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Demanding Safeway Put an End to Restrictive Covenants this Human Rights Day
by Food Empowerment Project (info [at]
Tuesday Dec 8th, 2020 10:21 AM
North Bay Labor Council Joins Food Empowerment Project on Human Rights Day in Demanding Safeway Put an End to Their Restrictive Covenants!
COTATI, Calif., December 10, 2020 — In honor of Human Rights Day, the North Bay Labor Council has joined the fight against grocery store restrictive covenants. This arcane and unethical legal clause prevents new grocery stores from opening in locations previously occupied by Safeway (a banner store under Albertsons, Co.), thus creating a long-term lack of food access.

“At a time when we should all be doing our best to create strong and good-paying jobs, eliminating Albertsons’ restrictive-covenant business practice benefits everyone in the communities Albertsons serves,” says Jack Buckhorn, executive director of the North Bay Labor Council, which works to eliminate oppression for all people, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, immigration status, or national origin.

“Access to healthy food should be a right, not a privilege,” says lauren Ornelas, founder and president of Food Empowerment Project, a nonprofit that seeks to create a more just and sustainable world by helping people understand the power of their food choices. “With 29.7 million people in the U.S. without access to a supermarket within one mile of their home, grocery stores should be in the business of providing access to healthy foods, not preventing them. By eliminating their restrictive covenants, it will be one less barrier to neighborhoods having access to healthy foods, helping to create healthier communities.”

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “every person has the right to an adequate standard of living that ensures them, as well as their family, health, and well-being, and especially food.”

In an interview with the Vallejo Times-Herald, Jeanette Federigi of Vallejo said she knows firsthand the impact that deed restrictions like the ones Safeway and other markets place on properties can have on struggling families. “My daughter and I moved into the Marina Vista Apartments when she was 5, and she’s 21 now,” and for that entire time, there was no accessible grocery store, Federigi said. “I remember when there was a Safeway, but after they moved, there was no market anywhere nearby. I had no car, then. We had an arrangement with the owner of the convenience store nearby that if he didn’t have something we needed, he’d go get it for us. We had to pay more, but it was a blessing.”

“When we started our work in Vallejo, we had no idea that one of the contributing factors for the lack of healthy foods was going to be a grocery store itself: Safeway,” says Ornelas.

This injustice is not limited to California. Albertsons and their banner companies have done this in many other locations throughout the U.S. In Bellingham, WA, for instance, they currently have a series of non-compete clauses that will last for 20+ years that prohibit a new grocer from moving into not just Albertsons’ former space but anywhere in the whole Park Manor shopping center where it was previously located.

Vegan food justice organization Food Empowerment Project started its Shame on Safeway campaign in 2016 after learning of a former Safeway in Vallejo, CA, that blocked grocery stores from moving in for 15 years while prospective buyers waited out the longstanding deed restriction.

The North Bay Labor Council’s letter of endorsement can be found at

For more information on Food Empowerment Project’s campaign, visit

Human Rights Day, observed every year on December 10, commemorates the day in 1948 that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

About Food Empowerment Project

Food Empowerment Project (, founded in 2007, seeks to create a more just and sustainable world by recognizing the power of one’s food choices. In all of its work, Food Empowerment Project seeks specifically to empower those with the fewest resources. Its advocacy areas include fair conditions for farm workers, the availability of healthy foods in communities of color and low-income areas, the protection of animals on farms, and the conservation of natural resources. A vegan food justice organization, Food Empowerment Project also works to expose negligent corporations, such as those that push unhealthy foods into low-income areas, those that perpetuate food deserts, and those that sell chocolate derived from the worst forms of child labor. Food Empowerment Project is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit.


If you would like more information about Food Empowerment Project or would like to schedule an interview with lauren Ornelas, please contact Erika Galera at 707-779-8004 or email erika [at]

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