For a relatively new local Portland, ME rag, the Bollard
really impressed me with their latest fall 2007 issue (warning: PDF)
centering around big organic retailer Whole Foods
. Of note here is the fairly large price disparity between locally produced products and those from Whole Food's brand 365, among others. At first glance I could think up some excuses, like the local producers charge WFoods a lot more, but through some interesting reporting we learn that the further you dig the more questions you find, and the dirtier everything seems.
Acting as bullpen cleanup for the bigger main article, a second article on the economy grocery chain Save-A-Lot
points out many great ideas that you won't see implemented at Whole Foods. I'll be honest, this one had me feeling nostalgic for the long-gone
of St. Laurent in Montreal, where recycled cardboard box-as-grocery bag was a way of life. Gave me more warm and fuzzies than anything I read about Whole Foods, that's for sure.
An older article from March 2006 in Salon covered a lot of gripes about Whole Foods
, too. If you read all three here, and the plight of the small farmer gets your blood pumping, you might find this previous post
Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal - a diatribe on our over-regulated, highly bureaucratic government with respect to the small American farmer who is just trying to get by.