I had the wonderful opportunity to work as a cashier at the local Whole Foods near my home this summer. The experience really shaped my way of thinking in terms of food and customer service. Whole Foods' vision for sustainability, quality customer service and to build well established relationships with local communities is inspiring.
Working as a cashier, I met a diverse group of people every day. One of the most common jokes that customers would have prepared for all the cashiers was "Whole Foods? More like Whole Check." While, it is humorous on a basic level, it confused me hearing it from routine customers. There are ways to save money at Whole Foods.
Whole Foods doesn't try to cover up their prices. They strive to get the best quality foods and products into their stores. They work with local businesses and companies to try and help the community with locally sourced foods. With that goal in mind, costs will inherently rise as quality does. So, why are people who can afford these wonderful produce and products complaining? They are living a dream many people in this country cannot.
The joke itself speaks to a much larger issue in this country and across the world: food inequality. Instead of complaining about the prices of Whole Foods, we should be holding every food cooperation to as high standards as Whole Foods does. We should be actively advocating for more urban farms, school-wide education on food and giving service to those who need quality produce.
Food inequality is a huge and complex issue we are facing in this nation. There are 29 million American's who live in "food deserts." Which is essentially a region where there is little to no access to fresh foods. Whole Foods has already made steps to reduce their prices through their new line of shops 365. There needs to be more steps to reduce food costs for those who can't afford it or for those who have no access to fresh produce at all.
With all that said, if you have the means to go to Whole Foods, go. Enjoy the variety of foods that are available at your finger tips. If you don't have this option, try your local farmers market, or even join a food co-op. Make healthy decisions for you and your family when it is feasible. Quality food should not be a privilege, it should be a human right.