Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson (D) this week proposed that his city run a series of supermarkets following a number of well-publicized closures. The proposal would be a first in the country and could open the mayor up to accusations of using the city government for a socialist venture.
The mayor announced the proposal, which would include a feasibility study to determine whether or not this was possible. So far, the city has not announced a specific timetable.
Johnson said that the city was “committed to advancing innovative, whole-of-government approaches to address these inequities.”
“All Chicagoans deserve to live near convenient, affordable, healthy grocery options. We know access to grocery stores is already a challenge for many residents, especially on the South and West sides,” he wrote. “A better, stronger, safer future is one where our youth and our communities have access to the tools and resources they need to thrive.”
city is joined by the Economic Security Project. A spokesperson for the organization said that the city “is reimagining the role government can play in our lives by exploring a public option for grocery stores via a municipally owned grocery store and market.”
Chicago Mayor Johnson Moves Toward City-Run Grocery Stores https://t.co/KPtTIa3wR3
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 16, 2023
The organization likened the effort to a community library or the post office, which she said “offers economic choice and power to communities.”
The decision could come as Chicago is facing a sharp increase in crime over the past three years. A number of large retailers have decided to close locations within the cities. Walmart closed half of its Chicago locations earlier this year.
Other retailers that have closed locations in the Windy City include Walgreens and Aldi.
The mayor’s office claimed that the effort would be funded through state and federal grants, rather than direct taxation.
Johnson’s office said that the stores would be located in ‘food deserts’ where grocery chains have closed their doors. The office said that the issue is “not necessarily about profitability. It really is about what is the impact on Chicagoans?”
The plan is intended to increase “access to healthy options and to food for all Chicagoans.”