Past, Present and Future of Food

By John Mackey, March 13, 2007  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by John Mackey

As part of a recent public dialogue with Michael Pollan, I presented a slide show on the Past, Present and Future of Food. This slide show, as well as a link to a recorded version of the presentation and subsequent discussion with Pollan, are included in this blog post.

 

As an introduction to this material, I am sharing part of a monthly newsletter authored by Michael Strong, CEO and Chief Visionary for FLOW, a social entrepreneurial group I co-founded. He speaks to the events leading up to the conversation with Michael Pollan in Berkeley on February 27, 2007, as well as the greater meaning of the ongoing dialogue. Strong's article adeptly references the linkage between this current presentation and my previous blog post on Conscious Capitalism. I invite you to read it with those things in mind while I work on an expanded, written version of my presentation to be posted on my blog in the near future.

 

Per Michael Strong: "On Tuesday evening, February 27, 2007, I attended a public dialogue between Michael Pollan and John Mackey in Berkeley. It was an extraordinary event by any standard.

 

Last April, Michael Pollen's book The Omnivore's Dilemma was published and quickly became a New York Times best seller and has stayed on the list ever since. It was named one of the "10 Best Books of 2006" by the New York Times Sunday Book Review.

 

The book is a meticulous account of four meals: One from McDonald's, a second from "Industrial Organic," a.k.a. Whole Foods Market (WFM), a third from Joel Salatin's organic farm in Virginia, and the fourth one that Pollen hunted, gathered, and prepared himself. Not surprisingly, the dramatic narrative is from the "worst," at McDonald's, to the "most authentic," his own hunter-gatherer meal. In this continuum, the "industrial organic" meal from Whole Foods comes off as better than McDonald's but still relatively corrupt and impure. Pollan's book has had a substantial impact on our culture, especially on that sub-culture of people who are especially interested in food. When Pollan was in Austin for his book tour, John Mackey, Whole Foods CEO, invited him by to have a conversation about the book. John had felt that Pollan's book was not an entirely fair and accurate perspective on Whole Foods Market, and wanted to talk about the issues directly with Michael Pollan. This first conversation evolved into an exchange of letters between the two, which are available to the public in earlier submissions to this blog. Eventually Michael invited John to have a public discussion with him in Berkeley, and John agreed; thus the event on February 27.

 

To Michael's credit, he introduced John by explaining just how unusual this situation was. In general, when a journalist writes a book or article critical of a particular corporation, the corporation either ignores it or sends out a press release to counter the criticisms. For the CEO of a corporation that had been criticized in a prominent book to engage in the writer in an extended dialogue on the merits of the criticism was in itself unprecedented. For the CEO to then appear in public to discuss the criticism was even more unusual.

 

John began with a forty-five minute presentation (the entire evening, including John's presentation, may be viewed here). In it he surveyed the history of our food system, thus putting Pollan's criticisms in a historical context, and pointing out that the much criticized "industrial" food system had, in fact, been enormously successful at alleviating hunger around the world. He then explained Whole Foods Market's positive role in changing the way that people eat. His presentation went on to explain both existing and new initiatives that WFM is undertaking to make the world a better place.

 

I won't summarize John's talk here, or the subsequent conversation with Pollan, nor the Q&A session afterwards. Suffice it to say that in this history of corporate - press relationships, I am not aware of any comparable in depth exchange of views. It is fair to say that Pollan, starting off as a critic of WFM, was won over by Mackey's transparency, integrity, and sense of fair play. The Berkeley audience was similarly won over, and constantly interrupted John to applaud WFM initiatives.

 

John made it clear during the conversation that Pollan's attacks had been costly to WFM: in the time since Pollan's book came out, WFM has lost $2 billion in stock market capitalization. Although it is unlikely that Pollan's attacks are solely responsible for that drop, John did point out that Pollan's charges that WFM represented "industrial organic" led to a media "feeding frenzy" attacking and ridiculing the idea of "industrial organic," with WFM the main target. Given that current and prospective WFM customers would be the demographic most likely to have read Pollan's book and related media articles, it is likely that a book as high profile as Pollan's was did indeed have a large negative impact on WFM revenues and, consequently, stock price.

 

Given this context, John's response to Pollan was even more astonishing. He thanked Pollen for bringing to light justifiable criticisms of WFM that, in the end, led to new initiatives. And at the same time he clearly pointed out the ways in which Pollan's expectations regarding large-scale natural foods production and distribution were simply unrealistic in historical context. John calmly and appropriately brought the conversation around to a FLOW motto, borrowed from Michelangelo: "Criticize by creating."

 

One of FLOW's programs in development is "Conscious Capitalism." The goal of Conscious Capitalism is to move beyond the limited purview of "Corporate Social Responsibility," to a new perspective: One in which corporate purpose, integrity in pursuing that purpose, and transparency with respect to how an organization pursues that purpose are key, along with a deep recognition of the interdependent system of multiple stakeholders in which business functions. In a world of corporations that are purpose-driven, and which are acting out of integrity and therefore willing to be transparent regarding their practices, the reputation of corporations and respect for capitalism will improve dramatically. John provided an exemplary manifestation of Conscious Capitalism on the evening of February 27.

 

At the same time, we need to encourage Conscious Journalism, Conscious Activism, Conscious Politics, etc., all driven by purpose, integrity, and transparency, and a sensitivity to the interconnected system in which all function. For me one of the most telling moments of the evening was when Pollan expressed his surprise that his book might have cost WFM significant loss in revenues. Pollan's perspective was that he was simply practicing the art of journalism to the best of his ability. It had not occurred to him that he could cause great damage to others by means of his reporting. If he had actively believed that harming WFM was a necessary and justified action to take, then his journalism would have been conscious. His lack of awareness alone (watch the video and judge for yourself) reveals a lack of conscious action and intention on his part.

 

John's mature, relaxed perspective on Pollan's often misguided attacks are also an exemplary manifestation of the spirit of constructive dialogue. He was sincerely grateful to Pollan for helping him to develop a clearer perception of the path that WFM should take going forwards. May we all learn to become more conscious and thoughtful in all of our actions and responses, and may we all also learn to be more generous to those who fail to do so."

Category: michaelpollan, speech

 

212 Comments

Comments

Farmer "Scott" Burns says ...
I would like to commend John Mackey for his presentation in the exchange between him and michael pollan. I have been a reader of Mr. Pollan for years and, although I have been involved in farmer's markets and shop in Asheville's Earth Fare Stores, i am, by isolation, fairly ignorant of Whole Foods Markets. I found that I enjoyed and responded to Mr. Mackey's views very favorably...i really enjoy his perspecitve, his focus, and his centeredness. I found some of Mr. Pollan's comments admirable and found some frustrating. Mr. Mackey was brilliant throughout...and I have since been inspired to read more of his perspective and have so far been impressed. I plan on following Mr. Mackey as avidly as i have Mr. Pollan...just thought i would share my responses...i still probably read wendell berry more than any other writers about food than anyone...but i am interested in Mr. Mackey's background and have found his youthful searchings and adaptations to the business world extremely inspiring. thanks
03/13/2007 8:11:39 PM CDT
Michelle Fleury says ...
I watched the webcast of this session live and was thoroughly impressed by John Mackey and his content. After reading The Omnivore's Dilemma my appreciation of Whole Foods ...was... called into question. John's candor completely assuaged any concerns.
03/13/2007 11:55:39 PM CDT
Adam says ...
Hi. I came to this blog searching for some info on ultralight backpacking gear. I hear Mr. Mackey is a fan of lightweight gear. I got wrapped up in all these thread about food, capitalism, and the ethics of business. Interesting stuff! Who expects to find such debates on a corporate web-page? Whole Foods is opening a new store in my neighborhood in Dallas, so I'll be a shopper soon. In the meantime, can anybody point me to the info about ultralight gear? Thannks
03/16/2007 2:53:53 AM CDT
John Mackey says ...
To Adam, Check out the following websites for more information on ultralight hiking: http://www.backpacking.net/index.html?noframes http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/index.html Here is an excellent ultralight gear company: www.gossamergear.com
03/21/2007 6:28:05 PM CDT
Frank Campanaro says ...
Dear Whole Foods employees, customers and Mr. Mackey: It is with great honor I write these words because I know they will fall on conscious, sincere and loving ears. My father often said to me "In order to be a man, you first have to see one!" However, not to be sexist, that could easily be a mother talking to her daughter, a coach to a team member or a CEO to the rest of the business community, yet the moral ideal here is the same "Lead By Example!" Furthermore, Mr. Mackey does a great job in explaining that not only do we need to lead by example but there is also more than enough...that the key to business and life is clearly knowing that Abundance is our birth rite, yet we almost always look at what is lacking instead of what is to be thankful for and how much we can do with what we have. Unfortunately, much of our advertising, entertainment, and overall mainstream communication is about winning, being at the top, maximizing, quarterly reports, income streams; even our education is pushing MBA/JD's verses Math/Science/Engineering or R&D, etc., instead of how much we can and should give back, leave a lighter foot print on the earth, experience the joy of really sharing another's burden and helping one through it, etc. Like Mr. Mackey, I have had substantial business success and fortunately I [also] learned along the way that money was just a tool that is temporarily on loan to us while we are here; it belongs to the to the universe, just like water, air, food and everything else; it was here before we got here and it will be here when we leave, which means its not ours to keep, but too use, borrow, share, give and receive: essentially we are spiritual beings having a human experience if you will and that old adage "your problems are mine and mine yours" and "we are our brothers keeper," etc, are in full effect at all times. Whole foods does a fine job leading the industry with quality goods, service, charity, welfare, etc., and this is demonstrated in every way from its eco sustainable awareness & policies, organic or earth friendly goods and other Whole Foods "standards" we have all come to trust and appreciate, yet it also takes back any product a customer is not happy with (without fuss), offers free education, free samples of food on a regular basis, etc., etc., as well as entices many happy personnel excited to work within its stores, etc., etc., these are all sharing, moves, loving moves, etc. I am hardly qualified to reference scripture and will not make this religious but not sharing what we have with others, hoarding money, not leading by example or simply disliking another because of who they are is no different than hating your own hand, leg or finger...WE ARE ALL ONE and this is the only world we have, it behooves us to act in kind to ourselves, all others as well as the earth and its other inhabitants. When we hurt another, we also hurt ourselves, when we hurt the earth, we hurt ourselves and when others hurt, we also hurt. Honestly, I think most people actually feel this way, yet life is often complicated, brutal and very intense and hardly allows one to get passed survival. Somehow, I made it and feel compelled to help any and all people I can because others did that for me along the way...now its my turn. Whole Foods obviously adheres to this similar vibe and that is why it is so well received, because it adds to society as opposed to so many companies that take from society. My father also said "we are victims of victims," which means we are mostly what we are taught, which also means we need to start teaching ourselves and others that the meaning to life is not to maximize, stretch it out and get all one can get, but that we only need enough for our own individual/business mission and the rest is for everyone else. There has always been enough and there always will be, yet those less aware people/companies that only take instead of also give back are truly hurting our country and the world and all good things do eventually come to an end; its nature's way...she always enforces change and we have an opportunity to influence that change for better or worse and its leader's such as Mr. Mackey who are at the forefront and to that I shall close with great admiration and respect for one of the great one's! Very Sincerely and always at your service, Frank
03/27/2007 8:57:41 PM CDT
Brian Reilly says ...
If you haven't seen them, Garr Reynolds has some helpful suggestions for improving your presentation on his blog: http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2007/03/a_few_weeks_ago.html
03/30/2007 12:03:58 PM CDT
shoshana Frumkin says ...
Hi it's Shoshana Frumkin, President of On the Spot Massage LLC in Berkeley California with my second entry. I am encouraged that WFM continues to be dominating the market in natural foods, but more than that I am encouraged that an economic base is in tact that at it's source was inspired by "right liveleyhood " people ( employees, team members, shiftees as they are called in the store) that are working jobs ( 40.000 employees I believe) who are paid to be part of an intricate network to get the highest quality products to consumers. What I respect most, and emulate in my own growing business is creating a culture that is economically sustainable thats purpose is to contribute goods and services that are good for ones body, mind and spirit and that we can make money doing this together. What makes the difference in our types of businesses whether large or small is the intention to be concious, accountable and interdependant. The passion that many of have had to see huge transformation on the planet is happening and unfortunatley many who have jumped on later in the game for instance :eating organic food now understand something some of us have been saying for 30 years. We need to acknowledge how much work we have accomplished in our era as it relates to turning people on to what we saw way back even if it's getting diluted. I am personally grateful every day to be reaping the benefits of all the work it has and does take to manage and grow a thriving healthy food system. I have worked for 20 years to get chair massage into the culture so people can have a healthy refreshing break from our stresseful lives easily , affordably and in places we like to go. I know people are still starving, there is terrorism, racism, sexism ect. But at what time in history has there ever been such a concious effort to transform the planet and ouselves and have so much dialogue and willingness to make changes. I just looked at a website for concious dying and green funerals ( aging parents) I am so encouraged that so many more of us wamt to make life simpler and more authentic. I wake up with purpose and gratitude to be a part of creating a meaningful economic ecology as part of my chosen work. Rock on John M. Thanks for building a thriving organization and for your willingness to comunicate at a public level in these discussions. In service. Shoshana
03/31/2007 12:46:05 AM CDT
Jere says ...
Mr. Mackey, Its a wonder that you have truly stepped out to help mankind as you pursue so many encouraging and interesting ventures. The webcast was superb and simply re-eforced your values and what you stand to accomplish. While the company has growth massively and has put up some of the best breath taking store designs and the team member base as diverse as the product assortments inside the stores; some customers who are our pillar in sales achievements remain a huge challenge as they do not want to move with changing times and accept the fact that today's work places are a diverse lot as embraced by your well thought out culture. I see a lot of double standards from some customers who want to buy a product from Ghana but will not accept a Ghanian working in your store.They will go to every extent to complain about that person even when its a pure unethical issue. I wish the future should address some of such issues so that everybody feel welcomed and embraced by the one spirit you continue to preach and spread throughout the world especially that "The whole planet foundation" shifts into high gear. You are a genius and a true role model, wish every mankind had your heart and conviction.
04/01/2007 12:15:07 PM CDT
Onasis Palacios says ...
John, I agree with Jere's observations. I strongly feel the way your great company promotes organic integrity, is the same way it should protect its team members from abusive and racist customers by formulating consistent national, regional and store level guidelines on dealing with such issues. You are a true humanitarian and you have proved the fact that not all CEOs are after money especially after taking a $1 pay check.I also like the fact that you have aligned yourself with the great nobel prize winner to push for global battle on poverty and its pleasing that as a native of Latin America, our people were the first beneficiaries.
04/03/2007 10:40:34 AM CDT
David Schafer says ...
Dear John Mackey, I found this surprising thread through an article by Allan Nation in the April issue of the Stockman/Grassfarmer magazine. The power of the pen is great indeed! I’m amazed and sympathetic at your stock movement…perhaps it’s a good time to invest? As a former grassfed meats raiser, I’ve been aware of Whole Foods for quite some time. Our farm’s natural meats were the first local meats to be carried in Kansas City’s first Wild Oats stores, before Whole Foods appeared in the midwest. The logistics of sourcing local products for large stores like yours are nightmarish and my hat is off to you for hooking your wagon to the exemplary producers at Country Natural Beef. My purpose is to humbly offer my voice in your discussion about increasing the supply of pastured poultry in this country. I have a unique perspective and a vested interest since I now manufacture small scale poultry processing equipment. This venture was borne of the frustration of having to make our own in the dearth of affordable, small scale processing equipment. The equipment business soon eclipsed our natural meat business and here I am. You are obviously serious, committed, and in a position to bring pastured poultry to America on a large scale. I’d like to help you keep the production standards as high as possible while still supplying the scale you need. I apologize for using this forum to make this offer but it was delightful and educational to dive into this blog first-hand and learn of your interactions with Michael Pollan. Anticipating your response and eager to watch your webcast, David Schafer www.featherman.net
04/04/2007 4:41:10 PM CDT
Ali Witherspoon says ...
Cosidering the industrial farming issue and when WFM moved to using more of the larger farms and not the local farmers as much. Why don't the larger farming companies simply enter into a partnership venture with as many local farms around the nation to reduce the food miles and at the same time WFM can still recieve their price needed and the smaller farms can stay in business. Perhaps not the way they may want but if the choice is go out of business or stay in business doing the same thing with a different role I believe many would opt to stay in business.
04/09/2007 8:33:08 PM CDT
David Williams says ...
Howdy! I'm an organic farmer in southern oregon- one of many here near Ashland. I must say that I found out that Whole Foods does not buy locally grown produce- you have send huge quantities to proccesing and distruibuting centers. My nearest is in Eugene. Even though our farm generated over 300,000$ gross in one year (on 40 acres) we find it unprofitable to come over and play... we are simply NOT big enough. What does this say about the industrial mindset? How hard would it be to give individual WholeFoods stores some power to buy locally? Quoting John: "Pollan's perspective was that he was simply practicing the art of journalism to the best of his ability. It had not occurred to him that he could cause great damage to others by means of his reporting." How similarly WholeFoods itself, in practicing its own art, causes great damage to the industry of the small farmer.
04/10/2007 10:58:02 AM CDT
Eddie Eriksson says ...
Mr. Mackey, Last night I watched a pre-recorded webcast of the 2-hr Feb. 27th co-presentation by you and Michael Pollan in Berkeley. I was deeply moved by the Omnivore's Dilemma and due to the 'Big Organic' chapter had some doubts about Whole Foods' integrity and intentions although I continued shopping at the store in Sacramento. You and your presentation more than restored my faith in Whole Foods. I'm amazed frankly that you are able to perform the balancing act of maximizing shareholder value (something inculcated into me and every other MBA at business school) while delving into honorable ventures (the loans and venture capital) that may not be profitable. A true entrepreneurial spirit. But you are doing more than a balancing act here. Whole Foods has become a catalyst for a larger social movement. One where consumers learn about the value of sustainable agriculture and reconsider their views of the importance of good food in their lives. I didn't think this could happen in America due to the long standing cultural indifference to high-quality food. I am excited to see that it is possible to change this indifference via a publicly-traded company. For the past few years I myself have been looking for a more rewarding vocation in the organic farming/gardening realm. I haven't found it yet but I've taken some baby steps by starting my own backyard organic garden, making compost, and now looking into having my own egg-laying hens. I don't have a big enough yard to do it Joel Salatin style but perhaps a large outdoor cage will do. The animal welfare video has inspired me to cut way back on meat. I had already been eating about 90% organic but between the video and a Peter Singer book I'm reading, I'm cutting way back. I'm looking forward to what's next at Whole Foods. Keep up the amazing work. You are changing this country for the better! Be Well, Eddie Eriksson
04/11/2007 10:59:39 AM CDT
John Mackey says ...
To David Williams, Your post is mistaken on 3 counts: 1. All Whole Foods Markets' stores are empowered to buy local produce from local farmers and all 192 stores in our company do in fact buy local produce from local farmers. 2. We don't even have a store in Eugene, Oregon so we could hardly have refused to buy any produce from you in that market. Maybe you are confusing us with Wild Oats. We currently have 2 stores open in Oregon, both in the Portland area. Both stores also buy a significant amount of local produce. 3. Whole Foods has done more to support local farmers around the United States than any other food retailer. No other national retailer comes close to our commitment to either organic or local.
04/12/2007 6:58:03 PM CDT
Gary H says ...
Mr. Mackey, Thanks for making yourself available in this forum. I and my family and friends are enthusiastic Whole Foods customers in the eastern Massachusetts area. I was amused by the "whole paycheck" derision fomented by your mainstream competition in the last couple years, but unhappy with Whole Foods Market's response. I feel this links directly to the role of capitalism in food retailing which underlies this blog thread. It is irresponsible that (speaking from my own experience, I'm in my 50's) mainstream food sources have and continue to use price as their primary marketing strategy, giving rise to the upstream horrors written about by Schlosser and others. This is where I believe WFM "got it", differentiated itself, and prospered. In the realm of ingestibles, prioritizing price over quality is manifestly inappropriate. But my impression of Whole Foods' response to the "whole paycheck" criticism was to say "No, our prices are competitive". This just validated the premise and hurt Whole Foods Market's credibility and leadership position. The intelligent, consistent response is "We pay fair prices, and charge fair prices, for quality you can trust". I would love to see Whole Foods Market re-attack this situation.
04/13/2007 9:38:43 AM CDT
Frank Campanaro says ...
LOCAL FOOD PURCHASES/Mr. Williams 12 APR 07 I second the motion and verify the CEO's comments...as a 100% Raw Foodist for several years, and living in Michigan, where its difficult to obtain a wide variety of fresh produce, I am well aware of the need to purchase foods from out of state just as any quality grocer, however, when possible, buying local is often the best, not just for individuals but large retailers too. WFM buys a tremendous amount of local food when it is in season (in our town) and actually marks the produce as "grown in Michigan" and has for several years. Furthermore, I know of local farmers who sell their foods to WFM...they have a small, 80 acre farm...organic for 13 years, 100%. Nobody is perfect, but those who lead by example (WFM) at least stand for the solution. This is a team effort created by individual acts of sincerity and competent action. Mr. Williams, I hope you have major success in farming and thanks for being organic, even if you haven't been able to sell to a national chain...somebody must buy/love your food and may they always in great abundance. KUDOS! Very Sincerely, Frank
04/13/2007 10:01:07 PM CDT
shoshana Frumkin says ...
Hey John, Would it be worth creating another catagory of foods called "regional local " that could band together as a coop for trucking purposes ( biodiesal? ) ? the dairy industry does this. This could be the difference between getting some of the awesome goods or not in some regions of the country. The individual brand growers have their boxes in are well identified for displaying on the shelf usually or the "regional local" food could become a trade name similar to" local" , "transitional" etc. also what about creating a credit union specific to the "green " "sustainable" "regional" and organic farmer. This could be a viable way to start an impactful real alternative economy that recycles loans, grants and subsidies to "us" for a change as opposed to commercial agribussiness banks etc. Some of the projects that we Americans have launched for Faire Trade goods in other countries could also be re configured to look at areas of our own economies where populations of our people are not doing so well and could use revitalization by creating new sustainable industries. I think the solor industry could create a whole new wave of non- pollution work conditions for instance that could revitalize oppressed communities that may then be able to afford to shop at a Whole Foods or even have one in their revitalized neighborhoods. I would imagine that New Orleans must have some organic farming potential, and that investment in rebuilding green homes with solar wind and water generation could be an option. Are there projects already going on like this? I'm in the California Bay Area where I'm spoiled by access to everything I could possibly want even whene I was very low income. Is it possible that we could create a " sustainable world trade organization" with principaled practices and equitability with much more access to euntrepreniurial and small business focus that really invests in educating our young people to become intelligent savy business prople who have integrity and pride in what they do. Hmmm ... Just a few thoughts on a friday night before I EAT MY ORGANIC FAIRE TRADE 85% CHOCOLATE bar. In Service Shoshana Frumkin , President On the Spot Massage LLC
04/20/2007 9:38:33 PM CDT
Vegan Festival says ...
I think it's very important that John Mackey gets involved in open discussions like this at events in the UK. The core grass roots vegan movement that finally seems to have reached critical mass after 60 years needs that input. They are, by nature, personified by being very critical and neccesarily idealistic. This clashes with the realism of business and success. I have always argued that if you want to change the world you have to change McDonalds and Wallmart. You can't achieve this by running a vegan co-operative business that goes bancrupt within 5 years(although many have survived and proving me wrong against all odds) Fortunately we now have experienced entrepeneurs who use traditional technology and systems to deliver innovative ethical products that deliver on taste, health, ethics, green issues and availability. The closest we have to a national challenger to supermarkets is Holland & Barrett who have no real understanding of the food market and just want to sell cheap pills. The grassroot vegans are deeply critical of manufacturers who sell to supermarkets or people like wholefoods market who promise to emulate their ubiquitousness. John Mackey needs to come and eloquently explain that if they truly believe in veganism then they must be more realistic about the 99% of people who are not vegan and the level of convenience and availability needed to convert that 99%. Free range organic meat is the first small step on the long road to drastically reducing meat consumption and saving millions of animals' lives, destruction of the planet and human health. The notion that 99% of the population is going to overnight adopt veganism is not just unrealistic it is plain stupid and exposes a lack of essential omega 3 fats (from hemp and Algae)in the diet. We are working towards world Vegan domination by November 1st 2011 (1:11:11) Tony Bishop-Weston http://www.bristolveganfayre.co.uk
04/24/2007 7:35:04 AM CDT
DMM says ...
In this blog entry, other entries, interviews elsewhere, and the like, Mr. Mackey discusses a wide range of topics, often revolving around self-actualization via free markets (free markets not just of goods & services, but of ideas & information). He discusses the proper role of business & government and how those can positively or negatively impact the individual. Biz & gov. Mackey has excelled in one of these areas, so does he have plans in the other? Bluntly, will he be considering a run in 2008 or 2012?
05/04/2007 9:09:31 AM CDT
Whole Foods Employee says ...
Dear Mr. Mackey, I had the pleasure of seeing you at Berkeley for your discussion with Pollan. I am not sure if you were aware, but there were a TON of us out there cheering you and sitting with smiles on our faces as you represented the company we pour our hearts into. I left with one of my coworkers feeling re-inspired and so grateful that our company's "father" is a truly good human being as well as an amazing leader. Thank you for coming out to visit the Bay and hope to see you more often out here!
05/04/2007 12:36:44 PM CDT
Jeff says ...
John: Have been following your dialog with Pollan and thoughts on conscious capitalism closely. I have 20+ years in traditional industry, and your ideas are so refreshing. Anyway, if you haven't read it already, you might enjoy this NYTimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/business/yourmoney/06fourth.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&th&emc=th I can't believe WFM/you weren't mentioned in the article! Regards, Jeff
05/07/2007 8:45:46 AM CDT
Juan Claudio says ...
Dear Mr. John, I’m a current student right now of agriculture engineering at EARTH University in Costa Rica; I would like to know what happens after the Ecological Era??? Are the GMOs part of this Ecological Era or they are starting a new one?? I liked your presentation, but what is your vision in 30 years since now related with sustainable development and starving?? .. i will appreciate your answer. Thanks for your time Juan Claudio
05/24/2007 2:37:31 PM CDT
shoshana Frumkin says ...
Right thought Right speaking Right action oh yes and the right connections. 1.What avenues are being developed to foster future funding for small scale growers who do not fit the commercial banking system. 2. What is the esential challenge WFM deals with as the commercial culture carves away at offering "organic" and "alternative" shopping choices. 3. Is Whole Foods open to considering the benefits of value added services to accomodate the growing trend in customers one stop shopping experience? 4. What other areas of industry or commerce is a priority to influence changes for WFM? 5. Given the large purchasing capacity WFM has, are the industies that have seen the most success in affiliating with you partnering in effecting a larger economic "alternative impact? I am interested to address these kinds of issues at a public level in the hopes that the dialogue can move towards solution orientation as it pertains to the bigger picture we can effect in various industries. As a business owner in direct relatioship to WFM in the Nor Cal region I see a huge potential to upgrade and formalize specific services that at this time have been sporadic throughout the stores, and align as strategic partners with WFM. This will represent huge new pools of revenue while expanding the WFM customer base considerably. New opportunities will be created for locally qualified recruites as well as customers having aour reliable brand to shop from every store offering this service in the proposed Nor Cal region for starters. It is possible in our time to see a huge impact in the awareness of the average person to shop conciously, we just have to make it easy to do so. Here to serve your kneads! Shoshana Frumkin, President On the Spot Massage LLC California, Bay Area
05/29/2007 11:59:13 PM CDT
Gary H says ...
John, On the central topic Michael raised, that of food source: will Whole Foods Markets take the lead on this, by labelling its produce bins with source location and approximate age? This would be an enormous added value to the consumer, with a tiny cost to WF. Thanks, Gary H
05/31/2007 1:08:30 PM CDT
Bruce says ...
We have been pretty good customers of your stores over the years. We have even given out gift certificates at times and we have certainly touted your name. No more. Your corporate philosophy (which is yours personally) regarding our need as a nation to take the incentive away from the health insurance companies, so that they can be what they started out to be, health insurance companies; your philosophy, you, have sold out your core values. In Miami, Southern California, New York, Iowa, Utah, Philadelphia and Denver you are OFF our Christmas Card List and your stock will no longer appear in our portfolio. sincerely, Bruce
08/15/2009 9:47:12 AM CDT

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