Why Whole Foods is moving to one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago? - Washington Post

This is part of the food paradox of Englewood today: People don’t have much access to fresh produce, even though it’s grown in the neighborhood. What they do have access to is chips and soda, which are cost-effective to stock on corner-store shelves, or higher-cost perishables like milk that benefit from none of the economies of scale of a large supermarket.

As a result, snacks are cheap and many staples are not. People with less money wind up paying more for their food.

Whole Foods could, in theory, bridge the disconnect between Growing Home and its own neighborhood. Since announcing plans to come to Englewood, Whole Foods has donated money to the farm — $100,000 for a new hoop house that extends the growing season to 10 months — and helped install a walk-in cooler that extends the life of the produce once it’s picked. Both of these could help Growing Home become a Whole Foods supplier, as the company and the farm hope.

I always balk at the craziness that is the food industry in the USA. Fresh locally grown produce being far more expensive that produce being shipped from another part of the world signals something inherently wrong with the system.

While I don't know if Whole Foods is the answer to a problem like this, this move is interesting. If Whole Foods can provide higher quality food (and its associated long term benefits) to a community that has traditionally believed it cannot afford anything better than fast food, it would be a good thing.

Lastly, I truly believe that the FDA should really treat the concept of nutrition and pricing of food based on the long term health benefits (or detractors) of the food. For example, while it might be cheaper to buy a McDonalds burger, in the long term you will pay more because of the health impact.