Chicago's WCIU-TV will air the much anticipated film documentary 'Whole Foods Englewood, Changing Chicago’s Food Desert' on Sunday April 23, at 8:30 am on the station's The U-Too on Channel 26.2. The 30 minute program was written and directed by Chicago television producer and Emmy Award winning Editor Don Howze. It documents an inspiring story that chronicles Whole Foods Market Inc. and how they joined local Englewood residents in opening its organic food market in one of Chicago’s under-served communities.
Whole Foods Market Inc., the world’s leading natural and organic foods grocer, announced in September 2013 the construction of a new 18,000 square foot grocery store in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. During the next three years of construction, Whole Foods met with local Englewood residents in several public forums to outline their itinerary in getting the residents involved.
“I was really thinking like the rest of the community,” says Howze. “Why would Whole Foods with their expensive organic products, want to come into a community like Englewood?” Howze heard the news while teaching at Kennedy-King College, located across the street from the new Whole Foods location.
“Because of the promises that were made to residents about job opportunities and lower prices,” says Howze, “community leaders were anxious for results. It was then that I began to document Whole Foods’ community events and capture their communication with local residents.”
Englewood is located on the south side of Chicago and among the challenges of high unemployment, neighborhood blight and crime, Englewood is often labeled ‘a food desert’, because of the lack of quality grocery stores in the area.
Whole Foods Englewood, Changing Chicago’s Food Desert also shows the similarities of a recently built Whole Foods store in Detroit Michigan. Both the Englewood and Detroit locations were built near a local college, and caters to residents in urban areas. Since it’s opening in 2013, Whole Foods Market in midtown Detroit has proven to be the company’s most profitable store in Michigan.
"I felt that the 'Whole Foods Detroit story' was fascinating to hear and really wanted to compare their success to Englewood's potential," says Howze, "especially since both stores cater to residents in lower income areas."
On- camera interviews include Asiaha Butler, president of R.A.G.E. (Resident Association Of Greater Englewood), Cecile DeMello, Community Engagement Specialist at Whole Foods Market Englewood, Larry Austin, Whole Foods Detroit Store Team Leader , and Peter Aliu, Whole Foods Englewood Store Team Leader. Guest speaking appearances include Congressman Bobby L. Rush, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Walter Robb, Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market Inc. and Leon Walker, Managing Partner at DL3 Realty.
'Whole Foods Englewood, Changing Chicago’s Food Desert' is funded in part by a grant from The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and awarded by the Chicago Headline Club. The broadcast is sponsored by local businesses Lines ’N Motion, Rocyalox, Lelia's Delights, Signature Chocolates by Alecia-Meaunique, Essie Marie's, and AHF Body Chemistry.
The documentary will kick off its broadcast with a TV Premiere Party at Club E (Esteban's) in Naperville on Saturday April 22. Appetizers catered by Whole Foods Englewood and Al's Kreations will be served along with free samples from food vendors, raffle prizes and a sneak peek from scenes of the documentary. The party is open to the public and RSVP is recommended by visiting TV Premiere Party on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/events/197864054030203/