A trip to the Whole Foods Market used to be really fun. It’s an amusement park for food, a place where the lights are bright, the vegetables are fresh, the potato chips apparently guilt free.
Sometime in the last year, it feels to me, the story changed.
The mantra of "less" which is a natural offshoot of carbon-footprint thinking, combined with the mantra of "less" which is a natural offshoot of overfishing, combined with… have made shopping in a store like this a contest over who can have less impact.
So, here’s a can of tuna, but maybe that’s not okay because it’s a can and it’s tuna.
And here’s an avocado, but maybe that’s not okay because it came a long way in a truck.
And on and on.
For me, local and organic is a treat. I feel great doing it and I’m happy to invest the time to go to the Union Square market. I wonder, though, about how long the legs on that story are. If we’re going to make people feel guilty when they spend money, pretty soon they’re going to start ignoring the story that makes them feel guilty.
Do you remember when you were a kid and you were supposed to clean your plate when eating because somehow that was going to help some starving kid in China? That story didn’t last so long.
I’m more and more convinced that the best hope for the eco movement is to tell a story of efficiency and growth and ingenuity. More is easy to sell. Less almost never is.