The latest news that Kroger, the owner of Mariano’s, plans to buy Albertsons, the owner of Jewel, is the latest in a decades-long consolidation of the grocery industry. Company executives assert that the merger results in cost savings for customers. Whether that comes to fruition, there are clear problems with our access to groceries being controlled by more and less institutions.

In fact, different types of supply mean big problems when a disruption occurs. Local farmers and producers find it difficult to get products to consumers, potentially forcing them out of business. Stores in low-income neighborhoods can close without warning.

As consumers we have limited options, and copper suppliers may not reflect our quality in areas such as performance and staffing practices.

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Fortunately, there is another way to increase grocery connectivity: food cooperatives.

Food gatherings are for communities and neighborhoods. They are democratically run corporations – one owner, one vote – and cannot be bought or acquired without the consent of the majority. Co-ops elect boards of directors who set business priorities and strategies.

Food co-ops keep our grocery dollars circulating locally versus being siphoned out of cities; for example, the percentage of co-ops that provide charitable services is three times that of regular stores, and food co-ops account for 38% of their income spent on local you

Food gatherings are on the rise in Chicagoland. Chicago Market, a co-op market set to open in 2023 Uptown, is one of an exciting number of local, community-focused, startup cooperatives (including Wild Onion Market in Rogers Park, Southside Food Co-Op. on the South Side and Prairie Food Co-op in Lombard). Dill Pickle in Logan Square and Sugar Beet in Oak Park are local food cooperatives that have been open for years.

With food co-ops, we can have and control grocery options that reflect our values; strengthening strong, diverse regional food systems; and investing our food dollars locally. We often don’t have a say in grocery delivery methods.

We don’t have to give up our future to absentee investors or wealthy elites. We can create alternatives that build shared success through decisions made by immediate stakeholders. Local food cooperatives strike me as such an option, through which we can decide – as neighbors and stakeholders – to grow together.

Dan Arnett, general manager, Chicago Market

The city must do more to help the homeless

When was your last trip down Marine Drive? If it was last year, you probably noticed the number of tents lined up along the road. From Irving Park Road north of Foster Avenue, tents are popping up like a campground. The epidemic and rising rents have caused the number of homeless people to increase.

Not enough is being done by the city to help provide decent housing for those in need. Winter is coming, and many have only a tent. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has $10 million allocated for housing in the 2023 budget. This is not enough to house the homeless and does not generate enough money to support temporary housing costs.

One solution is to follow the lead of the grassroots movement, Bring Chicago Home, which has proposed raising the real estate transfer tax (RETT) on homes valued at more than $1 million, generating more revenue. every year. it will be used to maintain temporary housing while building affordable housing for those who need it most.

Heather Fink, Uptown

The AIDS Garden provides a history lesson for all

Finally he visited the AIDS park in Belmont Rocks. While riding the Divvy bike, I saw little placards with QR codes on the side of the roads. Listening to the various stories they told gave me many emotions, including pride, sadness and hope.

As a gay man who has only been in this city for a few years, it’s easy to forget or ignore the history that wasn’t thrown at me in school or very quickly in my daily life. I am so grateful to those who made this place possible, those who tell these important stories and those who are no longer here to tell their stories, but who bravely and truly lived to make this city the sanctuary it is. that’s it for me today.

Preserving and sharing underappreciated history is life-giving and life-saving, so I hope you’ll share the stories at www.aidsgardenchicago.org, even if your personal visit is reserved for next year. .

Gus Haffner, Lake View

Educating the new generation, the old

Young people need to know the monthly Social Security check that adults receive depends on paying into it. When a person does not fulfill his obligation to pay the quarter, the monthly income is significantly reduced. People may think that they are getting $1,500 a month at age 62, but this is not true.

Many people think that working for money under the table is great, until they find out that they only get about $500 a month if they don’t pay taxes for all the time. A Social Security education course should be taught to all high school students to understand Social Security and Medicare for their future.

Mike Zaczek, Orlando Park

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