Episode 69: Whole Foods, Race and the Englewood Food Desert

The grocer, which has built its fortunes and reputation anchoring condo developments in wealthy enclaves, has never gone into a neighborhood like this. But last year, to the disbelief of many, the company announced plans to open a store in 2016 here, in one of Chicago’s most economically depressed neighborhoods.
— Emily Badger of "The Washington Post" on Whole Foods
We wanted to know, Whole Foods, are you going to hire people with records? We had been previously told that hands-down no, they aren’t going to hire anybody with records...Whole Foods really heard our concerns as a community and they are now coming up with a program to hire people with records at that store.
— Sonya Harper, Executive Director of Grow Greater Englewood.

While the distinctions between healthy and unhealthy food products are often evident to consumers, some communities lack the resources to acquire and store nutritious items. This week, we take a look at Englewood, a formerly thriving commercial suburb of Chicago whose prosperity in the 1930's has become a modern food desert in 2015. It is a predominantly black community of approximately 60,000 faced with poverty and high crime and unemployment. The grocery chain Whole Foods sees an opportunity and plans to open a branch in 2016. We thought it pertinent to discuss this complex relationship between food, opportunity and race in our discussion this week.

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Episode 42: The Baltimore Riots

If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable
— Louis D. Brandeis
You can’t just lecture the poor that they shouldn’t riot or go to extremes. You have to make the means of legal redress available.
— Harold H. Greene
It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.
— Voltaire
Where the government fails to protect the Negro he is entitled to do it himself. He is within his rights.
— Malcolm X

Although the death of Freddie Gray happened over two months ago, on April 19th, 2015, the tragic event and the riots which followed are a result of deeper problems in human and United States history. We don't claim to have the answers to these substantial and systemic issues, but we ardently believe they are worthy of discussion, however uncomfortable or difficult that may be. This week, we welcome resident of Baltimore, Joe Walsh, to engage in this conversation in the pursuit of further understanding. As always, we hope ours are not the only voices in this discourse. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us.