More Thoughts!

April 26, 2011 at 8:51 am 4 comments

I have a problem with turning my brain off – thoughts continually circulate and spin, and only occasionally coalesce into something worth sharing out loud. Hopefully this will be more than just a stream-of-conciousness mix of rambling and research. I loved all of the coupon tips that my friends gave me yesterday about how to get better deals at WF! It is good to know how to shop on a budget there when I try again in the future. I also am in agreement that it is sometimes worth paying more for better quality, especially when it comes to produce. I am a Boston Organics customer and definitely notice a difference in quality and taste between organic and store-bought produce, but still get sticker shock with some of the produce prices at WF. I suppose my hopes would be that fresh produce and healthy items would be made more available and accessible in all markets, not just specialty ones (mainstream grocery stores are starting to do a better job with this, but still only in certain neighborhoods.) I am still unsure of my final conclusions, but below are a few interesting links discussing WF and low-income communities, and what can and should be done to make healthy food more accessible for everyone.

JP Community Group: a coalition of people in Jamaica Plains in Boston banned together to stop WF from opening in their neighborhood, out of fear of gentrification and a driving out of small, locally owned specialty stores.

Perceptions of Healthful Eating: This article in the Journal of the American Dietetics Association is an interesting survey of perceptions of what healthy eating is, why people choose the foods they do, and what are the barriers to or factors that enable healthy eating. The study found that perceptions of what can be classified as healthy food varies by both race and income. Regardless of these factors, 45-50% of all participants responded that fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet (which is why access is an important component of helping people choose healthier foods is critical, in my opinion!) The biggest barriers to healthy eating were time and cost (which, although the coupons at WF are helpful, they only further exaccerbate the time barrier while only slightly bringing down the cost issue), while the biggest enabler was upbringing. It is also more common for higher income respondents to eat better for the sake of health, while lower income respondents are more likely to change eating habits to improve the way they look. This article further points out that most people know what foods are healthy (in a broad respect), and so the focus of interventions needs to be on access, cost, and ease of preparation rather than on education of what is and is not healthy.

Can low-income families afford whole foods?: An interesting blog post comparing the cost of eating fast food vs. whole foods, from both an economic and health perspective. This also discusses access to whole foods, and brings up the concept of the food desert.

In support of Whole Foods: I explored their website a little bit and read more about their core values, which include only offering the highest quality, organic produce and ingredients. They also have a ton of community programs, which include days where 5% of their profits go to support local NPO’s, and loans for local organic farmers to support local industry. They also have employment programs for low-income community members, and are known for being excellent to their employees.

Hope you have some time to do some reading and thinking of your own! Like I said before, I am still unsure of my own conclusions, but want to continue to be thoughtful of how healthy eating can be made a reality for all members of my community, and not just ones with access to a fancy grocery store. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this – I am sure to need some distraction from my endocrinology reading ;)

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My First Whole Foods Experience Roommate Dinner

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. EmandM  |  April 26, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I totally agree with you, I wish that all neighborhoods would have access to proper supermarkets and healthy food. It’s a terrible thing when low income neighborhoods only have cheap junk food available instead of healthy things and produce and upscale areas get to have places like Whole Foods.

    Reply
  • 2. Regina  |  April 30, 2011 at 10:58 am

    a garden, that is the cheapest organic way to get food especially for those people who dont have $. being raised below poverty level, this is how we got so much of our food. and we had to walk to our garden spot about 1/3 mile away since we didn’t have enuf space in our yard (up hill both ways j/k)

    Reply
  • 3. SNAAC Approved « homemadeadventure  |  May 14, 2011 at 8:23 am

    […] Fruits and vegetables still remain inaccessible for many people (see my post about Whole Foods and food deserts for more thoughts.) And even if they are available at grocery stores, many people are bewildered at […]

    Reply
  • […] for thoughts on organic food, a bit about my food philosophy as a vegetarian, some thoughts and more thoughts on affordability and access to food) Food, while of utmost importance is a means to health, is also […]

    Reply

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