Friday, June 05, 2009

Wal-Mart and Chicago's South Side Food Desert

1. CHICAGO TRIBUNE -- Various surveys have shown the dearth of supermarkets in Chicago's poor neighborhoods and how the attendant health problems ripple through the state and city. But you don't need a survey to know there's a problem. Wander around parts of the South or West Sides. Look. People shop for meals in liquor stores and fast-food joints, in little shops where fresh means moldy tomatoes and tired meat.

Adults there are far likelier to have diabetes and hypertension. Children are likelier to be obese. People are job-starved too. Supermarkets would bring more than food.

2. CHICAGO TRIBUNE -- The effort to bring more grocery stores to low-income areas--so-called "food deserts"--would receive a shot in the arm from legislation passed this week by the Illinois General Assembly. The $3.1 billion public spending bill passed Monday includes $10 million for the Illinois Fresh Food Fund, money that would go to urban and rural neighborhoods with reduced access to healthier foods because they're underserved by supermarkets.

3. CHICAGO TRIBUNE -- Mayor Richard Daley contends there is no chance the latest effort to have a Wal-Mart built on Chicago’s South Side will succeed. Daley said Thursday that even though the store would generate tax revenue and create jobs for neighborhood residents, there aren’t enough votes in the City Council to pass the required redevelopment agreement.

Alderman Howard Brookins has tried for years to locate a Wal-Mart store in an industrial site being redeveloped into a shopping center. Currently, Wal-Mart operates a store on Chicago’s West Side. Opposition to Wal-Mart has come from labor unions, who claim the retailer does not pay workers adequately and skimps on benefits. Daley’s floor leader in the City Council, Alderman Pat O’Connor, says Brookins’ latest effort comes at a time the city is trying to keep peace with the unions.

MP: So Wal-Mart wants to build a store on the south side of Chicago in a "food desert," probably including a food supermarket with healthy foods in an area underserved by supermarkets, which would create hundreds of jobs, and I'm guessing that Wal-Mart is willing to do this without any government subsidies from the Illinois Fresh Food Fund, and its efforts are blocked by the unions. But how many supermarkets and jobs are unions providing on the south side of Chicago in the "food desert"? I'm guessing none.

Thanks to CD reader Steven Bridges for the links.


At 6/05/2009 6:36 PM, Anonymous Αμάτι Nώνυμος said...

Chicago in the "food desert"? I'm guessing

When I was working in Montana, we had young couple who moved from Florida just to work on range punching cows. People who don't have job, no decent food in Chicago? Do they need Wal★Mart? Or do they need job on the range? They have job? Do they then need to build a greenhouse and grow food? Or should they eat the garbage from Wal★Mart?

Just wondering

At 6/05/2009 7:50 PM, Blogger Craig said...

"Do they then need to build a greenhouse and grow food? Or should they eat the garbage from Wal★Mart?"

I think I agree with you. But for people whose biggest task each week is to go to the Post Office to pick up a check, I'm guessing that a Wal-Mart may fit the bill better than expecting them to punch cows.

At 6/05/2009 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cutting off thy nose to spite thy face.

At 6/06/2009 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like an excellent opportunity for the union to open its own store - no pesky management or investors to get in their way.

At 6/06/2009 11:47 AM, Anonymous Tobin Tyler said...

How might a union provide a supermarket?

Interesting concept.

Could UFCW pull it off?

At 6/07/2009 1:51 AM, Blogger OA said...

Garbage from Wal-Mart? They carry the same national brands you'll see at other grocery stores. I'm pretty sure it'd beat the product mix at liquor stores. And it'll save them money.

I don't shop at Wal-Mart because the lines are too long. But the prices really are astounding. I'd sure rather shop there to a liquor store.

At 6/07/2009 12:51 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Garbage from Wal-Mart?

Given their kingly demands, that's all that can be afforded in production for the Communist Party of China's Bentonville organ known as Wal-Mart.

Any attention they give to local products is a gimmick.

At 6/08/2009 12:35 PM, Blogger 1 said...

"Given their kingly demands, that's all that can be afforded in production for the Communist Party of China's Bentonville organ known as Wal-Mart"...

Well it seems that the millions of Americans and illegal aliens that shop Wal-Mart in this country don't see it your way sethstorm...

At 6/08/2009 11:11 PM, Blogger destilando cafe said...

There are a few items of fresh food at Barf-Mart and oceans of processed garbage. But that's true of any supermarket. Smaller ethnic markets are usually better. You can eat well in Brooklyn, Queens, etc. with nary a supermarket in sight.

At 7/05/2009 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In this "food desert" on the south side of Chicago in a two block area between 87th and 88th St and one blocks west of State street there are a Jewel-Osco and a large Food 4 Less. These are within four blocks of the proposed Walmart. The arguments in support of the South Side Walmart only make sense to people unfamiliar with the neighberhood. There are many communities on the southside that are not eager to sacrefice their quality of life and property values for commercial development. People should do as I did as a youth and adult; get on a bus and travel to where the jobs are and live in a safe and quiet neighborhood that is not choked by Walmart traffic.


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