Neighbors for Neighbors

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Hello N4N,


Wanted to let you know that there is going to be a second forum to discuss the arrival of WF at the location of the former Hi-Lo. It will take place on Feb 28th at 7pm, at the Kennedy School, 7 Bolster Street. 
Some who attended the first meeting said afterward that they felt uncomfortable sharing their point of view. We (the JPNC) are disappointed that this was the case, and are working to make sure this next forum feels like a safe place to express ALL points of view.

If you can't attend but have feelings - pro WF or con - please consider posting them to, or emailing them to The more information and input we have from the community, the better. 



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Comment by Eric on February 28, 2011 at 3:32pm

For those of you who did not attend the last meeting, here is a video of Councilor Felix Arroyo speaking at it. He's a Dedham Whole Foods shopper and he wants to organize JP to stop Whole Foods from coming in.

Comment by Mary Mayer on February 28, 2011 at 1:09pm
I think it is disingenuous for the JPNC to call the meeting tonight a Community Forum.  Clearly the rally at 6pm is intended to "keep WFM out."  To hold the Forum at 7pm, right after the rally is so clearly trying to stack the deck. Once again, those who support a Whole Foods in Jamaica Plain will not be heard.
Comment by Gretchen Van Ness on February 28, 2011 at 9:29am


I'm not exactly one of the "young people" you describe, but I fully agree with your assessment that JP's community organizations have not faily represented all of JP in this controversy.  The more people who come to tonight's meeting and say what you have said -- that we support WF AND the Latino community AND bringing a quality Latino food market (or 2!) to JP -- the more likely we can transform this debate into proactive, positive action that will actually help all the residents and businesses in Hyde Square. 

Comment by Rira on February 27, 2011 at 4:10pm

I posted this on the JPNC site - but they might not "approve " it - as you can see it is critical of them - so if they do not approve it - it is here:


I fully support the whole foods coming to JP and feel the JPNC unfairly represents 20,000+ people. There are a few very vocal narrow thinking types of people who monopolize the council and these forums, stifling any opinions that do not conform to their world views.

I am so glad that we finally have true democracy in the internet and can finally hear from those who have been silenced for decades. read the plethroa of posts all over the from bright articulate people who support the Latin community AND whole foods. It is not we/them as the JPNC would have you believe. The JPNC is stuck in this ’60′s era anti everything mantra with a demonstrated inability to think pragmatically. I would bet that no member of the JPNC even read the 1,000′s of comments that disagree with their unanimous decisions that do NOT represent the diversity of JP – that is not all of 1 mind. JP , like Massachusetts is 50% independent . Bright highly educated people who take the time to analyze the layers of an issue and project ahead 5, 10, 30 years and try to anticipate the law of unintended consequences. The 20,000 JPers do what the JPNC does not think about every aspect of an issues, not just the symbolism , the pragmatic realities today and 20 years from now – it’s time the JPNC did far more analysis that truly considers the 100′s of very different opinions here not just the opinions of 60′s leftovers who are oblivious to what makes a community work. It’s time JP’s leaders let “young” people have a voice, people in their 30′s, 40′s and 50′s who want to cultivate good change that considers everyone, from our Latin residents, to our GLBT residents, to our Greens, and yes our conservative bloc, they too have something to say, etc everyone, not 1 group, ALL groups -people who want Whol

Comment by Gretchen Van Ness on February 25, 2011 at 10:57am
I'm very disappointed that there has been no response from JPNC to Joseph's questions and mine about the purpose of Monday's meeting and how it will be conducted.  Why should any supporter of Whole Foods come to the meeting, if it is just going to be a repeat of the 2/8 meeting?
Comment by Joseph Porcelli (Chief Neighbor) on February 23, 2011 at 3:57pm

Here is what Whole Foods has published:

Dear Residents of Jamaica Plain,

We are very pleased to be opening a Whole Foods Market on Centre Street. We have met with city officials and followed the media coverage so we understand that while many of you are excited that we’re coming to JP, there are also a number of concerns and questions. As the regional president of Whole Foods Market, I want to take this opportunity to have what will be the first of many communications that I hope will serve to clarify several issues and ease your concerns.

HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED: When we learned that the aging ownership at Knapp Foods was closing Hi-Lo Foods and making the lease available, we jumped at the chance to be a part of such a diverse, neighborhood with a passion for great food. Prior to signing the lease, however, the news was leaked to the media, along with a lot of false information.  We were enormously disappointed that you were not informed in a more respectful and organized manner.  Ideally, we would have had the opportunity to communicate with city and neighborhood officials prior to our announcement, as is our standard policy.

Our design plans will begin when we gain access to the building in late March. While the interior requires extensive renovations, we have absolutely no plans to change the structure of the building or the exterior features that are so important to the community -– the mural, the awning and the clock – will all remain intact.

HI-LO STAFF: We understand and appreciate your concerns for the future of Hi-Lo’s staff. We have already hired several Hi-Lo employees in our stores, and we are working with the local unemployment office to make sure that the remaining employees know that Whole Foods Market is guaranteeing them priority interviews at any of our store locations and facilities.

NEW HIRING: Once renovations are underway and we have an opening date set, we will be holding job screenings at the store location that will be open to the public, as is our standard practice. We plan to hire around 100 Team Members—approximately 70% of those positions will be full-time with benefits.

PRODUCT OFFERINGS: We believe that everyone has the right to have access to affordable, high quality, clean food free of artificial ingredients and additives. This includes carrying a wide variety of Latino products. As with all of our stores, we will carry products that cater to the diverse demands of the community. If shoppers express interest in a product and it meets our quality standards, we will carry it.

YOUR COMMUNITY MARKET: Being a community partner is a responsibility we take very seriously. We are eager to show our support and commitment to the wonderful organizations that make up the fabric of the JP neighborhood. As a company we give 5% back to our local communities through non-profit organizations and community and education groups.

When we solidify our plan for the store, we will host community meetings to answer all of your questions. Please know that our intentions are to be productive and positive members of the JP community and to provide you with high quality food and exceptional customer service at great value. We understand that we will only be able to prove our commitment to you with our actions.


Laura Derba
President – North Atlantic Region
Whole Foods Market


Comment by Eric on February 23, 2011 at 3:11pm
Joseph, I really appreciate your framing questions. I think that one of the challenges with these meetings taking place at this point in time is that the known facts set is quite small and that greatly affects the answer to questions three and four. While I appreciate JPNC having open meetings at this point in the process (and I intend to attend), I wonder how much meetings at this point (with the same participants and available information as the last meeting) move the ball forward and how much of it risks having emotions fill the void of information and structure.
Comment by Gretchen Van Ness on February 23, 2011 at 1:02pm

Hi Dave,

I echo Joseph's questions, particularly since it appears that the "Whose Foods" folks are rallying at Mozart Park at 6 pm Monday and will be marching to the meeting.  Who is running Monday's meeting and what is its purpose?  What will be done to prevent the "us vs. them" dynamic that dominated the first community meeting, when numerous WF supporters left without speaking?   

Comment by Joseph Porcelli (Chief Neighbor) on February 23, 2011 at 12:34pm


Thanks for posting this. Some questions that would be helpful for folks to know:

  1. What are the known facts?
  2. What is the meeting agenda?
  3. How will views that are shared be used?
  4. What power does the JPNC have over this process?

I'm asking these questions to help frame value and expectations. 



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