Past, Present and Future of Food

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."

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212 comments

Comments

Jen says …

Fabulous article- but don't back down because of a boycott threat. It is ironic those that are suposed to be so tolerant and open minded make threats when one expresses an opionion, a right in this country, that is ulike their own. Consider if the tables were turned. I think you'll be surprised at all the new customers you'll gain (me included) for having the courage to speak up. After all, most Americans do not agree with Obama's plan which will bankerupt our country.

michele says …

I am so impressed with your editorial piece. Please continue to speak your mind. It was handled so eloquently and diplomatically and truly with a the facts. Should this proposes government run health insurance plan become a reality I suspect that business would be down anyway regardless of who favors the plan or not. Who will have the money to spend on food? The boycott will have no effect due to the fact that I suspect you will gain many more customers in their places. Health care is still available-no one is ever turned away. Prioritizing one's expenses is the key. I have always been a fan of Whole Foods but at times I feel a bit uncomfortable (i.e. if I don't bring a recyclable bag b/c I am in need of some paper or plastic bags for other reasons). I am now an even bigger fan. Keep up all of the great work Mr. Mackey!

Robert Slockbower says …

You have the right to say what you want. I have the right to not spend another dime in your stores until you resign.

Marc Emrich says …

I believe Mackey has the best of intentions and his company's solution is perfect for companies with 8 billion in annual revenue. I'll go so far as to say it probably works with any companies of a billion plus maybe even less. And quite frankly if the current bill is passed his model will still be viable. It solves the problem of the rising deductibles and increasing copays in the current insurance market for his employees and any companies of the aforesaid structure. It spreads the risk and thus brings costs into line. The bigger the pool the easier it is to spread the risk as long as you have the proper checks and balances in place. Hey wait a sec, isn't that the whole concept behind insurance? Have we strayed a bit from that model in recent years? Problem is that most self employed are in small groups of one or two. Heaven forbid they get sick, because they then become uninsurable. Not everyone works for multinational conglomerates. Most of his other suggestions are great as well. We all need to lose weight and not smoke, buy foods from his stores (Whole Paycheck), and if we have money we could choose to donate extra money towards healthcare on our 1040's to those that don't. Portablility is good I guess. Tort reform is definitely good. Repealing all government mandates would be a total disaster in my opinion but that is the only one that I did not like. His suggestions are mostly great conceptually but highly unlikely to come to fruition. In conclusion, I guess the liberals who are jumping all over Mackey are guilty of exactly what the conservatives who are jumping all over the current health bill are guilty of. They hear that he wrote an article in the nasty old WSJ entitled "The Whole Foods Alternative to Obamacare" and some of them went ballistic. As he states above, Mackey never wrote the word "Obamacare" . If more conservatives looked at the facts instead of gathering their conclusions from Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and Fox News whose sole purpose it is is to destroy this administration, then maybe there would not be such a problem with reforming the current health care situation. Call me crazy but I believe that offering a government option encourages Capitalism, not Socialism. You see the government option won't let someone who didn't reveal they had taken acne medicine in their teens go financially bankrupt by refusing to cover their cancer treatments 20 years later. Now with such a competitor in place the private insurers need to make sure they do the same or lose market share to the nasty old government. That is good old Capitalism at work. I have some of that terrible liberal blood flowing in me because I feel that the poor and ill have a right to health care just like I am crazy enough to think they have a right to education, police and fire protection and paved roads amongst other things. If that makes me a Socialist then I am proud to be a Socialist but as a Wharton MBA I still call myself a capitalist and a fiscal conservative. Go figure.

Edwina Hughes says …

Thank you Mr. Mackey, for your comments about the attempted government takeover of the healthcare industry. No government has the right to control a patient/doctor relationship. Plus, government access to your checking account to automatically withdraw money; government employees to come to your home when you are expecting/have children and tell you the proper way to raise them? No business of the government's. This will lead to the government dictating what we can and can't eat (as they are in some places already) which would no doubt benefit your Company. I shop at Whole Foods occasionally and will continue to do so. I am not a believer that Organic is any healthier than regular grown foods. This has been proven and admitted to by the Organic Foods industry. I don't buy Whole Foods for health reasons but for taste. Your steaks are great! Your desserts are wonderful! Frankly, the veggies I buy at Publix and Winn Dixie are better than yours. Someone started a comment with the word "Progressive". This word is a cover for people who are afraid to admit they are Liberal/Socialist. Hillary called herself a Progressive,not a Liberal, during the campaign. Thanks again, Edwina

Joeb says …

Kudos to Mr. Mackey on your op-ed piece on Obama's healthcare takeover attempt. I wish that other CEO's would have the courage to tell it like it is. I have not been a big Whole Foods shopper in the past, but I will be in the future.

Aline Jordan says …

I have been a regular customer since you were located on Lamar. I will no longer spend my money to further the goals of someone who obviously does not think our health care system needs to be divorced from the capitalist model. The aims of health care are to reduce the number of customers John, the aims of capitalism quite the opposite. Nurses, such as myself, understand this as well as the pain and suffering and increased costs that are caused by our lack of even the most primitive and primary health care.

Paul Walden says …

Thank you so much for your blog. I support you 100% and will continue to support Whole Foods as long as you are in charge. You are a good and decent man.

Susan says …

My husband and I live in a city that does not have a Whole Foods, but whenever we have gone to a nearby city that has one, we have made a point of including a stop at WF. We always took a cooler and brought home as many items as we could. That habit is over. The appalling comments by WF's CEO regarding health care reform in this country shocked and distressed us. We cannot support a company which lends its name, even through one person, to this kind of policy. Too bad.

Kate Shorter says …

Dear Mr. Mackey, I lived in Canada for most of my life until I was 30 years old. It was inconceivable to me that Americans pay for health care when I moved here. When in Canada I had access to whatever care I needed whenever I needed it with no long waits. My parents and entire family still reside there. My mother was diagnosed with acute Pancreatitis in 2000. She spent 10 months in the hospital. She wasn't able to eat a meal but got her nourishment through an IV. She had several trips to Intensive Care a few surgeries, round the clock care and medications that were extremely necessary and abundant. My mother is home now and for the most part well and living a good life. I was grateful the whole time she was there and I am especially grateful now. If we had lived in the US my mother would most likely be dead and we would all be broke paying for her medical bills. You have a limited and naive outlook on this matter, the insurance companies here are great at brainwashing U. S. citizens to think that other countries in the world that actually care for their people are flawed. Fear and greed motivate this opinion. I would suggest you take some personal responsibility and do some further investigation and search your conscience before you continue along this path of thinking. I believe ignorance is a dangerous thing. I am concerned about your well being, because someone with such a poor view of what's possible and such a short sightedness when it comes to the well being of his fellow man, must have an unhealthy heart no matter what he eats or how much he exercises. Sincerely, Kate Shorter Canadian and American citizen ex-Whole Foods shopper

Thomas Tumola says …

Mr. mackey, your article on health care reform was right on point. Many thanks. I have been a Whole Foods shopper for many years & will continue to be one. When are you going to run for office? We could use some intelligent, hard working people in Washington.

Harold & Jennetta Baker says …

We strongly disagree with your oped piece on Health-care. We came to the United States from England. In 2003 we returned for a Holiday. Unfortunately my wife needed medical treatment for her knee. Within 2 hours of presenting ourselves at a Hospital she received a diagnostic MRI and treatment. She walked out of the Hospital with a pair of crutches free of charge and without any medical bill for the Emergency room or the Doctor. We do not think you understand the predicament faced by millions of Americans who lack access to Health-care. The President of a Company bears a responsibility for the image of the entire Company; whether or not it is his personal opinion. We have shopped at Whole-Foods for over 20 years and spend thousands of dollars annually. We are so disappointed with your statements that we intend to purchase our organic products from alternative stores until such time as you decide to support the idea that Health-care is a universal right. Margaret Thatcher is now enjoying the benefits of the same system she attempted to dismantle.

Jim Philips says …

Cute quote from Mag Thatcher! With ideas like that, how come she didn't make it her mission to shut down Britain's National Health Service? Tell me, Mr. Mackey!

Carol Williams Kisch says …

Hi! I just read a commentary about John Mackay and the Whole Foods employee health insurance plans and so I thought I'd check out this site. I'm so glad I found it! I love Whole Foods. We went to Santa Fe and ate in an expensive restaurant, then stopped at a Whole Foods delicatessen the next day and the Whole Foods meal was the better one! Thank you, John Mackay, for bringing us Whole Foods and this website!!!!!! Carol

XactlySo says …

I've been a shopper at WF for years, but seeing a multimillion dollar owner argue against health-care reform that would benefit those less fortunate, makes me sick. It'll be a long time, if ever, before I can return to the WF in Chicago without being reminded by the affluence on display there that my purchases benefit those who can most afford health care, as well as healthy food, but seem to live by a dog-eat-dog mentality when it comes to those less fortunate than themselves. I suggest CEO of WF get their values toward the working classes who don't shop at WF more in line with their stated values to the earth before any of us return to their stores.

Samantha Evans says …

I completely support the CEO's right to express his alternative ideas. Although I have not read, in its entirety, the idea, I respect the fact that he has another idea. Especially since I do not support the Govt's option. We, the working class people, are terrified at what's going on right before our eyes. As an Accountant, I'm amazed at the costs of this. Number's make sense...the Govt plan, doesn't. :(

seamus murley says …

Our family joins the boycott of Whole foods. Mackey knows very little about health care. His is just the usual 'libertarian' (AKA corporate interests) propaganda against government. Corporations want to be free from any legal obligations to freely exploit every one of us - as consumers and as workers. They are predators in pinstrips. The U.S. is rated towards the bottom of developed countries in terms of overall health care. The citizenry of Western Europe, Canada and Australia LOVE their single payer health care systems. They look at our system with horror. For Mackey to profess an organic "Whole food" philosophy while supporting the insurance company supported far right disinformation campaign against real health reform is hypocritical to the extreme. And he'll never get it, because he never did. It's good to see who he really is; and better to see the fraud behind the "Whole Food" facade. We will now shop every alternative to Whole Foods. 15 less less customers John! Way to go!

S. Anderson says …

I've been shopping at Whole foods exclusively since contracting a systemic Candida infection 3 months ago, but have now chosen not to continue to support your company. Hearing about and now reading your CEO's disappointing comments against the Democrats' efforts to introduce a Public Option to the health reform bill has upset me greatly. A public option would help the uninsured and underinsured currently suffering with little or no health care options in this country gain access to the basic health care so many of us now lack. Mr. Mackey your lack of compassion and greed reflects badly on your company and you have lost my business completely until there is a change of Management or you express a change of heart.

J. Krupa says …

Thank You, Mr. Mackey for having the courage to speak your mind on the farce of the proposed health care reform. In the USA, this freedom to speak one's mind is very valuable and one must not be intimidated into silence. So, if the uninformed "progressives" wish to no longer support the free enterprise system, that is their perogative, because I, and thousands of others will become new customers because of your stand. I just located on the internet the nearest store and will go tomorrow! Right on!!

Maurice says …

You will not miss my large annual purchase at my favorite store,however you do not represent my view of healthcare reform..I chose not to continue shopping at your store. I will lose some supporters for my blog but I accept the risk of that action.. The Real Truth behind HealthCare Reform: http://idj4u.ws/u/7479

GRAY MANN says …

Way to go Mr. Mackey, you certainly told the truth! In Obaqma's health care, the TRUTH HURTS! Thank you for being a brave honest citizen.

Teresa says …

I shop regularly at the Bellevue WA WMF... BUT you just lost me as a customer and a stock holder, all my business will now go to PCC Natural Markets and Trader Joe's.. bye bye. I Loved your store, but love my country and the people in it first!!! ... it's America, we have choices, and you just helped me choose NOT to shop at WMF ever again!!

Kathryn Carswell says …

I'm happy that Mr. Mackey doesn't have any health problems and can afford to treat any that might occur. Health is a beautiful thing. My son was diagnosed with Autism and severe digestive disorders at 19 months - I don't know why, I ate healthy, exercised regularly during pregnancy. Just bad luck I guess. And I understand folks who have good luck and good health not wanting to "pay" for those of us who have bad luck. I used to be like that! Today when I bring my son to his pre-school class and see other moms with their children in wheelchairs, I feel very blessed. And I wouldn't mind paying extra for health care to help those moms. Funny how life changes some of us. I think we'll purchase our organic food elsewhere.

neal says …

looks like im going to start shoping at whole foods market. Smart man, he knows how much more america would be with this "health care" crap. Lets knock this BS reform down then afte that inact the FAIRTAX. that would get america going in the right direction.

RAY RADVILLAS says …

THANK YOU JOHN MACKEY I'M IN FULL SUPPORT OF YOUR HEALTH CARE POLICIES AND WILL NOW START SHOPPING AT WHOLE FOOD MARKET IN-SPITE OF THE THRONGS OF LEFT WING EXTREMISTS I WILL HAVE TO ENDURE

Steve Pyle says …

Comparing healthcare to owning a personal computer?! I can live and prosper without the computer. I have seen so many lives ruined because of our system. You speak like so many who never walk in anothers shoes. I'll have a hard time stepping your store again.

mary moran says …

Dear John Mackey, I have been a client of Whole Foods in both Boston and London for many years, but it was only after I read your article on health care that I finally appreciated your work, your inspiration, your effort and your courage. In this politically-correct sorta-free American time, it is untrendy to suggst that people should be responsible for themselves, not only through diet, keeping slim and working for their own food, shelter and health care, but it is theoretical suicide to suggest that the human spirit thrives on nothing less. Having lived in largely socialist England for many years, I have seen how people despise one another, envy anyone who gets ahead of the crowd and generally has an equally low opinion of themselves and of their ability to navigate the world without massive handouts from government. I saw that there are two kinds of freedom: 1. FREEDOM TO discover and go after your dream and your potential - which implies being self-responsible at every level; this is the freedom our Constitution advocates when it guarantees the pursuit of happiness, it does not guarantee happiness, food, shelter, health care and so on; and then there is: 2. FREEDOM FROM the work, courage and effort to take care of oneself and ones loved ones. Freedom From hunger, homelessness, disease, having to pay for your own subway rides and so on. If it werent for Americans and others like you, who advocate FREEDOM TO there would be no wealth for any government to grab and redistribute in the first place. Governments create no wealth, they can only grab it from those who do and redistribute it according to their lights, lobbies, power-hungry habits. GOOD ON YA! John Mackey and I and my friends will be shopping more than every at Whole Foods.

Pete Mitchell says …

As a member of the Whole Foods family, being an exculisve product of Whole Foods, we are proud, here at Indian Wells Brewing Company, of you and your intelligent way of presenting alternatives to this health insurance issue.

Bob Smith says …

It's going to difficult. I'm really going to miss my Whole Food's fix. Maybe the birthers, deathers, and FEMA-concentration camp enthusiasts will replace my demographic. The country these people think they're going to be taking back is permanently in the rear view mirror.

Melissa Coreman says …

Your appalling position on health care has just lost you further customers. Apparently, you only care about good health for the wealthy, like you. It's sad that someone so ruch can be so greedy and inhumane as to try to persuade people that your completely self-interested position is for the greater good. Shame on you!

Jonathan Luhmann says …

Thank you Mr. Mackey for your honesty about health care! I am a conservative that shops at your 2 stores in St. Louis and it's good to know that the CEO has some common sense even if some of his customers don't. Keep telling it like it is!

Anna F. Louise says …

I totally agree with you Mr. Mackey, as to your comments regarding the healthcare topic. I have MANY friends who also agree. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. If those who do not agree wish to shop somewhere else, so be it. They will be hard pressed to find another WHOLE FOODS! I plan to continue shopping for my family and now plan to buy gift cards for friends at Christmas in order to show my support. I am also pleased see someone in your position not afraid to speak their mind. Three cheers for you and Thank you!

John Burk says …

John, Your article offering 8 steps to improve healthcare was brilliant. Your well thoughout ideas and comments echo the thoughts of many. I carefully clipped it out of the WSJ to show to others and to remind myself of the ideas expressed in it. Thanks. Dr. J Burke

K Leap says …

**I am reposting here; I somehow posted to an earlier blog entry about a different subject** August 19th, 2009 at 4:31 pm Kudos to you, Mr. Mackey! I just read your healthcare comments online. Thank you for standing behind those beliefs. As a result, I have purchased a gift card in support of your (our) first ammendment rights and to thank you for stepping up to the plate. Oh, and for the previous posted comment lauding the British system: I spoke with a very good friend last night who is a breast surgeon in Calif. She mentioned one of her new patients–a 43 British woman with breast cancer. Seems she has an 11 month wait in Britain–wonder why the system over there doesn’t seem to be working as well for her? Peace. **Note: When I tried to post to AOL regarding my position on this topic, it "disappeared" and was never posted...

amy riley says …

Mr. mackey you as an American are entitled to voice your point of view. Do not let mean spirited closed mined individuals take that from you. I love your store there is nothing like it anywhere. Those who say they will shop elsewhere. I have this to say: Enjoy superwalmart they sell organic, and ask their employees how they like their company paid health plan. Thats if they are lucky to have one as generous as yours.

Roberta B. Rodgers says …

I cannot believe how the bleeding heart liberals who are supposed to be so compassionate are attacking this man for his ideas. If you don't believe the way they do or give them what they want they act like a bunch of tantrum throwing children. I appreciate Mr. Mackie for speaking out and if I had one of his stores near me I would certainly shop there.

Julie says …

Mr. Mackie DO NOT WITHDRAW YOUR COMMENTS or lower yourself to this intimidation you are undergoing by the so called 18,000.00 "bloggers" on FaceBook regarding your stand on the Health Care Bill. I am a Republican and feel we do need Health Care Reform but I do not go along with the President's bill. That said and what you have said should not "target" either of us. Your stand makes me want to "shop" at your store more than ever.

Charlie Stoltz says …

Mr. Mackey I agree with your position on the health care issue. I can't understand where all the doctors will come from to serve these 47 million people without health care. How do you spell r-a-t-i-o-n? I know your store has nothing to do with your opnion on health care but I intend to start shopping there. I don't know why the far left wants to hurt the employees of Whole Foods.

Linda Gualandi says …

Sir, I too admire your courage and intelligence. I'm sure that with the kind of business you are running and the amount of knowledge you have about health, you more than deserve your opinion on the health plan. I am 30 miles from the closest store, but now since hearing this silly boycott going on, I WILL BE GOING 30 MILES TO SHOP AT YOUR STORE IN NAPERVILLE ILLINOIS. YOU ARE A TRUE AMERICAN!

John D. Schulz says …

My wife has been trying to get me to stop shopping at Whole Foods. You, sir, have convinced me that she is correct. You will have one less customer because of your backward positions on health care as stated here and in the WSJ. Please enter the 21st Century, sir. John D. Schulz Bethesda, Maryland 20814 301-530-6656

Mr. David Mickel says …

Dear Mr. Mackey After reading your article in the WSJ 8/12/09, I applaud your common sense proposals. I also believe that effective health care reform need not break the bank. The eight steps outlined in your article shows a well thought out approach to problems that do not neccessarily need trillions to solve. I believe these ideas bring great credit on yourself, and the Whole Food organization. Please, consider a store in southern Delaware, I'll be first in line. Sincerly, DWM

Maria M. says …

Based on this rediculous boycott, I'm going to do all my shopping at whole Foods!!

Rachel says …

People need to actually read the positive works that John Mackey has done for his employees and also for Charity. They also need to read the HR 2300 bill before they throw there opinions around.

Rachel says …

People need to actually read the positive works that John Mackey has done for his employees and also for Charity. They also need to read the HR 3200 bill before they throw there opinions around.

Rachel says …

To all those who are boycotting Whole Foods, You need to actually read the positive works that John Mackey has done for his employees and also for Charity. They also need to read the HR 3200 bill before they throw there opinions around.

Greg says …

I shopped many times at Whole paycheck foods many times mainly because I like quality,as do most people. However I will be one of many people who find elsewhere.Whole Foods is a place meant for wealthy yuppie clientel anyways. So Mr CEO didn't expect such a reaction?The so called health sucking industry has nothing to do with anything?While diet always plays an important role in one's health,one would not argue that the fire truck should determine when and when not to send their rescue since many calls end up as fire alarms and the cast majority of fires that do happen could have been prevented.So if your infant chokes to death or has a life threatening illness,wouldn't it be fair to say he/she should not be treated if only you yuppie parents actually just watched over your children? I have made sure to spread word of mouth and many people who shop regularly at whole foods are boycotting the store and will continue to.

eric kolenk says …

Thank you Mr Mackey.My wife and I live in a location with no Whole Foods,sadly enough.When ever we go to the Chicago area we make a bee line to your stores.One point that is never made about govt. controlled healthcare is the fact that the person is taken out of the equasion.Would you want to eat govt.food,drive a govt.car or live in a govt.house.Not me! Thank you for presenting a great idea.I liked the part about the IRS tax donation,what a novel idea...

Paula Nachman says …

Don't listen to this boycott nonsense. Even if I didn't agree with you, you have a RIGHT to your own opinion. These people are the modern version of the schoolyard bully and cowards to boot. There are more people who feel like me, and WE HAVE MORE MONEY TO SPEND THAN THEY DO! Now I'm going to get in my car, drive to the other side of town (are there any plans to open a store in Chesterfield, VA?)to Glen Allen and shop at your store JUST TO SPITE THEM! Stand firm!

Damon says …

I have no illusions that Mr. Mackey will not disregard my comments. However, I think the beginning of his peace with a quote from Thatcher in regard to socialism is telling. Here we see the worst kind of name-slinging that has colored this entire debate. Instead of discussing the health care proposals in a holistic fashion-- that issues of public health, economic stability, and even social justice are involved in this debate escapes the grasp of such conservatives. Instead of a deep and considered response to a truly important issue we get a narrow myopia of capitalism vs. socialism. As if the entirety of the E.U. and Canada are the new Soviet Union because they already have the health care system that we are told to fear. Are Canadians seeking asylum by the thousands in the US, fleeing from the repressive socialism under which they suffer (though we do see senior citizens taking day-trips from the US to Canada to get medicines)? What we have here is a failure to communicate. The same reason we were given by Nixon that we could not have a public option is the same reason Mackey would dredge up now-- the Red Scare! Oh, please! The sad thing is that many still fall for it. I for one will now go to the co-op rather than Whole Foods-- the freedom of Capital, right!

Joan Hendren says …

Mr. Mackey, I respect and admire you for submitting suggestions for the future of our health care system. That is more than alot of Democrats or Republicans have done. Free speech is a right that is even more important than a Health Care Bill. Many people are trying to punish you for your views and suggestions and shut your right to free speech down. Please know that there are many, many more people who share your beliefs and, more importantly your right to say them. I will continue to shop at your wonderful stores. Thank you for all that you do for our country.

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