Friday, August 8, 2008

Wal-Mart Commits to America's Farmers as Produce Aisles Go Local

If you have not heard the news, Wal-Mart is committing to purchasing local grown foods. I am not sure if the Thomasville store is doing this, but it may be coming in the future.

BENTONVILLE, Ark., July 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Wal-Mart today
announced its commitment to source more local fruits and vegetables to keep
produce prices down and provide affordable selections that are fresh and
healthful. The retailer also reported that partnerships with local farmers
have grown by 50 percent over the past two years -- one example of the
company's efforts to support local economies, cut shipping costs and provide
fresh food offerings.
Today, hundreds of growers across the United States provide produce sold
in Wal-Mart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, making Wal-Mart the
nation's largest purchaser of local produce. During summer months, locally
sourced fruits and vegetables that are both grown and available for purchase
within a state's borders make up a fifth of the produce available in Wal-Mart
"Offering local produce has been a Wal-Mart priority for years, and we're
taking it to a new level with a pledge to grow our partnerships with local
farmers. We're committed to purchasing locally grown produce whenever
possible," said Pam Kohn, Wal-Mart's senior vice president and general
merchandise manager for grocery. "Increasing the amount of local produce in
our grocery aisles -- and adding clear locally grown signage -- reflects our
dedication to offer the freshest products possible at great prices."
Wal-Mart announced its locally grown commitment in a Supercenter in DeKalb County, Ga. today. The event featured an in-store farmers' market with growers
on hand to educate customers about produce. Just in time for the Fourth of
July, Georgia Wal-Mart Supercenters have many of the ingredients customers
need for a locally grown celebration: sweet Georgia-grown Vidalia onions for
their Independence Day burgers, Georgia cantaloupes and watermelons for a
fabulous fruit salad, and Georgia peaches for cobbler. A complete list of
locally grown produce available by state is at
"Georgia is proud of its family farmers who lead the production of many
important fruits and vegetables like our famous Georgia peaches and
watermelons," said Donnie Smith, Governor Sonny Perdue's Agriculture Liaison.
"Thanks to Georgia producers and companies like Wal-Mart, Georgia will
continue to be recognized as a trusted provider of high quality fruits,
vegetables and other agricultural products to feed America's families."
Georgia onion farmer Delbert Bland is one of the growers who participated
in the Decatur event. His family farm has been in operation in Glennville, Ga.
since the 1940s, and he is featured on in-store signage in the Atlanta area.
"We are proud to see our onions sold in Wal-Mart stores across Georgia and
knowing that we are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is an added
value," said Bland. "Our business would not be where it is today without the
support of Wal-Mart."

Economic Impact

Wal-Mart estimates that it purchases more than 70 percent of its produce
from U.S.-based suppliers, making the company the biggest customer of American
agriculture. This year, Wal-Mart expects to source about $400 million in
locally grown produce from farmers across the United States.
Wal-Mart's relationships with U.S. suppliers also extend beyond its
support of local agriculture. Beyond produce, Wal-Mart partnered with 61,000
U.S. suppliers in 2007 and supported millions of supplier jobs nationally.
Shortening the Distance from Farm to Fork
Beyond the benefits to consumers and economic opportunities for farmers,
Wal-Mart's commitment to locally grown produce is helping to reduce "food
miles" -- the distance food travels from farm to fork. It is estimated that in
the United States, produce travels an average of 1,500 miles from farms to the
homes of consumers. Through better logistics planning, better packing of
trucks and local sourcing, Wal-Mart expects to save millions of food miles
each year.
In addition, Wal-Mart is working with state departments of agriculture and
local farmers to develop or revitalize growing areas for products like corn in
Mississippi and cilantro in Southern Florida which had not grown there before
or which were once native crops.

New In-Store Presence

Wal-Mart now highlights locally grown produce in its stores across the
country. Customers will find it easy to recognize locally grown fruits and
vegetables with signs that include official state-grown marks, indicating
approval by their state's agriculture department.
The company is also dedicating space on its web site to locally grown
produce, including farmer profiles and recipes. For more information, visit
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters,
Neighborhood Markets and Sam's Club locations in the United States. The
company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United
Kingdom. Wal-Mart serves more than 176 million customers weekly in 14 markets.
The company's securities are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the
symbol WMT. For more information:
SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Deisha Galberth of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 1-800-331-0085

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