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Whole Foods just trying to make the green people happy?

Whole Foods just trying to make the green people happy?

“They just doing it to make all the green people happy,” the New York Times reported fisherman Mr. Sanfilippo as saying. He’s referring to Whole Foods’s decision to only sell fish it considers sustainable:

Starting Sunday, gray sole and skate, common catches in the region, will no longer appear in the grocery chain’s artfully arranged fish cases. Atlantic cod, a New England staple, will be sold only if it is not caught by trawlers, which drag nets across the ocean floor, a much-used method here.

Whole Foods has already put the kibosh on orange roughy, shark, bluefin tuna, and some types of marlin. This latest change will add to the list gray sole and skate, with some restrictions on Atlantic cod as well.

As with “organic,” the term “sustainable” is one of those vague marketing terms without a clear legal definition.

American fisherman who rely on the revenue to make a living are not happy, but the real question is, why is Whole Foods doing it? Is it simply a marketing ploy to placate their “green” customers and maintain their earth-friendly brand, or do they truly “believe” it?

And, how long will customers put up with grocery stores hurting domestic industry in the interest of ever-changing environmental philosophies?


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I love the left’s creation words without meaning that they can then use as a club to use against people/groups they want to deamonize.

I can’t blame Whole Foods – they are just pandering to people who are stupid enough to pay twice as much for produce that has the word ORGANIC in front of it. It’s capitalism. WF has to sell down to its customers, no matter how big a bunch of suckers.

    Browndog in reply to Jim. | April 25, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I love the left’s creation words without meaning that they can then use as a club to use against people/groups they want to deamonize.

    Ah, but those words do have meaning. A very important meaning, just not to you. Just not yet.

    I bet 2-3 years ago you thought “social justice” was a term without meaning.


    Listen carefully to how many times you hear Obama and his progressive minions use the useless word “sustainable” between now and the election.

    It has meaning. Like with social justice, and everything else marxist, they’re sure as hell not going to tell you what it means–not upfront..

    Until it’s too late.

      With the greatest respect, I disagree, though I think the end result of our arguments is the same. These words become whatever the left wants them to mean, i.e., whatever will allow them to isolate and polarize their opponents in the endless quest for centralized power.

      Social justice has no meaning outside of what the left says it means and that tends to be an ever shifting definition.

      To me, social justice is neither. It’s just endless concentration camps.

        Browndog in reply to Jim. | April 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm

        I agree with that point. We’re all too familiar with “liberals word games”.

        I’m just trying to point out that these words do mean something to them, and it would be prudent to understand what they mean (to them).

          OcTEApi in reply to Browndog. | April 26, 2012 at 7:21 am

          You are both wrong, social justice is not marxist.

          Social Justice is gleaned from Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, which is essentially just support of various forms of regular justice but as it pertains to social concerns.
          Basic Principles Behind Social Doctrine

          These teachings have been published in various Papal encyclicals, I believe since the @ 1890’s

          In Genesis chapter 1 27-31 God gave man dominion over all the critters, with this comes personal and corporate responsibility… I would imagine this is where they glean Sustainability.
          Whole Foods has the freedom to enact policy that reflects their corporate virtue, however misplaced the notion of an “Aquapocalypse” may be … LINK ~ PDF ~ Apocalypse forestalled: Why all the world’s fisheries aren’t collapsing .
          The fisherman have good reason to be pissed off here
          and here as private ownership and wealth and human dignity and freedom are central principles of Catholic social thought… they have a right to family, right to earn a living and fruits of their labor through centuries old fishing traditions.
          Heavy handed government regulation is also violation of Catholic Social Teaching

          OcTEApi in reply to Browndog. | April 26, 2012 at 7:28 am

          The socialists and marxists want to glean from Catholic social teachings only what supports their agenda.

          Social Justice and Sustainability (to liberals) is a just a community organizing tool.
          The Alinsky Tactics – Rule by Rule – Part 4 – Rule 4

          “The fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

    janitor in reply to Jim. | April 25, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Whole Foods is a private company. This is the essence of free capitalism. It is entitled to cater to its market and make decisions accordingly.

From the “what feeding the alligator gets you” files…

(Note what the plan was for the “occupied” land…heh!)

Plus, the fisherman will still find a market for their catch…and Whole Foods hippies will fill their bellies with the warm glow of self-righteousness.


    The nearest Whole Foods is 40+ miles from us hicks in the central MA sticks. The shoppers look like middle-middle- to upper-middle-class lefties who wear their moral superiority ostentatiously.

    The store has an upscale and hippie ambience simultaneously, if you know what I mean. No trustfundless hippies could afford to shop there, which presumably suits the store and the customers just fine.

      Ragspierre in reply to gs. | April 25, 2012 at 11:43 am

      Likely more than a few tenured professors of “Critical ______ Theory” shop there, too.

      All good, as far as I’m concerned. It is a brilliant demonstration of how markets fill the narrowest niches of demand, which I just love to see.

      If there are American or whoever farmers or ranchers making a nice profit from what they sell to the Whole Foods (I shop at Half Foods, personally) clientele, so much the better.

    Cheerful in Marin in reply to Ragspierre. | April 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    LOL – I know exactly where the occupy farm location is -the area is decidedly middle class and not a cheap place to live. Pity (not) UC as they continue to wear their leftist mask while attempting to play in the private marketplace. This “dilemma” reminds me of the UC Berkeley stadium expansion stalled by tree occupiers a few years ago. Anyone remember Julia Butterfly or whatever her name was? Oh those nasty nasty Cal football $$ boosters!!

      Ragspierre in reply to Cheerful in Marin. | April 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      LOVED the pic with the cute lil’ anarchist/farmers in their black hoodies and black bandanas.

      If they’d expend the same energy over a period of time, they could buy property. But NOOOOOOOoooooo… They want it now, and they will take it.

        Cheerful in Marin in reply to Ragspierre. | April 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm

        Narcissism at its ironic worst! A good friend of mine (conservative) lives in this neighborhood and says most of the people here are completely brainwashed and rigid in their leftist POV. She keeps her conservatism under wraps for survival’s sake. Buckle up for the chaos planned nationwide for May 1. Out here, they are targeting to close the Golden Gate Bridge.

        johnnycab23513 in reply to Ragspierre. | April 25, 2012 at 2:34 pm

        Take = steal.

theduchessofkitty | April 25, 2012 at 10:48 am

The only “sustainable” I will ever consider is how any meat will sustain my belly.

If the “greenies” (actually “greedies”) want “sustainable”, they can go and catch their own… Wait… They don’t know how to fish!

In Tucson recently I stopped into a Whole Foods market (I had to pee and it was the only thing open). I was amazed at the prices. Sticking it to granolafied yuppies is a money making business.

The one that really struck me was organic butter. Organic butter? Like that will not clog your arteries? I guess this is the opposite of inorganic butter which, I assume, is made from polyester or some other inorganic substance.

Hmm,well personally I’m not against conservation. ‘Sustainable’ to means a renewable and healthy fish population combined with a harvesting method that doesn’t damage the area from which it is employed.

Trawling AFAIK doesn’t quite meet this definition and has caused fisheries being closed so recovery can start. Seems to me a better way to fish might be more productive. Then again maybe the demand just over whelms the actual natural supply… enter the fish farm.

AS far as whole foods decision goes… if its market worthy it will help them out and might add to the environment ( this part is fuzzy since it isn’t clear exactly what is being objected to) for all of us.


NC Mountain Girl | April 25, 2012 at 11:04 am

On the rare occasion when I must venture into a Whole Foods or an Earth Fare store to snag some ingredient called for in a recipe I break out in hives. It seems I have an acute allergy to self absorbed people with more money than brains.

I don’t shop at Whole Foods anyway, since their clientele is largely composed of types of people I avoid associating with. (Someone needs to tell them that ‘all natural’ deodorant doesn’t work as well as they think it does.)

So I’ll continue to enjoy the delicious, unsustainable offerings from Stop & Shop, Shaw’s and other markets.

As for the cod and how it’s caught…I don’t care if they drop depth charges and then scoop the dead bodies off the surface of the ocean, as long as it gets the fish to my plate.

Whole Foods is at least helping to clarify a point: the Watermelons’ definition of “sustainable” foods does not necessarily mean increasing access to healthy foods, including to lower and moderate income consumers (which is supposedly one of their “social justice” goals).

In theory, trawling for fish would not, in any way, reduce its quality, freshness, naturalness, etc. – it’s just one (efficient) method for catching “wild” fish. As long as the fish is delivered promptly to market and is not treated with chemicals, it would be as healthy (and “natural”) as the Whole Foods approved fish. In contrast, fish that is farmed (not natural) might not be as high quality, healthy.

Thus, sustainable fishing = methods that reduce yield efficiencies without necessarily improving quality. Therefore, the point is to make the fish more expensive, less accessible to non-wealthy consumers, so that more fish will remain in the ocean (i.e., “sustaining ” higher fish populations in the ocean, whether the fish species is even remotely endangered or not).

In other words, the Watermelons are saying, about the poor obese victims of Reich Wing capitalistic greed: Let them eat cake (as in food-stamp-purchased Twinkies, Ho Hos, McDonalds cherry pies, etc.).

Joan Of Argghh | April 25, 2012 at 11:29 am

I complained to the local WF management about their limited selection of Leftist reading materials in the checkout lane. I told them it was suicide to train their customers to hate capitalism, and that I could no longer support stupidity with my money. (I only shopped there for b’fast since it was near my workplace.)

I never went back.

Whole Foods and it’s existence is a monument to the idiocy of the Communists. I’ve got a shocker for them: we are all organic. Everything on this God’s earth is organic, even the chemicals we use to fertilize with.

Another shocker: WF seems to have forgotten that they are merchants, which means they are in the business of selling stuff to the public. They are not clergy in the business of preaching to us. So, shut up and sell, WF, a whole range of fish and not what you self-righteously think we ought to eat.

    A true capitalist makes money by providing a service or product a Customer wants. That’s exactly what WF is doing here. They can sell and preach because that’s what they DO and thats what their customer wants and needs. Their customers feel their life is better because of products/services WF provides.

    You ( judging by your rhetoric) are not and therefore are not a likely customer. See — Capitalism! It works, the enterprise is self-selecting or it dies.

      janitor in reply to Steve. | April 25, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      Absolutely. Anyone who doesn’t like WF products is free to just shop elsewhere. I find their stores attractive and pleasant. I like that they support the local farmers and small businesses. They also sell some interesting and different things. They are free to sell whatever products they want to based on whatever philosophies they want to base their decisions on, and at whatever prices the market will bear.

    Milhouse in reply to Juba Doobai!. | April 26, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Not everything we eat is organic; water and salt are the two exceptions. And not all fertilizers are organic either, though most are. But your point is perfectly true, and one I am constantly making too. On the other hand, “organic” produce and products tend to taste better.

I guess I see it a tad differently.

The Professor asks, American fisherman who rely on the revenue to make a living are not happy, but the real question is, why is Whole Foods doing it?

Well, what if it’s as simple as a matter of conscience?

As a private business, they have every right to incorporate “good conscience” into their business model. Many businesses do.

However, the Professor touched on a very, very important concept that we all will become more intimately familiar with if Obama wins re-election:


Imagine a world, where the government tells that you can no longer buy or sell roughy, shark, bluefin tuna, and some types of marlin, because that food source is no longer sustainable.

Imagine a world where every consumable good must be deemed “sustainable” by the government to be bought or sold.

Imagine….just imagine…if the government told you that where you live is unsustainable…

and forced you into “Sustainable communities”…otherwise known as:

Agenda 21

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | April 25, 2012 at 11:47 am

No biggie. Consumers ultimately decide whether they want to buy what Whole Foods is selling.

If Whole Foods tries to substitute other varieties of fish for Atlantic cod and skate, but consumers REALLY want Atlantic cod and skate, then consumers will find someone else to satisfy their demand. Whole Foods will incur what economists call an “opportunity cost” – lost sales.

I’d also note that it’s possible this is a rational economic decision by Whole Foods. Refrigerated display cases are the most expensive real estate in a grocery and retailing is all about inventory turnover. Maybe management has decided other varieties of fish will have a faster turnover than Atlantic cod and skate. However, they know their customers are snotty environmentalists and ecologically obsessed elites so they tell them it is about “sustainability”, when in reality it’s an economically sound business decision.

Whole Foods just trying to make the green people happy?

Do they plan to open stores on Mars?


Obama administration tries to kill the family farm

So…is our food supply “sustainable”…???

    Steve in reply to Ragspierre. | April 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Family businesses of all sorts should be exempt from prohibitive laws limiting hours and duties, but Parents need to be kept accountable for injury, decrease performance at school.

    The State(Fed) needs to back off and allow States ( These United ) and their component localities determine what is best for themselves.

    Obama administration tries to kill the family farm

    Great idea!

    1. The goo-goos get to feel good about themselves.

    2. The bureaucrats get to justify their phony-baloney jobs.

    3. Crony agribusiness gets to buy up the remaining family farms cheap.

    4. The conservative rural vote is reduced.

    5. The dispossessed families are forced into Democrat urban hives where the kids can be indoctrinated in public schools.

    What’s not to like? /

pyromancer76 | April 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Everyone who reads legalinsurrection is clearly aware that nothing is “sustainable”, i.e. unchanging, or lasting forever (or for the use of leftists alone), no matter what careful methods are used. However, I am surprised that both the writer of this blog and many commenters are using anti-market arguments against Whole Foods.

Any market should be free to sell goods and produce “organically grown” under transparent and regulated conditions, “locally grown” as compared to large scale farming (no denigration implied; industrial farming is essential to “sustain” large populations), and “sustainable” meaning “exploiting natural resources without destroying the ecological balance of an area”. Whole Foods does a transparent job of defining what the various conditions are of the items they sell.

I shop at Whole Foods, along with Trader Joes, Ralphs, Vons, and Albertsons looking for quality and price and commitment to good market-oriented practices. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Whole Foods weakness seems to be its “green” (non-food) products IMHO. We’ll see if they make much of a profit, especially in this economy.

It is the attitude here I do not like and I have not experienced it so vehemently before, with the only evidence being “products” that the consumer has a choice to buy or not. That is letting the Agenda 21 people, CAGW authoritarian leftists, own important words and concepts. Call them on it rather than limiting “ourselves”. Once Whole Foods lobbies for ending the family farm, or ending agriculture in California, or preventing other fish markets, or contributing significantly more to the leftist Dems over the Repubs, then I will stop shopping at Whole Foods.

Sustainability with respect to life is concerned with species which are endangered or extinct until they are discovered to be neither. Once again, science has been conflated with philosophy and exploited to serve political ends. It’s unfortunate that Whole Foods would capitulate to this abuse; but, as with efforts to enact institutional discrimination, they really are facing a tyranny of “consensus.” Fortunately, there is a progressive trend to reject the semantic games and similar nonsense including “green” technology which is neither green or clean (throughout its development cycle) nor sustainable.

Ann, Whole Foods is headquartered right here in good ol’ Austin, Texas otherwise known as the, “Berkley of the south.”

Political correctness is so entrenched here that if you speak ill of liberalism, you are subject to scorn, insult and corrective action.

Just ask any of the loccal conservative radio/TV personalities that “crossed” the line of liberal intolerance.

Whole Foods business model is aimed at the small group of politically correct drones which hopefully will be a diminishing species in the years to come.

There are just better alternatives to their overpriced diminishing choice and selection…

SoCA Conservative Mom | April 25, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Isn’t the CEO of WF libertarian?

I don’t see a problem with, as a business strategy, a store deciding to sell one item and not another due to the ideological views of their customers. WF has created a niche for themselves… cater to Leftists. The silver lining… they stay out of my grocery store and I’m less likely to be subjected to Leftist propaganda in the parking lot.

I’m sorry to hear this as Whole Foods had the best fish in my area. Essentially, this will mean Whole Foods will be getting out of the seafood business. And if seafood is “unsustainable” then what about meat? That can’t be any more “sustainable” or “eco-friendly” according to greenies.

Meat, fish and a few specific fruits and vegetables are the only reason I go to “Whole Paycheck.”

If they are only going to sell soy product and overpriced canned goods then Whole Foods stock will start to look like Carbonite stock. You can’t stay in business if you only sell stuff nobody wants.

Another triumph of ideology over reality.

Whole Foods is not a communist company! Founder and CEO John Mackey is a libertarian, who wrote this stirring defense of a free market in health insurance. I’m pretty sure he would be against any government action to enforce on everybody the sort of “green” policies he maintains at his company.