Crime is normally the main conversation when bringing up Englewood, but recently the addition of Whole Foods to the community is. Three problems are facing this community in concerns with Whole Foods: poverty, unemployment and obesity. Although one problem could be seen as the cause of another, Whole Foods actually may be the solution.
The opinions of community members have been mixed about Whole Foods but the concern seems to be mostly about cost. According to city-data , Englewood’s median household income is $24,049 compared to the city of Chicago’s median income which is $43, 628. Furthermore, according to city-data, 49.5% of Englewood’s residents are below the poverty level. Whole Foods is more expensive than regular grocery stores because it sells organic food. However, herein lies both a problem for the economic problems and a solution for healthier food options. Recently, the president of Whole Foods stated that prices in this store would be a little less. According to Chicagobussiness.com, Whole Foods is the most expensive of any other store for basic needs like milk and bread. How much will Whole Foods lower their prices to ensure the residents of Englewood can afford their produce? That is what Darlene Wilson worries about as well. Wilson, a grandmother and legal guardian of a 13-year-old is retired and volunteers in her spare time.
“I can’t afford that store,” Wilson stated. “How are they going to bring in a store like that? They can say they are making it cheaper but it won’t be enough. I’ll still get my groceries at the cheap stores,” Wilson said.
However, Wilson’s daughter and mother of three, Toya, disagrees. “This is what we need,” Toya said. “If Whole Foods says they are going to lower it I want to see what it’s about. My kids need more options,” Toya stated.
Problem 2: Obesity
There are currently 9 different food markets or smaller convenience stores in Englewood, but none like the mostly organic Whole Foods. According to the Childhood Overweight Information, 48% of children are considered obese in Englewood and the community has high rates of obesity among adults as well. The survey also provided by the Childhood Overweight information showed that for 89% of caregivers, eating healthy is a matter of price.
These two problems of limited options and unhealthy eating habits could potentially be relieved if Whole Foods can accommodate the community’s needs. Additionally Whole Foods will be helping with job opportunities. According to the City Data Portal, 21.3% of Englewood’s residents are unemployed. With the success of Whole Foods could bring new businesses.
The addition of Whole Foods does pose its problems but overall it brings more opportunities to a community that needs it. Jobs will be attained which will help with poverty issues. Once people can afford Whole Foods, they can eat healthier and help the community members of Englewood lead healthier lives. Toya Wilson agrees that this could be the change that is needed. “I don’t eat healthy and I know I’m overweight,” Toya said, “If I have more options, I can give my kids more options.”
Below is where the Whole Foods will be built.
These are children at school, candy is being used to help them pay attention.
One student reacts to the talk of healthier food options.