The rise of predatory retail chains—including Walmart, Kroger, and Dollar General—has wreaked havoc on our communities. These giants leverage their power to bully farmers and muscle out independent grocers, which has undermined our food system, left many communities without access to fresh, healthy food, and harmed our local economies.
Fixing the Food Gap: Antitrust Action and Grassroots Solutions to Check Dollar Stores and Rebuild Local Grocery Stores, a virtual event, held Tuesday, May 23rd featured Federal Trade Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya alongside community leaders, independent grocers, and advocates—to examine the ways these dominant retailers exert their power, how community leaders are fighting back, and what federal leaders must do to cultivate fairness in our food system.
**Click participant to see bio**
|Alvaro Bedoya was sworn in May 16, 2022 as a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission. President Joe Biden named Bedoya to a term that expires on Sept. 25, 2026.
Bedoya was the founding director of the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown University Law Center, where he was also a visiting professor of law. He has been influential in research and policy at the intersection of privacy and civil rights, and co-authored a 2016 report on the use of facial recognition by law enforcement and the risks that it poses to privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights. He previously served as the first Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law after its founding in 2011, and Chief Counsel to former Senator Al Franken, of Minnesota. Prior to that, he was an associate at the law firm WilmerHale.
A naturalized immigrant born in Peru and raised in upstate New York, Bedoya previously co-founded the Esperanza Education Fund, a college scholarship for immigrant students in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia.
Bedoya graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College and holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served on the Yale Law Journal and received the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. He lives in Rockville, Maryland with his wife, Dr. Sima Z. Bedoya of Louisiana, a pediatric psychologist at the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute. They have two toddlers.
Q&A Moderated by
|Angela Huffman is a co-founder of Farm Action and is a national voice on anti-monopoly issues in agriculture and food. In addition to her policy advocacy, she is renewing her family’s 200-year tradition by becoming the sixth generation to live and farm on their Northwest Ohio homestead.|
|Aaron “AJ” Johnson is the CEO & Owner of Oasis Fresh Market, a privately owned grocery store that opened in a north Tulsa food desert in May 2021. A Black-owned grocery store and nonprofit with wrap around services for the community.
Oasis is the first grocery store in North Tulsa in 14 years, and the first Black-owned grocery store in the area in over 50 years.
Rev. Dr. Donald Perryman, Senior Pastor, The Center of Hope Community Baptist Church in Toledo, Ohio
|Since 1997, Rev. Dr. Donald L. Perryman has served as Senior Pastor of The Center of Hope Community Church in Toledo, Ohio. Due greatly to his ability to wed Gospel Ministry with Social Ministry, the church has become a center for change in Toledo, Ohio, that reconnects holistic ministry in contemporary social, economic, and political life to our spiritual and cultural foundations. Pastor Perryman has demonstrated exceptional leadership in advancing and sustaining diversity, inclusiveness, empowerment, and social justice issues.
Perryman is also a co-founder of Center of Hope Family Services, Inc., a highly acclaimed 501c3 whose mission is to improve the life outcomes of individuals and families living in urban settings.
Dr. Perryman’s dissertation, “The Role of the Black Church in Addressing the Collateral Damage of Mass Incarceration,” is a relevant and timely work that synthesizes the myriad of practical interventions that churches can utilize to impact communities, individuals, families, current and formerly incarcerated persons, as well as systems, policymakers, and others directly or indirectly affected by mass incarceration. His research extends his decades of advocacy related to criminal justice policy and systems reform.
Perryman also founded United Pastors for Social Empowerment (UPSE), a coalition of faith leaders and other communities of practice challenging the disparities affecting marginalized communities through public policy, community development, and political empowerment. He is also a member of the Board of Managers for the Ohio Poverty Law Center and a board member of the Lucas County Children Services Board.
|Michael Gay is the Manager of Food Fresh, a full service independent grocery store in Claxton, GA owned by Michael’s family, which has been in the grocery business for more than 40 years. Michael is an active member of his state’s grocers association and the National Grocers Association, where he advocates for solutions to predatory buying practices.|
|Rana Foroohar is Global Business Columnist and an Associate Editor at the Financial Times, based in New York. She is also CNN’s global economic analyst. Her book, “Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business” (Crown), about why the capital markets no longer support business, was shortlisted for the Financial Times McKinsey Book of the Year award in 2016. Foroohar is the author, along with colleague Edward Luce, of the Swamp Notes newsletter, which covers the intersection of money, power, and politics in America.
Prior to joining the FT and CNN, Foroohar spent 6 years at TIME, as an assistant managing editor and economic columnist. She previously spent 13 years at Newsweek, as an economic and foreign affairs editor and a foreign correspondent covering Europe and the Middle East. During that time, she was awarded the German Marshall Fund’s Peter Weitz Prize for transatlantic reporting. She has also received awards and fellowships from institutions such as the Johns Hopkins School of International Affairs and the East West Center. She is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Foroohar graduated in 1992 from Barnard College, Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the author John Sedgwick, and her two children.
If you like this post, be sure to sign up for the monthly Hometown Advantage newsletter for our latest reporting and research.