Join the fight against Whole Foods

March 4, 2011
By

We are a group of JP residents and natives working together for a diverse and affordable JP. We are young and old; homeowners and renters; gay and straight; Latino, Black, White and Asian; from all socioeconomic backgrounds. What we have in common is a deep investment in our community and a sense of personal responsibility for its future.

Together, we’re working to stop Whole Foods from coming to JP. We’re committed to working with community and city leaders to identify a locally owned business that services low- and moderate-income families in place of the former Hi-Lo. We ask you to join us, no matter how long you’ve lived here, your cultural background, or your income. This is about the entire community, not just one segment.

We’re not against Whole Foods or anyone who shops there, but we are against a Whole Foods in JP. Hyde Square is one of JP’s most economically and culturally diverse neighborhoods and the former Hi-Lo is one of our biggest commercial spaces.

Whole Foods is unaffordable to many families, including many regular Hi-Lo shoppers. But this is not just about food or a supermarket closing.

A high volume of traffic to an upscale supermarket in Hyde Square will lead to increased real estate and commercial prices. As the cost of living and owning a business in JP increases, more low- and moderate-income families and merchants will be forced to move elsewhere—many of the same people that made JP the great neighborhood it is today.

Census data show a sobering reality: JP is becoming less affordable, our cultural and economic diversity is decreasing, and homeownership is increasingly unaffordable for even moderate-income residents. For many of us—longtime and newer residents—this change does not fit our vision of the JP we love. But, even in the face of this displacement, JP remains one of the most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods in Boston, thanks to the dedication of thousands of residents who have actively supported the community.

The news that Whole Foods has plans to move to JP is what brought us together, but it is neither the beginning nor the end of the effort to keep this community intact. JP has a long history of people working together to strengthen the community.

This community stopped I-95 and created the Southwest Corridor Park. It stopped Kmart. Whole Foods has signed a lease, but if we remember our history, we know that both of these projects were significantly under way when the community came together to stop them. With enough community pressure, Whole Foods can choose to back out of its agreement, paving the way for a more suitable alternative.

For everyone that loves JP for its diversity, for being a welcoming place for all families, for its support of locally owned business—this is about us. We envision a JP that stays diverse and affordable for future generations. We want to work together with you to make this vision a reality. Visit whosefoods.org to learn more.

Betsaida Gutierrez, Jen Kiok, Mary Ann Kopydlowski , Edwin Melenciano, Rosa Nin, Norma Rey-Alicea, Adrian Rivera, Maura Russell and Rosalba Solis
Whose Foods/Whose Community Coalition for an Affordable & Diverse JP
Jamaica Plain