Editorial: JPNC and Whole Foods

The Whole Foods debate has been dominated by an ideological organization that believes corporations have a higher purpose than maximizing profits, that they have community responsibilities beyond public-relations-oriented donations.

That organization is Whole Foods Market itself.

Whole Foods founder John Mackey’s interesting thoughts on this “conscious capitalism” can be read on his blog at wholefoodsmarket.com.

We expect that Whole Foods eventually will thank the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council for its input on that community responsibility, and adopt some of the council’s recommendations while rejecting the wilder ones.

The JPNC deserves kudos for taking on the thankless task of becoming the clearinghouse for community input. JP clearly needed and wanted to have a debate about gentrification, economic freedom and our vaunted diversity. The JPNC made that happen with an extensive public process on a topic too radioactive for most anyone else to touch.

The JPNC also deserves skepticism for its final step of drafting a “good neighbor agreement” in private consultation with various special interest groups. JP should see that agreement before Whole Foods does.

Finally, the JPNC deserves to be judged on the quality, not just the quantity, of its Whole Foods process and its members’ statements and tactics during it. The JPNC has ensured that the community will have its say on that as well during the council election on Sept. 24.

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