as constructive criticism of an important institution that can do much to advance what you call the "reformation" of the American food system, something we both want.

Let me start by explaining why I did not seek to interview anyone from Whole Foods for my book, which you imply in your letter represents a journalistic lapse. (You should know I have interviewed people from the company several times in the past, particularly in connection with an April 2001 story I did for The New York Times Magazine "Naturally," for which I interviewed Margaret Wittenberg. Over the years I have also interviewed several store employees of Whole Foods and a great many of its suppliers.) For the purposes of "The Omnivore's Dilemma," I approached Whole Foods less as a journalist than a consumer, since my goal was to capture how the store represents itself and the food it sells to a typical shopper: the signs and displays, the brochures, the labels, the photographs on the walls. Admittedly, this is not a systematic way to describe a supermarket chain—it depends on the sample of stores I visited and what they happened to be selling on any given day. It could be you have stores that sell substantially more local food than the stores I observed. But the fact remains that what I observed I observed, and that is what I wrote in the book. Nothing in your letter leads me to believe my account of what you sell in my local Whole Foods or the farms it comes from is inaccurate.

I do appreciate your offer of journalistic access and "transparency," though you may be interested to know that other journalists have not found you and other Whole Foods executives to be so accessible in the past. When researching his important new book "Organic, Inc.," Sam Fromartz was turned down in his effort to arrange an interview with you. He was told (in an email from Amy Hopfensperger): "...we do not grant interviews for book requests at this time for several reasons. With the explosive growth in the organic and natural food industry and Whole Foods Market's position as the leader in this industry, we are not interested in leaking any competitive information that may benefit our competitors." I would hope this does not accurately reflect your feelings about talking to journalists, and to judge from my recent contacts with you, it does not. Transparency at every level is critical to reforming the food system.

I confess I am of two minds in deciding how to respond to the substance of your letter: whether I should attempt to cast doubt on your claims that Whole Foods wholeheartedly supports local, artisanal, and grass-based agriculture, or whether to simply applaud and encourage your inclinations in that direction. I take heart in the fact that you feel compelled to defend a commitment to these forms of agriculture, not only because I share it, but because you are in as strong a position as any individual in America today to help rebuild local food chains and build a market for pasture-based livestock farming. I don't need to tell you how important these two things are – or that the survival of local agriculture is critical to preserving farmland near America's metropolitan areas; to reducing our consumption of fossil fuel (17 percent of U.S. fossil fuel consumption goes to feeding ourselves); and to making the food system better able to withstand threats, whether from pathogens or terrorists (or both). The decentralization of the food system is not just a matter of sentiment or political correctness but of national security. Further, as we discussed, grass farming represents one of the most encouraging trends in American agriculture today, holding out great promise for improving the health of the animals, of the American land, and of the American consumer.

Yet, to be perfectly candid, I have trouble squaring some of your claims of support for local agriculture with what I see when I shop at Whole Foods. I see more signage about the importance of local produce than I see actual items of local produce. You write that 45 percent of your suppliers are local, i.e. located within 200 miles of the store – an impressive statistic, but perhaps a misleading one. Given the concentration of organic produce in a tiny handful of corporate hands (with Cal-Organic/Grimmway and Earthbound dominating the market nationally), it's not surprising that you would have a relatively high number of local suppliers among your vendors – since just two of those vendors could supply the great bulk of your produce sales. The more telling statistic would be this: As a percentage of sales (rather than of vendors), how much of the produce sold at Whole Foods is produced locally? My guess is that number is considerably lower than 45 percent, even if you count Cal-Organics and Earthbound as "local farmers" in California, a claim that strikes me (and would probably strike them) as a stretch. Leaving aside food miles, these are not the sorts of corporations most people have in mind when they talk about local agriculture.

After visiting a great many large organic farms to research my book, many of them your suppliers, it seems to me undeniable that organic agriculture has industrialized over the past few years, and that Whole Foods has played a part in that process-for good and for ill. (Sam Fromartz's "Organic Inc." demonstrates as much, as I think does "The Omnivore's Dilemma," especially in Chapter Nine.) Big supermarket chains will naturally find it easier and therefore more profitable to buy from big farms selling lots of one thing. This is the way of the world, or at least of capitalism. And as I tried to make clear in my account of the organic industry, much is gained when organic gets big; I offer the story of Earthbound Farms as a positive case in point. The water and soil in California are in far better shape because of large-scale organic farms like Earthbound, as you point out in your letter. (The statistics you cite in your letter speak eloquently to this point.) But surely we can recognize all these important gains without turning a blind eye to the costs: the sacrifice of small farmers and of some of the founding principles of organic farming (its commitment to polyculture, for example; to "whole" rather than highly processed foods; to social and economic sustainability, etc.)

We both know other executives in the organic industry who accept these trade-offs as inevitable and necessary. They call themselves realists, and believe that those of us who regret the passing of local organic agriculture and the founding values of the organic movement should just get over it – that the organic Twinkie or organic Coca Cola is good news for the environment, case closed. You obviously don't feel this way. Your letter and our conversation make clear that you care deeply about the values behind the organic movement, that much more is at stake here than pesticide residues. That's why I would rather not get into an argument about "how local are you." What I would much rather do is applaud you for carrying however much local food you carry, and to urge you to make it possible for your stores to carry much more.

As we discussed, the company's shift a few years ago from "backdoor sales" to a regional distribution system has made it more difficult, if not impossible, for small local farmers to sell directly to individual Whole Foods stores. For some farmers, this may be a boon as you suggest, but for the many Bay Area farmers I have spoken to, it has shut them out – they don't grow enough to supply a distribution center, or the centers are too far from their farms. You write that all of your stores are in fact free to buy locally, which I was surprised and delighted to hear. I hope you'll take steps to encourage them in that direction. I have interviewed dozen of organic farmers for whom selling to Whole Foods over the years has been critical to their success; for what it's worth, they feel much less welcome since you moved to the regional distribution model. Which leads me to my next question: is there anyone, at the regional level, charged with the specific mission of locally sourcing as much food as possible? And do Whole Foods buyers have the authority to pay a premium for local produce, in the same way they now routinely pay a premium for organic? Such a commitment by Whole Foods to local sourcing – not everything, but whatever and whenever possible – could go a long way toward rebuilding local food systems across America.

The issues in pastured meat and milk are similar in some ways, different in others. I was pleased to hear you speak of the importance of grass in both beef and milk production, and applaud your efforts to push the organic dairy industry to make grazing mandatory and reject the organic feedlot model. The story in beef is more complicated. I recognize the economic advantages of sourcing grass-fed beef from overseas; it is a commodity in New Zealand while still an artisanal product here. Yet Whole Foods' commitment to developing an American grass-fed meat industry would have such a profound impact, both on the environment and the welfare of the animals, that I would urge you to take a broader view of the matter. I am not, contrary to what you might think, an absolutist on local food. I recognize that there are times and cases when supporting local agriculture in other countries is the best way to go; Slow Food calls it "virtuous globalization" when the power of a global market can be used to defend an endangered local food or food culture. But that's not what's happening in the case of grass-fed beef.

To build a viable grass-fed beef industry in America would do so much for the land – not just remove the insult of chemicals and ruinous commodity crop production, but also actually restore the land to health. It would also do wonders for the health and happiness of millions of America cattle that now live in misery on feedlots, and encourage farmers to convert cropland back to grassland. I also believe that, by organizing a national supply chain based around regional differences in the season that grass-fed meat should ideally be harvested, Whole Foods could develop a 12-month national supply of fresh, high-quality domestic grass-fed meat. True, the meat would not always be local, but the local effect, as the source of it shifted from one region to another over the course of the year, would be profound. Whole Foods has the power and know-how to do things in this area no one else can do.

As you point out several times in your letter, Whole Foods' freedom of action is constrained by the desires of its consumers, who want asparagus in January, fresh berries all year long, convenience foods, etc. I appreciate that you "don't try to channel our customers into adopting any particular dietary regime." And yet your stores – with their extensive information, signage, and well-informed counter help – are clearly in the business of educating people. You are selling information and stories as well as food, which is to say, you have set yourself the mission of leading, not just following, the consumer. Any retailer can treat the consumer as a dumb beast that wants what we wants when we wants it – appealing to the narrowest conception of our self-interest. Such an approach to the consumer has done much to create the debased industrial food chain we now have - the "pile it high and sell it cheap" philosophy that ramifies up and down the food chain, degrading the land, emiserating the animals, and making us fat and sick. But as Whole Foods recognized before many others did, there is another consumer being born out there, one who takes a broader view of his interests, understands that spending more on higher-quality food is worth it on so many levels, and who treats his food purchases as a kind of vote for a better world. You have helped to create that new consumer, educating him about organics and persuading him to spend more for better food-something we will have to do if the food system is ever to be put on a truly sustainable footing.

In the same way we now need (as you pointed out in our meeting) to raise the bar again on American agriculture, we need to raise it on the American eater too, teaching him about the satisfactions (and nutritional benefits) of eating in season, from his locality, and from a food chain based on grass rather than corn. I think we agree that this is where the "reformation" now is headed; you are in a position to lead rather than to follow it there. To do so is also, I daresay, in your company's self-interest: as competitors like Wal-Mart and Safeway move into selling industrial organic food, Whole Foods can distinguish itself by moving to the next stage, doing things they can't possibly do. "Local" surely is one of those things: and your buyers already know exactly how to do it. All Wal-Mart knows is how to source industrial organic food from China.

After spending time with you and reading your letter, I've wondered if perhaps I did, as you imply in your letter, present a unfair caricature of Whole Foods in "The Omnivore's Dilemma," suggesting a store where organic, local and artisanal food is just window dressing to help sell a much more ordinary industrial product. Indeed, nothing would please me more than to conclude I owe you and the company an apology. I'm not quite there yet. But I sincerely hope you will prove my portrait of Whole Foods wrong, that the company has not thrown its lot in with the industrialization, globalization and dilution of organic agriculture, but rather stands for something better. For my own part, I stand ready to write that apology, and look forward to doing it.

I also look forward to continuing this dialog, and to following Whole Foods progress. Here's to the "reformation"!

Yours very truly,

Michael Pollan

Category: michaelpollan

 

21 Comments

Comments

Steve Gary says ...
I guess you would rather Whole Foods be like Wal-Mart. It's at least a step in the right direction. To publish a book that brings the wrong kind of attention to the Organic Movement is backwards. We already have a government that hates the environment. Thanks for your time.
07/03/2006 1:34:43 PM CDT
Jake Palmer says ...
Thank you Michael Pollan for your well-informed crical eye that makes no excuses for the organic industry. Thank you both, Pollan and Mackey, for an eloquent exchange on this rapidly growing industry. As a former WF "team member" and current un-certified organic farmer, I have watched this field grow, adapt, and conform in the market for almost a decade. Whole Foods is known by much of my Seattle home-town as being the "yuppy health-food store". That is not intended to be a dis to WF, just a testament to the consumer demographic. Seattle has numerous small organic grocery stores that are patronized by people who understand what regional distribution means for local and/or small farmers, and to the Earth who must clean up after all those semis. I worked at WF as they transitioned to that regional network; I watched unique products disappear, mass-produced pre-packaged product prices drop, worker benefits decrease, a union form and dissolve, new store construction boom, and read internal publications on independent store buy-outs. I spoke with everyone in the store (upwards of 200 people) about the changes, and encouraged everyone to try to keep WF on the right track. America and the Planet need WF, but not the typical transnational corporation it is becoming. The centralization is getting worse and the connection to consumers to employees to farmers is weakening...but I have hope. Please connect to your employees and farmers John Mackee. Request or accept anonymous letters. There is a lot going on in your big business that you must not see. You have far too much foresight and business savvy for your vision to be diluted.
07/05/2006 5:51:47 PM CDT
Nate O. says ...
John you should serioly consider writing a book about you and your thoughts about health issues and such since I think alot of people would be interested in reading it! -nate-
07/06/2006 2:05:46 PM CDT
Alanya says ...
Very insightful, both letters. As a current WF team member, i do see a lot of effort go into sourcing, selling, and promoting local (obviously not as much as i'd like, but realistically we do have to start somewhere); after reading this letter i now see the greater importance of this. I think one of Micheal Pollan's final statements hit it right on, we've already created a new paradigm for Organic, now it's time to move into Local. with the growth and support of the organic movement, big businesses like Wal-Mart are being moved by their pocket book, not a mission. we are moved by a mission and i'd love to see us move our mission strongly into supporting and developing Local producers. very inspirational, thanks to you both for being bigger than yourselves and putting it all out on the line for us, this is truly shifting corporate conciousness, i'll be here doing my part in leading the shift.
07/09/2006 4:29:21 PM CDT
Internet Resources says ...
I agree, a book on health issues would be a valuable asset to everyone.
07/11/2006 8:12:57 AM CDT
Dawn says ...
This exchange between Mr Mackey and Mr Pollan puts me in mind of a book I read long ago called "The Magic of Conflict" by Tom Crum. I am so happy to see some dialog happening. Mr Gary's comments above suggest that no one should ever criticize a good thing, as if doing so is sacreligious. I disagree. I absolutely thank Mr Pollan and Mr Mackey for having a civil discussion which may improve on a very good thing. If only such discourse could happen everyday in all the halls of power in the world. Kudos to you both. Mr Mackey, thank you for being a pioneer in the organic foods market. Thank you for helping to get so many millions of pounds of pesticides out of our water supply. Thank you for being a champion of the small and organic farmer. Please continue to be on the cutting edge, even while growing your business. Please don't forget the little guy.
07/11/2006 10:04:52 PM CDT
Gil Farmer says ...
Thank you both for being brave enough to take on the establishment. We are in a fight not only for our own health, but the health of future generations. This kind of dialogue can only mean that there is hope for us yet.
07/14/2006 5:14:06 AM CDT
Audie Alcorn says ...
This is SUCH a fantastic and important dialogue. Thanks to you both for being who you are and for expending the personal energy it takes to push against the incredible inertia that is our current, unsustainable, food-supply system. As the petroleum situation continues on its predictable path, changes in how we produce, transport, and market food will be inevitable, necessary. Whole Foods Market can, as it so often has, be the leader, be light years ahead of everyone else, be sitting with a solution already in place by the time our competitors first realize that it is even an issue. By then, we will already be working on solutions to the subsequent challenges. I think that John should offer Mr. Pollan a post within the company, to help get us there! His grasp of the issues is as keen as his fine writing ability. Again, thank you both -- not least of all for not underestimating the (at least potential) intelligence and morality of "consumers." Audie Alcorn WFM team member Denver
07/29/2006 4:19:02 AM CDT
lily says ...
Hi Dear Mr. Mackey, I am a very small organic farmer and producer of skin care products in Colorado. I need your support to be able to continue to sell to your stores. Thank you so much for your commitment to supporting small local organic farmers. Lily @ Lily Organics
08/03/2006 11:42:12 AM CDT
Deborah Taylor says ...
I shop at Whole Foods, and I'm grateful to have a grocery store that promotes organic and non-gmo food, and that values both human and animal life. I would pay a premium for local. It would be helpful if WF would label which produce is locally grown, and which is not, so I can choose accordingly.
08/22/2006 4:31:46 PM CDT
Maggie Hanus says ...
I recently attended the first local Growers & Suppliers Seminar at Whole Foods headquarters in Austin, TX and I have to say, I was very impressed. As a small local manufacturer of native plant soaps and bodycare products who was unsuccessful in getting her products into Whole Foods until now, I am living proof of the WF "Reformation". We met with the Southwest Regional buyers yesterday and they were very helpful and were very easy to work with. And my story is not unique. I personally know at least 4 other local manufacturers and growers who were also ushered in with open arms. So I think it really IS a new day at WFM. Many thanks to you John, for your original vision and your renewed commitment to that vision. I am truly honored to join your team and I look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership with Whole Foods Market.
09/15/2006 8:16:20 AM CDT
Jeff says ...
Open minded, non-judgemental discussion is what this planet needs to overcome the multitude of issues it deals with each and every day. What I see from this discussion is the start of an alliance that chooses to use compassion and respect in their efforts to understand and resolve a very complex situation. Mr. Pollan will realize that in Mr Mackey's ongoing reformation of how we as consumers understand the complex nature of our current agricultural situation, there has to be a starting point. This is a very uphill battle that we as consumers as well as markets like WFM need to continue and be very vocal and involved. One thing that I have noticed recently is that there is a growing amount of conventional produce becoming available at WFM. It has not stopped me from shopping there but it is noticeable.When you consider the stranglehold the chemical companies have over our nations farmers and consumers, you can begin to understand what Mr Mackey is going through. Not only do we need to reamin open and receptive to ALL viewpoints along this subject line, we need to participate in it's evolution if we are to win the battle of growing the sustainable network across our nation. To purchase organic products is only part of our involvement. We also need to be involved in the political aspect of stopping our government from letting these large chemical companies lobby their way into destroying organic, sustainable agriculture. Mr Mackey, my hope is that you continue to build your company on ethical purchasing and distribution as well as monitoring what our government is doing to support our growing wants and needs as organic consumers. It would be of great benefit if while you monitor our governments activities you made available, like in most Mom and Pop organic health food stores, petitions to allow your comsumers to respond to their government officials on bills related to organic labeling, sustainable agriculture and other realted topics. Keep up the good work. You have a very powerful voice in what happens in these matters.
10/17/2006 12:20:47 PM CDT
Joel says ...
Extremely insightful:)
10/23/2006 10:07:09 PM CDT
Brian D. says ...
I shop at whole foods for certain things. I try to buy as much food as possible from local family farms, but one point is still very true. When I drive 50 miles to and 50 miles from th farm for a gallon of milk, two dozen eggs and some frozen meat, I am essentially wasting 4 gallons of gas for one bag of food. I also get veggies from another farm far away, but it has a drop off site near my house. Local produce does not necesarily cut down fuel consumption; when whole foods ships in a semi of flour from wyoming, it may take 200 gallons of fuel, but there are thousands of items, so it is really very low. Capitalism in its truest form is extremely efficient, and as long as its in a good way, like organic produce, I think its a good thing!
11/05/2006 10:00:17 PM CST
Stewart says ...
As a former long-time WFM employee, I have thorougly enjoyed this exchange. The only thing missing from both sides of the discussion are the high margin's WFM must charge--30-50 percent--to make their profit. These are margins that compensate for the economic inefficiencies of a decentralized business model and support WFM, not the the vendor. In other words, the high prices at Whole Foods are largely due to ineffiicient distribution, not to the high cost of producing such foods. That is why, unfortunately, the Wal-Mart/Industrial Organic model will win in the end: Most people simply cannot afford to feed their families on the high margins of an inefficient business model. I know I can't.
11/07/2006 8:30:14 AM CST
lily says ...
Hello, I am Lily with Lily Organics inc. in Colorado, we are organic growers and handcrafters of fresh synthetic chemical free skin care. I posted a note on August 3rd asking for John Mackey's support, and I received it! Thank you so much for supporting local small growers. It is this kind of support that is going to make the organic movement happen, one small farm at a time. As a 7th generation American grower, my great, great, Grandfather was also a Captain in the American Revolution, I want to preserve Colorado farmlands for future generations as my Great Grandfather tried to do for me. I also want to let you know of the high caliber team members you have in Colorado, to mention just a couple, Deb Robertson and her entire department, at the Colorado Springs store, Erin at Cherry Creek, Christine at Highlands Ranch, and Christina at Belmar, Jim in Boulder, Autumn in Ft. Collins and Anissa in Tamarac. Oh, and not to mention Susan Oelkler and Missy in Austin!! Thank you for supporting small local growers and what a great job attracting and maintaining such a great crew!! Lily
01/14/2007 4:32:39 PM CST
Lauren says ...
Over thirty years ago, when I was in college healthy eating was considered wierd and environmental issues concerning the growing of food was limited to pesticide use. Now we realize healthy eating has more to do with healthy living and environmental farming has more to do with growth hormones, antibiotic residues, and the well being of the animals we will ultimately consume than pesticide residue concerns. Change comes slowly and the economic realities of obtaining inexpensive food have done little to promote a paradigm change in the food industries. Whole Foods considers itself a leader in this brave new world and it most certainly appears to be a leader; nevertheless, there is still and always will be room for improvement. I would be interested in knowing exacly what the goals of Whole Foods are as this new food model progresses. They are in a unique position to shape the future by changing the way people think about what they put into their bodies and the way that very product got there in the first place. Keeping one step ahead of competitors is not the best exercise in leadership although it is most certainly necessary for self-preservation. Educating the public about how it gets it's food, what is in that food, and why they should care is just the first step. Elevating the acquisition of food and those involved in its production will go a long way towards the common good. Whole foods has the economic capital to change the world when it comes to food. There has got to be a way to efficiently feed people without compromising the health of the individual and the health of the environment. Decentralization of our food supply is in everyone's best interest. Management can provide solutions based on supply chain economics. The time and expense exploring this problem would be a wise endeavor for Whole Foods to pursue and would help define itself as a true organic and healthy foods industry leader. John Mackey has a date with destiny...I hope he shows up.
03/16/2007 8:17:31 PM CDT
shoshana Frumkin says ...
Hi I'm shoshana Frumkin CNC CMT, President of On the Spot Massage LLC with a full time chair massage installation at WFM Berkeley California. Before I started farming massage practitioners I worked in natural foods. I have worked in the natural foods industry since 1975, while John Mackey was in Texas with Safer way I was part of a worker owned and run collective in Santa Cruz Californa called Community Foods. A group of us along with a handful of other natural food store owners in California spent several years working to get CCOF ( california certified organic farm ) standards established so consumers and farmer could be assured we were growing and purchasing from the same set of commitments. It was at a time when "our" way of eating was not mainstream. I was also a small scale organic farmer we now call "artisan" we sold eggs, produce and rabbit meat to locals and to the store I eventually worked at. WE were very proud to be organic farmers we felt we were restoring a sense of integrity and worth to an industry that had been looked down on for too long. I am an entrepreniur and business minded person who understands that keeping the balance between mass access and local appeal based on sustainable principles is an art and a science. It is important that consumers and suppliers speak out to help keep the ship, or fleet moving on the right course. I love the new position you have created at WFM for the North Atlantic region "forager" a staff person who's job it is to find, and help cultivate a partnership source relationship with small farmers and food artisans and you are willing to back it up with some capital if neccesary to assist the farmers gap to store followthrough. I think every region would be served to have this as a position insuring that our concerns as eaters with an ecological commitment are served and that we are doing our job as stewards for a sustainable financialy ecological outcome. We have by no meens exhausted the creative compost pile of practicle solutions we can invent for the high quality problems we are experiencing in the food chain at WFM. That said... go get a massage!
03/21/2007 4:02:49 PM CDT
Deborah Barnett says ...
We sure need more organics and stores like whole foods here in kingsport tennessee. Walmart has a few organics now in the stores but not nearly enough. Alot of their meat is full of nitrates phosphates and injected with toxic solutions. Food city has a few organics as well. I say hats off to any one to get healthy food and medicine to us all.
03/30/2007 11:26:07 AM CDT
Erica Kirchner-Dean says ...
I am an almost daily shopper of Whole Foods as I am lucky to have one nearby. I love the atmosphere (Cary, NC) the employees are helpful and friendly and I perceive it to be a great place to work as well as shop. I just finished reading Jane Goodall's book, "Harvest for Hope, A Guide to Mindful Eating"--a must read. The above discussion is wonderful and I have faith in John Mackey--so much so that I am an investor now in Whole Foods. I prefer to invest in something I believe in and I do hope that we are on the right path to being more mindful stewards of the planet and our health! Discussions like this are key, crucial, and important!!!
05/09/2007 10:30:00 AM CDT
Michael Tierra says ...
I thoroughly appreciate Michael Pollan's book Omnivore's Dilemma. I also appreciate Whole Foods. I think he is being a little extreme lumping Whole Foods together with other conventional markets. Whole Foods has done a lot to promote the appreciation and sales of high quality organic foods. While they are a teaching store and represent a movement I think a large part of their success is the extent to which they have avoided foisting their beliefs and philosophies about food on the general public. So they try to satisfy many. My reservations about Whole Foods is that whenever they establish themselves in an area the tendency is for smaller stores to go under and those are precisely the ones that are more likely to support bioregionalism.
05/21/2008 1:16:32 PM CDT