Skip to main content

Like many stores, Central Co-op in Seattle became aware of Eden Foods' anti-birth-control policies last year. Like many stores, they decided not to boycott them, despite pressure from their consumers, because, "we decided not to join a boycott over this one point of divergence. Your strong stance on product safety and GMO issues precluded a complete severance of our relationship."

This is precisely the kind of decision that I was arguing against in my CNN piece and on the blog, but also that I am resigned to seeing. Eden Foods has had a deep grip on certain aspects of the organic food market and they are hoping people will care more about food quality than about the religious exemption and women's rights.

Moreover, I am sympathetic to stores that are hesitant to take a stance in an issue that is politicized, even if, as I argue, the core question is ethical. Stores that want to stay in business have to be careful.

But there's good news, as reported in an open letter from Central Co-op to Eden Foods. Consumers in Seattle are voting with their dollars. The letter reads:

We encourage our owners and customers to vote with their dollars by supporting companies that they respect. This is what we suggested our community do when outcry arose over your action last year; and recent renewed interest in your case was cause for us to review sales of Eden products and explore what options we might have that equally (or better) reflect our product guidelines. During this review we found that our community has indeed been voting with their dollars and that 80 percent of the Eden products on our shelves have failed to keep up with the sales of competing products. It is clear that your company has lost support from our community and that people are showing preference to other product lines.
GREAT WORK SEATTLE SHOPPERS. And kudos to Central Co-op for running the numbers, seeing the pattern, and being willing to publicize the results. I'm also really interested in their assessment that whereas once Eden Foods was an essential provider for the natural foods market, this has changed. There are lots of suppliers out there, so they can substitute less politically-charged brands for the products that aren't selling.

They conclude the letter asking Eden Foods to re-think their lawsuit, writing, "We realize that no company is perfect, including ours, and we remain diligent in our evaluation of which products most closely align with our values, and most effectively meet the needs of our community. In our judgment, this decision of yours moves you down the order of consideration among the options available to us."

This is how we win. Store by store, reducing profit margins, and either pressuring Eden to change their politics or making them irrelevant.

I have requests out to several other Co-ops and Whole Foods to find out if their sales figures have dipped. We'll see if they respond (some have promised to do so).

Here's what we do next.

Go to your co-op and ask them to assess how Eden Foods is selling and whether they could substitute the product for a company that supports women's rights. Organize locally. Collect data. Make sure your local food communities know what Eden Foods really stands for. Get them off the shelves, store by store, product by product.

I am a freelance columnist, blogger, long-time member of this site, and history professor. You can read my blog at How Did We Get Into This Mess? This diary is an edited version of today's blog post.

To read more, you could 'like' my public Facebook page.

Or you could follow me on Twitter:

Originally posted to Lollardfish on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 08:40 AM PDT.

Also republished by Seattle & Puget Sound Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

colleen, pam, Angie in WA State, Sylv, Jsea, True North, Odysseus, deben, Liberal Thinking, Joan McCarter, Vico, Stein, John Campanelli, eeff, dsb, Matilda, emelyn, MasonMcD, Just Saying, Creosote, ssgbryan, Heart of the Rockies, JLFinch, cybermome1207, annrose, whenwego, ehavenot, mole333, boadicea, themank, mrblifil, otto, pedrito, ivote2004, denig, itskevin, Nate Roberts, wader, Texknight, psnyder, defluxion10, Catte Nappe, zerelda, ybruti, randallt, JayDean, Wife of Bath, Pola Halloween, Josiah Bartlett, Gowrie Gal, sb, nailbender, Bluesee, marina, ichibon, blueyedace2, LarisaW, subtropolis, one of 8, basquebob, dewtx, eru, lennysfo, bleeding blue, Sun Tzu, Sandino, kaliope, PinHole, brentut5, Tunk, peacestpete, Alan Arizona, martini, kovie, sideboth, GeoGrl, myboo, BlueInARedState, Themistoclea, seefleur, Esjaydee, MargaretPOA, raincrow, tecampbell, MJ via Chicago, StrayCat, The Hindsight Times, middleagedhousewife, delonix, Wisper, IL clb, CA Nana, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, kurt, Statusquomustgo, Downtowner, bstotts, AllanTBG, krwheaton, pale cold, FlamingoGrrl, timewarp, merrylib, Haningchadus14, camlbacker, leema, offgrid, Outrider, karmsy, Cofcos, deepeco, DWG, joedemocrat, bnasley, artisan, jedennis, buckshot face, SeaTurtle, RudiB, leonard145b, Assaf, on the cusp, roycej, TomP, Empower Ink, alba, MKinTN, MT Clarity, bkamr, mconvente, misterwade, JeffW, flowerfarmer, ChocolateChris, GAS, Sixty Something, catly, petulans, msdobie, OrdinaryIowan, Karen Hedwig Backman, dmhlt 66, Celtic Merlin, maggiejean, rubyclaire, DontTaseMeBro, rsmpdx, Don Enrique, papahaha, sfarkash, Just Bob, Christy1947, rb137, NJpeach, barkworsethanbite, catwho, angelajean, LOrion, cordgrass, pixxer, nirbama, Dems in 08, slice, kerflooey, Catherine R, slowbutsure, jardin32, myadestes, lexalou, lillyspad, California06, deeproots, AnotherAmericanLie, Haf2Read, Carolyn in Oregon, thomask, VirginiaJeff, worldlotus, poliwrangler, StateOfGrace, SteelerGrrl, Sunspots, imlpdx, leftykook, Laurel in CA, Sister Inspired Revolver of Freedom, quill, IndieGuy, Trevin, nellgwen, barkingcat, Lonely Texan, a2nite, 420 forever, jan4insight, BusyinCA, pdxteacher, stvnjon, Glen The Plumber, RonK, Windowpane, Robynhood too, live1, Chaddiwicker, JayRaye, merrywidow, gypsytoo, GreenMother, BadKitties, BigPirateJim, Patango, Jim Domenico, mmcnary, oslyn7, CenPhx, nancyjones, Dodgerdog1, RightHeaded, Penny GC, occupyingmodesto, Will Stark, VPofKarma, EveryWoman, TheProgressiveAlien, oldhippy48, paulex, hbk, portlandzoo, AJayne, Faith Katherine, nerafinator, liberaldad2, leftprogressive, silverfoxcruiser, bobcat41702, WednesdaysChilde, Blackwolf53, Katannah, Suzie Queue, roosterbear, CWinebrinner, NoBlueSkies

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site