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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Walmart Commits to Buying Produce From Local Growers

As part of its healthy food initiative, Wal-Mart has announced it will buy 80 percent of its fresh produce directly from local growers.

variety of local vegetables

Photo: Walmart Corporate (Flickr)

Wal-Mart is the world's largest seller of produce.

On the heels of concerns over the quality of its produce, Walmart has committed to getting food on its shelves sooner by buying more of its fruits and vegetables directly from growers. It plans to purchase 80 percent of produce directly from local growers by 2015.

The retail giant has prided itself on expanding its local produce stock from 4 to 11 percent in three years. (Walmart defines “local” as “in-state.”)

Walmart made healthy food a focus in 2011, when it partnered with first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign.

But not everyone’s happy.

Walmart makes contracts with farmers a year in advance, which doesn’t allow room for uncertainties small farms face, like unusual weather patterns. Some farms have decided not to deal with the company, stating it’s in their best interests to work with organizations who pay more.

Customers, investors and company executives have also recently expressed worries over languishing produce and spotty inventories.

Read More:

  • Wal-Mart’s fresh produce promise: Fewer middlemen, faster groceries (Los Angeles Times)
  • Wal-Mart Pledges Fresher Produce By Cutting Out The Middleman (NPR)
  • Wal-Mart adds money-back guarantee on produce (Chicago Tribune)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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