Whole Foods nixes JPNC request

September 14, 2011
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Whole Foods Market said it will not agree to the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council’s request for a “fund for use by JP community groups,” in a statement emailed to the Gazette this morning.

The statement indicated that such a fund was part of an un-publicized “good neighbor agreement” that JPNC members proposed to Whole Foods at a Sept. 7 meeting with supermarket executives.

In the unsigned statement sent to the Gazette by Whole Foods spokesperson Heather McCready, Whole Foods also defended its track record as a responsible community partner “not only through our deeply rooted involvement with local programs and committees, but also through our extensive give-back programs.”

Whole Foods has “donated or promised more than $36,000 in monetary and food donations to JP community groups, schools and nonprofit organizations” since January of this year. “This is just the beginning of our efforts,” the statement says.

The statement described the request for a community fund as one that “has never been made to any other retailer joining JP,” and said that,  “Creating a fund for a specific community is not how we do business, nor have we ever found it necessary given our history of community involvement. Our outlook at this time has not changed, and we are now focusing 100 percent of our energy on opening our new store in Jamaica Plain.”

JPNC chair Andrea Howley previously told the Gazette that the council would publish the agreement that it wants Whole Foods to sign on the JPNC website, jpnc.org. The text of the agreement has not yet been posted.

Howley was not immediately available for comment for this story.