Why Is Whose Foods Blaming Whole Foods for Singlehandedly Gentrifying Jamaica Plain?


Remember the good old days, when Whole Foods was, like, the counterculture grocery store? Now a group in Jamaica Plain is treating the place like Wal-Mart’s evil stepsister! The latest news, straight ahead.

Universal Hub reports that The Coalition for an Affordable and Diverse JP meets tonight at Mozart Park, first to rally, then to head en masse to the JP Neighborhood Council meeting to further discuss Whole Foods’ impending arrival.

Their site, Whose Foods, is festooned with dramatic first-person testimonials, as if Whole Foods kidnapped their puppies and used them to decorate their hot-foods bar. They say:

Whole Foods is unaffordable to many families in JP and the expansion of this upscale chain into Hyde Square will drive up real estate and commercial prices, displacing even more low‐ and moderate-income families and merchants - many of the very people who made JP the great place it is today. Hyde Square is home to families of all income levels and many cultures. Let’s keep it that way.

We poked around the site and don’t see any statistics or facts about Whole Foods’ neighborhood-wreckin’ ways to back up these claims. Sure, the sentiment makes superficial sense (Whole Foods is fancy! Fancy people shop there!) but it’s impossible to blame one grocery store for altering the fabric of an entire neighborhood. A neighborhood, which as we’ve pointed out before, has been gentrifying for years now. Why haven’t neighborhood residents protested upmarket restaurants like Ten Tables or Canary Square?

Their call to action is also a bit confounding: We stopped a highway. We stopped Kmart. We can stop Whole Foods.

But wait, isn’t the argument that Whole Foods will drive up rents and alienate lower- and middle-income families? Kmart does the same thing? We’ve never paid $12 for a sushi bento box at Kmart!

Is Whose Foods really helping their cause here?

Rally Against Whole Foods in JP Scheduled for Monday [Universal Hub]

Related: What’s Next, A Starbucks?

Why Is Whose Foods Blaming Whole Foods for Singlehandedly Gentrifying Jamaica