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.
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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:
- Fresh Start in St. Joseph, Missouri
- Fare & Square in Chester, Pennsylvania
- Village Market in North Portland, Oregon
- Fare for All Express in St. Paul, Minnesota
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 http://news.usc.edu/30521/Study-Looks-at-Expired-Foods-in-Low-income-Areas/ as is and one not appreciated by many local shoppers.—Ruth McCambridge