JPNC grocer vote doesn’t reflect JP

I would be interested knowing how each of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council members voted on the Whole Foods measure (“JPNC: Whole Foods not a good fit,” March 18). Counting myself very politically aware and civically conscientious, I don’t know much about this body. While I imagine the members are earnest and diligent, with all due respect I wonder how well the members reflect JP.

As a neighbor of just over 10 years, I have watched quietly as the Whole Foods controversy has unfolded. I was and continue to be thrilled at the prospect that we’d have this market in our community. I never frequented Hi-Lo Foods, but always knew they sold an array of authentic Latin American specialties and that they had loyal shoppers from all over the area. I certainly never wished the market would close and be replaced. But as I understand the story, the managers were ready to move on and it was their decision to go out of business.

I’m sensitive to the anxiety over hastening gentrification and to the Latin community losing a valuable resource, but I’m also pragmatic about change. Jamaica Plain has been a dynamic neighborhood for at least my lifetime. Into the 1960s, the greater Hyde Square area was largely populated by Irish and German families. I don’t know the makeup of the neighborhood before that, nor could I guess what it will be in 50 years from now. I hope JP will continue to be diverse, vibrant and welcoming to all.

I don’t believe Whole Foods is the boogeyman it’s been made out to be by certain of my neighbors. Whole Foods is not perfect, but it stands for quality food, some organic, which is healthier than what you find at most grocery stores. They are charitable and have a record of community support and involvement, so far as I know. I am a frequent customer, buying most of my meats, produce, cheese and other specialties there. I wouldn’t recommend it for cleaning products, paper or plastic goods. For those, I’d prefer to shop at Stop & Shop or Roche Bros., both of which continue to be readily accessible to our community.

Peter Finnegan
Jamaica Plain

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