Please, Reporters: No More Stories on “Nation’s First Nonprofit Grocery Store”

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May 22, 2015; Boston Globe

This article in the Boston Globe starts with the line, “Daily Table bills itself as the first not-for-profit grocery store in the country with a mission to provide nutritious and affordable meals for low-income families.” This is maybe the fifth time we have seen the first nonprofit grocery store in the country open up, and it is beginning to get a little silly.

If either its founder or the reporter took the time to fire up their favorite search engine, they’d find that Daily Table has plenty of competition for the claim:

It worries us when we see such sloppy stuff come from reporters or from the nonprofits involved because it implies that the homework hasn’t been done when it comes researching the field in a way such an endeavor requires. A little investigation of the context would reveal a long history of nonprofit groceries, including more than a half-century of active food co-ops and even quite a little track record for nonprofit groceries with the specific mission of serving poor neighborhoods and food deserts.

The grocery effort in question here, which was started by the former president of Trader Joe’s, is one we have previously covered. It offers low prices by sourcing “surplus foods or goods nearing their sell-by dates from farmers, supermarkets, manufacturers, and food distributors who would rather donate or sell their products at steep discounts than toss them in the trash.” I’ve written about the controversial elements of this before; I lived in the community this one is to be sited in, and the sale of food that’s close to or past its expiration date in low-income communities like this one where there is less of a shopping choice is a unfortunately a practice of some grocery stores as is and one not appreciated by many local shoppers.—Ruth McCambridge


  • Jayne Cravens

    When reporters contact me for an interview about virtual volunteering, I tell them I’m happy to AFTER they thorougly read my list of myths about virtual volunteering and my list of what online volunteers do. I am so tired of reading about the “new” practice of virtual volunteering or digital volunteering or online microvolunteering or whatever we’re calling it today – it’s a practice that’s more than 35 years old, and any search on Google or Bing will tell you that. I’m also tired of being asked for a list of all the organizations engaged in virtual volunteering – I’ll provide that when I can have a list of all the restaurants in the USA selling hamburgers.

    Journalists are bad about not doing research, but so are various corporate folks that partner with nonprofits to start various initiatives that, often, are duplicating existing services.