Food Shopping in Three Capitals

June, 2013

Berlin -- It's always a pleasure to be in Berlin and shop for groceries at Bio Company. Walking distance for me, the store has a good assortment of all-organic foods. My branch is located between Heinrichplatz and Kottbusser Tor, past mom-and-pop stores (Tante Emma L├Ąden), Turkish sidewalk cafes, and hard by a small mosque with a minaret. This is Kreuzberg, after all, where Turkish, German, and English are the languages heard on the streets.

In Lincoln, we shop at Open Harvest at 17th and South Streets. It is the only locally owned organic grocery in Lincoln, carrying produce from nearby organic farms. It's located next to Meadowlark coffee house, an alternative kind of place itself. These spots are an oasis in a desert of Big Ag food domination, which has caused an epidemic of obesity and bad health. This is a most depressing side of Nebraska.

In the Washington suburbs (Rockville), the grocery of choice is My Organic Market, or MOMs. It has a better selection of organic foods than does Whole Foods, which has gone downhill in commitment to healthy foods as it has gone up in price ("Whole Paycheck" it is called in Montgomery County).

Each of these organic grocery stores is about the same size. None is a supermarket. None plays bad music.* Bio Company has no parking lot, as customers come by foot, by bike, or by U-Bahn. Bio Company is best from the standpoint that you get your exercise when you do your shopping.

*Open Harvest comes dangerously close sometimes. Remember, OH, you are an organic grocery, not a night club and certainly not a supermarket, where wailing, crying-in-the-beer music is carefully selected to make the shopper reach for all the carb and sugar-laden so-called comfort foods. Bad for the senses, bad for the pocketbook, bad for one's health.