Friday, March 2, 2012

Your Walgreens Experiment Could Make Food Deserts Worse

The ChicagoNow blog Dear Mr. Mayor tears to shreds Mayor Emanuel's initiatives to eliminate food deserts in poor city neighborhoods. The first target is Walgreen's:
Your corporate experiment is supposed to bring better health, jobs, and fresh food to under-served neighborhoods, but Walgreens is the real beneficiary. In addition to fresh profit from many more (city subsidized) stores, Walgreens gets the big prize: unqualified endorsement by a major market Mayor with deep ties to the Obama administration (i.e. you). Yes, you handed Walgreens an impressive public relations coup that will speed their growth in the region and other cities nationwide, and they’re getting it for free.

Walgreens and other corporations do have a role to play. The underserved of our City need, want, and deserve more services including health care facilities, a variety of retail, and more food choice. And $67B Walgreens drug empire has recognized what other chains have missed for years: food desert residents spend a disproportionate amount of their income on food and other necessities and will buy them locally if available. Is Walgreens a greedy corporation? The stock market demands they answer first to shareholders and profits, not to residents and not to good health. Food deserts are simply a new market and profit opportunity. This is a chance to stake a real estate claim in areas that are already improving, if slowly, thanks mainly to local not corporate efforts.
What do you propose for alleviating the food desert in poor inner-city neighborhoods?

1 comment:

  1. Stop the myth. Most communities are victims of their bad food choices and not food deserts.


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