Whole Foods, health care and the Virgin of Guadalupe

I read what the CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, wrote against government funding of health care in The Wall Street Journal,  and I too had my doubts about whether to boycott Whole Foods.

But a friend enticed me to check out the new Whole Foods at 1550 N. Kingsbury Ct. in Lincoln Park.


Now I generally avoid what some people call "Whole Paycheck" and I tend to shop at the Trader Joe's in Oak Park, which is closer to home for me and less expensive.

But the new Whole Foods is just impressive for what you can find in the 75,000 square foot space.

I love the food court that honors food from Chicago neighborhoods like Pilsen tacos and pasta from Taylor Street and the salad bar has an amazing array of food.

I also found some yummy macaroni and cheese, barbecue tofu and greens made by Soul Vegetarian, a local business.

I was intrigued by the wine dispensers where you can buy a taste, a half glass or a full glass of a variety of wines. When I peeked closer at one of the bottles of white, I saw a black and white label with an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
On a bottle of wine?

So I put in my wine card into the dispenser and bought a taste of
Veladora Sauvignon Blanc 2008 made at Orin Swift Cellars in Napa, Calif.

It had a subtle floral flavor and I decided to buy a half glass. I then
found a full bottle on the shelf. When I read the back label, I found a reason why I should continue to shop at Whole Foods.

This is what it says, "Every day a large mostly anonymous workforce of
men and women labor hard in the vineyards and wineries of the Napa
Valley. Most of them have left behind not only their country of origin
but their husbands, wives and children in order to make a better life
and find a small piece of the American Dream."

So Orin Swift Cellars is donating 100 percent of the profits from this
wine to Puertas Abiertas, a coalition formed by Father Gordon Kalil to
provide health care, including dental and health screenings, to people
in need. And the label makes the point "without checking for
immigration status."

Their Web site says they expect to surpass more than $100,000 in donations to Puertas Abiertas.

The winery says they selected the iconic image of the Virgin of
Guadalupe to "convey their deep respect for and recognition of  the
Latino heritage of our fellow farm workers ."

Now this is a cause I can get behind. I have the utmost respect for
farm workers. My mother and her family used to be farm workers. They
came to the Midwest from Texas to pick beets and tomatoes in the 1950s.
In our house we grew up boycotting grapes and revered farm worker
leader Cesar Chavez.

While I don't agree with Whole Foods CEO Mackey, he does provide great health care benefits to his employees.

Mackey wrote in the Wall Street Journal piece that "Whole Foods Market
pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or
more per week (about 89% of all team members) for our high-deductible
health-insurance plan. We also provide up to $1,800 per year in
additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees'
Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health
and wellness."

So Whole Foods takes care of its workers' health care.

And by shopping there I can purchase wine that helps provide health care to farm workers and immigrants who need it.


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  • You can order this wine online directly from the winery and lend even more support to your cause.

    If you buy the wine direct, all of the profits will go to the cause. When you buy it in Whole Foods, part of the profits go to Whole Foods bottom line. Whole Foods CEO uses the money from that bottom line as justification against health care for all and worker's rights.

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