Noe Valley Whole Foods Opening: The Protest that Never Was

Future Whole Foods shoppers.

A smattering of people were clumped around the as-yet unopened Noe Valley Whole Foods this morning around 9:15. It was an exceedingly pleasant day, and the babies and dogs that make up much of the neighborhood's population were out in force. An opening of a Whole Foods in a nice neighborhood full of families is not usually cause for tension. But after the company's co-founder and CEO, John Mackey, penned an editorial for the Wall Street Journal tsk-tsking a public option for health care and suggesting that people should just, y'know, eat better, the store has been the target of protests and boycotts. Just recently, the Oakland Whole Foods was subjected to a dancing flash mob. This particular opening seemed like a prime opportunity for making a point, as supervisor Bevan Dufty, who was instrumental in helping the store open, was slated to attend the ceremony.

But anybody who stopped by the quiet event hoping for a spectacle would be sorely disappointed. There were exactly two tables set up in front of the store, one manned by advocates for the restoration of Hetch Hetchy and the other populated by folks trying to drum up support for single payer health care in California. The sole moment of conflict occurred when a one of the Hetch Hetchy tablers called out to a passerby, “We need our national parks!”

“We need water, too.” She replied.

“We get our water from Tuolumne.” Retorted the tabler.

The woman looked primed to respond and then thought better of it, walking away.

Tension diffused.


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