“All Politics is Local.”

More Co-Op controversy from our old stomping grounds.

Although we’re no longer in the neighborhood, part of us will always be attached to that wild, wacky, slightly self-important town. The food co-op there epitomizes this attitude, with more emphasis on politics and activism than customer service or a comfortable shopping experience (in our opinion). Any store that takes two years or so to decide whether or not to install and use bar-code scanners, but decides in a matter of weeks (without member input) to boycott Israeli products may, in fact, have its priorities a little out of balance.

The latest tempest in this little teapot stems from the co-op’s refusal to carry a product due to objections over the imagery on the product’s label. OK, fine, whatever, right? Except that the product is from a local (I mean in-town!) producer, a woman running her own small business, and it’s organic tomato chutney. Oh, and here’s the label:

Shocking, no? Personally, I love it; I find it nostalgic, catchy, and fun. It also reflects the retro-hipster vibe of the community. But I’m not in The Co-Op Pantheon, and I’m a white guy, so what do I know? I know that the co-op sells make-up and beauty items; glossy magazines that have more to do with style and consumption than the essence of simple living; and packages with labeling consistent with quaint colonial stereotypes.  I also know, or at least believe, that supporting locally-owned businesses run by moms who are making tasty, organic products should be a higher priority of a community food co-op than enforcing an inconsistent label-policing policy that is driven by a political agenda.


About poorlocavore

Welcome to one family's journey towards a smaller food-mile footprint on a small food budget. How do our choices affect the environment, and what influences our choices? Read on and find out what I'm learning.
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2 Responses to “All Politics is Local.”

  1. Cassie says:

    What’s the problem with the label? Objectification? Too revealing? What?

    I think it’s adorable.

    • poorlocavore says:

      I think the problem is that the co-op is so afraid of offending anyone, they tie themselves up in knots over silly stuff when they could put their energy into making the store a better place to shop (tiny aisles, scatterbrained help, etc.) They’ve let the political considerations override the mission of selling good food.

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