Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Healthy Food Advocates Launch Petition Telling Safeway to Stop Creating Food Deserts

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The Care2 Petition Takes Aim at Safeway’s Practice of Blocking Other Grocery Stores from Entering Properties it has Vacated
A Care2 petition is demanding Safeway stop its practice of blocking other grocery stores from entering properties it has vacated. The Care2 petition, started by Lauren Ornelas, founder and director of the Food Empowerment Project, has gathered over 7,000 signatures. The campaign comes on the heels of efforts in Washington, D.C. to block grocery chains from keeping out the competition with such deed restrictions.
“When Safeway/Albertsons decides to leave a neighborhood, they sometimes block other grocery stores from opening up in their former locations,” Ornelas writes on her Care2 petition. “This means that when they are the only grocery store around and leave an area such as a downtown location to move to the suburbs, they include a restriction on that property that states that no other grocery store can move in. Some of these restrictions have been for as long as 15 years!”
Safeway uses deed restrictions to block competitors from moving into its former locations. The practice came to light in Vallejo, CA,  in 2011, when Winco was blocked from building a store in a former Safeway location.
The issue has also been documented in Washington, D.C., leading two councilmembers, David Catania and Mary Cheh, to introduce a proposal that would ban the practice.
Ornelas’ Care2 petition targets Safeway/Albertsons' CEO Robert Miller. She says Safeway’s deed restrictions create food deserts.
“Communities of color, the differently-abled, and the elderly already experience barriers to accessing healthy food, and companies like Safeway should not be contributing to the problem,” Ornelas writes. “They could easily change their ways and HELP neighborhoods stay healthy!”

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