Opponents of Whole Foods Ask For Boycott of JP Store

Whose Foods, an anti-gentrification group, is calling for a boycott of the JP Whole Foods Market until the grocer signs a Community Benefits Agreement.

Persons opposed to are asking for a boycott of the store until the grocer signs a Community Benefits Agreement.

The grocer has repeatedly stated that it will instead of crafting a specific agreement for JP. Those programs include "5 Percent Days" like the one this month that benefited JP's . Before opening the new store in Hyde Square, the company had given $40,000 to various JP causes, according to the store's marketing coordinator.

The call for the boycott is tied to Thanksgiving, the lead-up to which is traditionally a time of high sales volume at grocery stores. The Whose Foods? anti-gentrification group wants the store to enter a formal agreement to do these five things:

1) fund affordable housing efforts
2) fund local youth programs
3) fund local small business assistance
4) provide a living wage for all of the JP store's employees
5) publish a traffic impact study

Persons opposed to Whole Foods argue that the upscale grocer exacerbates the negative effects of gentrification in JP. For instance, they say rising property values lead to lower-income persons being forced out of the neighborhood via higher rents.

The boycott effort also has its own Facebook event page. There is a online petition at change.org.

Whole Foods' arrival in JP has been broadly welcomed. A protest on the store's opening day .


[Editor's note: Thanks to a reader, a typo and a sentence about grocery stores and Thanksgiving were fixed.]

Cliff November 23, 2011 at 08:10 PM
'xactly! When the phone don't ring, you know its me not calling.
Rich P November 23, 2011 at 11:16 PM
Seriously - that is a long overdue article and the journalistially responsible things to do. Including of course interviews with actaul real people of Hyde Square, former Hi Lo workers who are working at WFM, business owners in Hyde and Canary squares and a second chance for all the politicians to comment. In addition, some responsible journalist needs to comment on the profound economic impact of 100 jobs and all of the tax revenues that come with the WFM economic engine. Real estate, Sales and income Tax revenues that will do more for social programming than the whose rooders could ever do.
Rich P November 23, 2011 at 11:17 PM
Ya mean in addition to the enormous laugh that I personally am having? 8-]
Rich P November 23, 2011 at 11:19 PM
I agree with you Tucker!
Steve Garfield November 23, 2011 at 11:26 PM
Excellent comment Rich P. Any journalists reading this that are interested?
Rich P November 23, 2011 at 11:28 PM
I believe the # is $25,000 to Community Servings. Evil, Whole Foods, what an awful thing for them to do! I'd LOVE for the Whose Roods to get out there with a banner telling Whole Foods to take back that $25,000 from community servings, take the $ back from those desperately ill people, facing fatal illnesses so that the whose rooders can use the cash to fund their pet projects .. gee what would the projects be ... scream and yell at neighborhood meetings and get arrested then use that money to bail out their trust fund iphone toting pals, not feed people who are suffering from conditions we cannot even imagine. Because that is where the $ would go if they got the $, not to help feed people with actual real needs, but to bail out their pals who got arrested at the cool, chic protest!
Rich P November 23, 2011 at 11:33 PM
Instead of a boycott, what we really need, is for Whole foods to expand! It is already too small, The parking lot, aisles and check out lines are jammed. The store is chock full of many well priced, good value items. Several at lower prices than stop n shop I was quite surprised to see. The best part is seeing those cheerful familiar faces from Hi Lo .. loving their jobs!
Rich P November 23, 2011 at 11:37 PM
Pardon typos!
Rich P November 23, 2011 at 11:38 PM
btw, it's 2 people, boycotting ... not 5 !
Rich P November 23, 2011 at 11:40 PM
"spot on" as they say these days Gretch!
James Montgomery November 24, 2011 at 02:23 AM
Too late for a boycott. Got cinnamon sticks, super chocolatey cookies and other vittles there tonight. The place was packed at 9 p.m. Whose Foods? Our foods. Take it back to Roxbury, suckas.
Joe D. November 24, 2011 at 01:01 PM
Extortionists, dressed as community activists, looking for money to fund their unsustainable social experiments.I wonder if any of them volunteer to pay the additional tax rate on their yearly returns.
stephen Lussier November 24, 2011 at 01:40 PM
Happy Thanksgiving!! Today, is a day to be thankful for all we have.. I'm thankful; that Whole Foods is in JP and that i didn't sit in the traffic jam yesterday, on RT1- trying to get to the Whole Foods in Dedham, for my no antibiotics/hormones free turkey. The 20 Whose Foods people will go hungry unless, they find another cause. Perhaps they should take cooking lessons or audition for the NBC show the Biggest Losers ...
Steve Garfield November 24, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Does the NEW JPNC approve of the request for a Community Benefits agreement? Shouldn't they wait until all the open positions are filled at the JPNC before deciding whether to go ahead with this request?
Chris November 24, 2011 at 04:39 PM
Reading this latest story on Whose Foods, it appears Chris Helms has decided Whose Foods is a joke. But it's a funny joke and stories about them get readership. But I can't fail to notice that this article dispenses with taking Whose Foods at face value and is pretty damning and sceptical. By the way, the petition at Change.org is already up to 95 signatures. 10 of them in just the last day, 9 of those not obviously a joke name and 5 of the remaining actually listing JP as their residence. Now 95 isn't quite as many as even work at Whole Foods, let alone shop there in an hour the day before Thanksgiving, but hey, do you really want these people to go away? Isn't it kind of fun having them around?
Helen Matthews November 24, 2011 at 06:04 PM
Actually, last I checked, there were 260+ people boycotting since it launched a few days ago. Not sure why the article doesn't mention that. Just clarifying.
fp November 25, 2011 at 12:08 AM
fp I shopped at whole foods twice and was impressed at the large number of customers apparently not dissuaded by the high prices. I was unable to bring myself to buy anything as i know the far lower prices at BABY NATS AND SAVE A LOT in roslindale and MARKET BASKET in somerville. The whose fooders would do well to encourage MARKET BASKET to build a store in jp to provide food at 25 to 30 % less than STOP AND SHOP. P.S the ANGELL MEMORIAL should open their TAX FREE parking lot for hyde square shoppers.
Rebecca D. November 25, 2011 at 02:30 AM
Whose Foods - youre simply ridiculous. Move on. Find something worthwhile to spend you energy on - like doing anti-violence work in the area, volunteer to help feed the homeless, work at a food pantry. Whole Foods wont and shouldn't sign your frivolous agreement.
Chris November 25, 2011 at 02:30 AM
Helen -- You count “260+ people boycotting Whole Foods." Funny—not even 100 could be bothered to take the step Whose Foods instructed of signing the petition at Change.org. Of the 97 that have bothered to even sign the petition they were asked to sign, many say they live outside Boston (Allston, Michigan etc.). Of those leaving comments some have given reasons unrelated to the petition (how Whole Foods sources its organic foods etc.). One person signed it as John Mackey of Austin, TX. So what you mean to say is, 260+ people liked something on Facebook, many of those people don’t live near the store and most couldn’t be bothered to so much as sign a petition. But you want Chris Helms to go back to his article and say 260+ people are boycotting Whole Foods. Good luck with that. How about instead Chris Helms updates it by analyzing the results of the poll attached to this article?
Helen Matthews November 25, 2011 at 03:54 AM
Chris (not sure what your last name is, though full name use is becoming the standard here, and definitely seems like a more respectful way to communicate) -- to clarify further, the boycott appears to be primarily Bostonians, over half JPers, and a few elsewhere. It's a boycott of the entire chain, not just the JP store. There are various ways to pledge (not everyone pledges in all media, but they pledge nonetheless). Goodnight all!
Miguelito November 25, 2011 at 04:59 AM
Actually, last I checked, there were 26,000+ people not boycotting. Not sure why the article doesn't mention that either. Just clarifying.
Chris November 25, 2011 at 12:57 PM
Helen -- You write “Full name use is becoming the standard here.” Actually no. Most comments on this article alone don’t use full names. The Patch’s requirement includes just first name. Of course you could excuse “jpsmallbusinessowner,” the commenter you first replied to, for not wanting to use a full name when discussing a group that boycotts, uses public meetings as publicity stunts and calls people names. You write “Full name use… definitely seems like a more respectful way to communicate.” Ben Mauer dispelled that reasonable hope when, just to pick one gem he wrote under his full name, he described Patch comments that don’t support Whose Foods a “torrent of right wing Ayn Rand selfish-gene Tea Party do-nothing froth.” You write “To clarify further, the boycott appears to be primarily Bostonians, over half JPers, and a few elsewhere. It's a boycott of the entire chain, not just the JP store.” A national boycott of 260+ people. A national boycott and the Change.org petition’s goal is 2000 signatures. If that’s your position, how is this news? “There are various ways to pledge (not everyone pledges in all media, but they pledge nonetheless).” Actually, Whose Foods instructs each person visiting its site or Facebook to sign at Change.org. Less than 100 have, some with joke names stated reasons completely different than those of Whose Foods. Hey, how about my idea Chris Helms adds an analysis of the poll at this site?
Chris Helms (Editor) November 25, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Hi Chris, I did a quick count and on this thread there were 18 posts with full names, 19 with first names (or first name and an initial) and two aliases. Helen is right that we are trying to build a culture of using first and last names in these comments sections. It's a work in progress. Folks using aliases get a private email from me, and I give a grace period before deleting their comments.
Chris November 25, 2011 at 05:56 PM
And hi to you, Chris – I enjoy The Patch and appreciate your effort to cut down on the insults bandied about in comments earlier this year. Not sure why you felt the need to post the results, but you checked my math and found that indeed most comments on this article weren’t full name. You then repeated your policy on aliases, confirming what I wrote about that. But you realize the rat hole we're going down here: Helen didn’t even bother mentioning that the person she first replied to used an alias whereas I complied with your policy. She was just giving me a hard time.
Collier S. November 25, 2011 at 10:34 PM
I talked to two former HiLo employees who work at another WFM and they said there are still a few former employees who have applied but have not yet been hired by WFM-for any of their stores. Maybe Chris Helms and the Patch can look into this?
Maura November 26, 2011 at 03:44 AM
Collier...really? You can't be serious.
Alejandro Vermeulen November 28, 2011 at 12:17 PM
I guess ... if anybody had common sense, we would ignore these futile attempts to breathe life to a lifeless issue. If you got to the store...JP has spoken, with it's wallet and their presence in the store..always full and busy. But the most important is that people shopping reflect the varied cultures and backgrounds of our neighborhood. The store has already had a positive impact with it's donations and employed people that would have been jobless and on the dole.
Rich P November 28, 2011 at 04:18 PM
Helen ... 260 ... ok, good point of clarification. So 260 out of the 37,400 residents of JP . Although, we do not know if all 260 are from JP, do we? Bit if all 260 were from JP, then 260/37,400 = .0069% so, um, that's less, far less than 1%, can we agree on that scientific fact? That's not exactly a groundswell of support for a movement.
Rich P November 28, 2011 at 04:22 PM
Helen, As part of your boycott etc, would you demand that Whole Foods take back the donation that I believe (I could be mistaken) of $25,000 from community servings that provides nutritious meals everyday to people struggling with end of life illness and give that money to you and your group that has yet to accomplish the support of even 1% of JP's good hearted people in a fair, unbaised and scientifically conducted poll that is open to public audit & scrutiny?
Rich P November 28, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Over thanksgiving, I had a very interesting conversation with exactly the kind of kid you all think is 'behind' all of this .. a friend of a TFB from Newton. (TFB Trust Fund Baby) the TFB's friend even said her friend is 'out there'. Her friend moved to 'cool' JP from Newton a few years ago and just needs a socialist cause to fight for, it makes her feel like she is doing the right thing, over compensating for her over privileged childhood and life without care adulthood. So she 'fights the good fight' against any big company - if there is a protest, she's there, doesn't really think much beyond the day of the protest - repeats the sound bites she gets from the sheets of paper that are passed out, signs the petitions, but that's it. She doesn't do anything else of value. She doesn't volunteer to help out those in real need, she's too busy shopping in Newbury street. That IS exactly what her friend said - can you believe it? !


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