Aug 9, 2008

Whole Foods and Immigration

Recently, I was browsing the Whole Foods web site, looking for a nearby store. I became fascinated by the place. It is a rich source of information and there's even a blog that is very interesting and eclectic, and chock full of organic products. Apparently, there are a variety of posters. I especially loved the posting made by Alex Crane entitled "Grameen Guatemala – A Glimpse into the Life of a Borrower." It is a great story. Whole Foods Foundation has established a program in Guatemala (and other places) where financial assistance is made available to poor women to start businesses. The blog details a visit by Alex to interview one of the women who obtained a loan for her business in Guatemala. In the blog, Alex said something that is, in a real sense, rather extraordinary, for he gave an excellent (partial) solution to the immigration issue. He said: "I think about the cement wall that some believe is the solution to curbing Latin American immigration to the U.S and feel it wouldn’t do any good. We need to build bridges, not walls. Bridges to span the gaps in opportunity. Education bridges. Economic bridges. Community bridges. Bridges leading to the fulfillment of dreams. These bridges need not cross borders; they span cultures, communities, families, hearts and minds."

There is a lot of truth in what he said. If we would follow the Whole Foods Foundation model as a nation (and we do, in some things), if other large corporations would make the same kinds of investments via foundations as Whole Foods has done, I'm convinced that we'd not have the hordes of Latin American citizens wanting to come to America. No one would have to leave home. While not a perfect solution, it would make a dent.

Currently, the only dent being made is in our collective heads as we beat them against the walls.

Also, whilst browsing the site, I came across a most unusual place: The CEO's blog. This is a blog for comments made by and/or about John Mackey, the founder and CEO of Whole Foods. He is a very interesting, and unusual CEO. I like his candor. I liked the fact that, in spite of some recent problems and attacks (that from my research seems to be unfounded) that in one of his blogs, he actually posted the comments of his critics. Some were very caustic. As someone who has had invective hurled at him unjustly and been hated a time or two without merit, my sympathies were with him, but my esteem for the man rose the more I read about him and the company he founded. He shows character. It's reflected in the company itself. I like that.

I'm definitely a fan of Mr. Mackey and his company.

Copyright 2008 Voyle A. Glover