Too Perfect. View of the mega produce section at the Pasadena Mega Whole Foods. Photo courtesy of Rainy Days and Sunday’s
Since homey Wild Oats on Lake Ave shut its doors last November, we urban homesteaders have refused to step foot in the mega Whole Foods located on Arroyo Parkway. This monstrosity of a so-called health food store is just too excessive and gaudy for our simple taste. In fact when the new Whole Food store opened its doors, head urban homesteader, Jules Dervaes, said “That’s it! We’ll have to draw the line someplace.”
Just because “they” are forcing us to choose this obscene eco-shopping experience, we are determined not to fall into the greenstream under the guise of “organic” or “local.” Actually, when something becomes too popular, too chic, too greenstream the yellow warning lights go off. There are concerns if what we are being told is not necessarily truly green or sustainable but is instead actually a watered down form — what is now being aptly coined “greenwashing.”
This recent article in Sunday’s paper has solidified why we urban homestead radicals refuse to step foot in this mega store. They’ve totally ruined the true meaning of grocery shopping, turning into some weird form of eco-status and a place to be seen. Pathfinders as we are and trying to choose the path less traveled, this store’s burlesque distortion of local “green” grocer has us saying, “Heck, no — we ain’t going to go.”
Pasadena’s Whole Foods Market: Is It Sustainable Design?
The giant supermarket on Arroyo Parkway calls itself eco-friendly, but it may be too much of a good thing.
The massive new Whole Foods Market on Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena represents the height of one-upmanship in Southern California’s increasingly competitive grocery store trade. I’ll see your three brands of soy milk, it says cockily to Fresh & Easy, and raise you two.
But the store is even more striking for what it says about the similar discontents plaguing the organic food and green architecture movements. The way they come together in this Whole Foods–a piece of green architecture designed to hold an organic food emporium–suggests that both may need to adjust their priorities. Or at least start acknowledging that they’ve become victims of their own success.
….Somewhere along the way, for both organic grocers and the corporate patrons of green architecture, the line between planet-saving and aggressive marketing became blurred. Companies realized that promoting themselves as eco-friendly could be a powerful sales tool. Some, not surprisingly, concentrated more on the marketing message than on their green practices –a strategy that became known as “greenwashing.”
….On the Sunday I visited, a group was settling down in the center of the second floor, just behind the pizza oven and not far from the roast-beef carving station, for a full-blown Champagne brunch. TVs hang everywhere so you can watch PGA golf (that’s what was on when I was there) while you pick out fair-trade roses from Ecuador.
It’s Vegas with organic, gluten-free scones.
…But the first rule of sustainable architecture is to keep new buildings as small and efficient as possible. With its soaring 30-foot ceilings and endless aisles, 280 subterranean parking spots and all those TVs flickering day and night, this place is neither. It’s more like the grocery store version of a hybrid SUV made by Lexus or a 12,000-square-foot “green” house with a swimming pool and six-car garage accompanying its solar panels and sustainably harvested decking.
Forget about doing more with less. This green-tinged cornucopia is all about doing more with more
Luckily for us, we don’t need “no stinkin’ aisle” of organic packaged foods, colorfully perfect “local” produce, nor are we tempted by the gourmet wine, cheese and whatever sections. Instead we are blessed that our grocery store is located right outside our back/front door. Staples (rice, flour, oats) that we can’t grow have and will come from another source.
Sure, our little local health food store, Granny’s Pantry, won’t have 12 feet of pasta sauces like the Whole Food store reportedly has. 12 feet! I mean, really, do we really need that much choice?
Have you refused to shop or have shopped at the mega Whole Foods located on Arroyo Parkway? Care to share your experience and which local stores you are supporting instead?