Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Will Walmart Save Local Food?

According to The Atlantic, Walmart is making a big push to revive local agriculture.

If I remember the NPR interview right, Walmart is somehow contracting with local farmers to grow produce within a day's drive of each participating superstore. The farmers are responsible for getting the food to a distribution center, and in return receive a premium price. Many people will recoil at the idea of Walmart leading the way back to local agriculture, but any action taken by a massive organization will have a big impact.

As my plane made its final descent into Phoenix this past Friday, I stared at miles of irrigated fields and was reminded that part of the reason Big Ag grew up in the West in the first place was the combination of long growing seasons and cheap water.* Of course, if the metastasizing suburbs continue to drink up every last drop of the Colorado and Sacramento, the West may lose its economic edge anyway...

* Did I say cheap? I meant heavily subsidized.


  1. I completely keep my food money out of Walmart. I may or may not start buying organic milk there. BUT, if they did have local produce, I might buy it. I generally don't like giving big places my money, I like to root for the underdog. Our farmer's market never has fruit beyond blackberries, raspberries, and melons. It would be nice to get other fruits, though.
    There's benefits to be sure, I just don't know if I can overcome my aversion to Walmart. I applaud their step in the right direction, however.

  2. My jaw dropped when I read this! I repeated the news over at my blog, and someone mistook it for an April Fool's joke.

  3. Michelle - that's so funny! I didn't even consider that when I posted

    Alyse - I agree - I also would rather spend my money at a farmer's market or other independent, local business for philosophical reasons, but it's still pretty exciting that an entity as incredibly large and mainstream as Walmart is moving towards local food!



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