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How Much Would You Pay for Grass Clippings?

The hidden consequences of price in a food desert.

by
Leslie Loftis

Bio

April 21, 2014 - 3:00 pm
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Whole Foods Easter grass

For Easter this year, Whole Foods sold Organic Timothy Grass for kids’ Easter baskets. The story sounds good, as usual—plastic is toxic and the stuff in the Easter baskets lingers for years on the planet. Not mentioned is how prevalent shredded, recycled paper has become for baskets or how the plastic grass lasts and gets reused year after year. That is, the menace of plastic grass is overstated. Also not mentioned in the real grass is great story, the price of the real grass.

As I first learned about the grass clippings in a Tweet from @johnrobison, “Salute the marketing geniuses at @WholeFoods for selling grass clippings for $23.96 a pound – More than good steak!”

Price Matters

A few months ago, Rhonda Robinson posted about a poor neighborhood that “ran off” a Trader Joe’s opening. The gist of the article and comments assumed the neighborhood had elevated politics over health and made a bad decision. She concluded, “The Portland African American Leadership Forum would much rather see empty decaying buildings in their neighborhood than give up their victim card.”

I doubt the neighborhood would rather keep vacant buildings. I also doubt that they objected to a grocery store opening. They likely objected to a Trader Joe’s opening.

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Top Rated Comments   
When future archeologists look back on these few decades, and study the various food “movements” (i.e., fads for affluent, stupid, white rich people like “locavore”, “farm-to-table”, and – yes – organic), they will conclude we are lunatics.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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whole foods started as a bulk buying club in the guys' garage. it has expensive things b/c the customers they serve demand expensive things. the core of the store is still really cheap bulk food. They sell things that no one else in town stocks, like unhulled barley, which is the cheapest sturdy breakfast of all time.

Is the alcohol-selling away from churches the only land use restriction in Houston? My head is spinning on this. About half a mile from here is a gas, lottery tickets and beer convenience store that shares a parking lot ingress with a Baptist church. It's less than half a mile from an elementary and a high school. It's, you know, convenient.

Grocery stores operate on 1% -2% profit margins. If beer has a higher profit margin it helps contribute to the viability of the store- you know, for the money-losers like fresh produce. The store next door switched to "healthy' guidelines for its very poor customer base. The leeks get moldy, there are fruit flies and mold on the organic tomatoes, there's dust on the bags of dried beans. The beer aisle got a huge upgrade, probably to pay for the chance to look gentry.

And, why aren't there black-owned small groceries in Houston? They've got them in New Orleans.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are no food deserts........

There are only oases where you can claim a roof over your head until someone forces you out........
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's it, I give up. I'm moving far enough south that I can grow organic Easter basket grass clippings and ship them north for Easter. The old ways of steadily building a life and retirement are for chumps. You have to roll with the crazy now.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
The next marketing trick will be to convince Whole Food shoppers that grass clippings taste good. I suppose they can call the movement, "Turf-o-vore" or something.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
When future archeologists look back on these few decades, and study the various food “movements” (i.e., fads for affluent, stupid, white rich people like “locavore”, “farm-to-table”, and – yes – organic), they will conclude we are lunatics.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
They will not be wrong.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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